The Bee's Bill Paterson reveals the top 20 area boys basketball teams.
1. SHELDON (1-1)
The Huskies are loaded with talent, young and old, as they go for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title four-repeat. Franklin transfer and Washington signee Darin Johnson becomes eligible in January.
2. PLEASANT GROVE (5-0)
Malik Thames and Matthew Hayes provide a one-two scoring punch, while returning All-Delta River League standout Colfax Nordquist has a strong all-around game.
3. CAPITAL CHRISTIAN (6-0)
The Cougars won last season's D-V section championship with a mostly underclass lineup that should be even stronger and deeper under new coach Devon Jones.
4. SACRAMENTO (2-2)
The Dragons lost senior leader De'Von Boyd (Chaminade signee) to a knee injury but still have formidable depth led by senior leaders Joseph Barnes, James Hadnot and Aaron Cameron.
5. BURBANK (5-1)
With senior David Straughter and juniors Clifford Lyles and Jalen Coates now in leadership roles, the Titans should challenge for the Metro Conference title.
6. ANTELOPE (2-2)
The defending D-II section champs likely won't match last season's 30-2, but they could reach the finals for a third straight year behind returning co-Capital Athletic League MVP Gabe Bealer and first-teamer Isaiah Ellis, a 6-7 post.
7. BELLA VISTA (6-2)
The defending Capital Valley Conference champion Broncos are balanced with seniors Ahmad Smith, Tyler Berkness, Austin Hennen, Adam Ciszewski and Dominic Driggs.
8. GRANT (5-3)
Despite the loss of 6-8 junior Cameron Oliver to a knee injury, the Pacers look as if they have the talent to challenge for the Delta Valley Conference title.
9. DEL ORO (5-1)
The Golden Eagles play some of the best team defense around, a big reason the defending Sierra Foothill League champs are favored to repeat.
10. GRANITE BAY (4-3)
With Aiden Naughton, Jacob King, Daniel Romero, Anthony Pedersen and Sherrod Bradford all capable of double-figure scoring nights, the Grizzlies will be tough to defend.
11. FRANKLIN (1-2)
After winning four consecutive league championships, the Wildcats remain the team to beat in the Delta Valley Conference.
12. MONTEREY TRAIL (6-3)
Though inexperienced and stature-challenged, the Mustangs already have impressive wins over Jesuit and Oak Ridge.
13. JESUIT (5-3)
The young Marauders will have to learn on the fly while playing a demanding schedule. Jesuit has lost to Bay Area powers McClymonds of Oakland and Archbishop Mitty of San Jose.
14. LAGUNA CREEK (4-3)
The Cardinals should challenge for the Delta Valley Conference title after adding 6-8 national junior recruit Malik Pope to a talented but size-challenged lineup.
15. DAVIS (6-2)
In the second year of the frenetic, up-tempo "System," the Blue Devils have become more than an entertaining novelty, already having scored more than 100 points in three victories.
16. McCLATCHY (4-1)
With 10 seniors on the 13-player team, it's a do-or-die season for McClatchy. The Lions opened the season by winning the Bill Cartwright Classic in Elk Grove.
17. CASA ROBLE (5-1)
Towering brothers Mason and Eric Stuteville (Sacramento State), 6-9 and 6-10, respectively, have the Rams off to one of their best starts in years.
18. FOLSOM (4-2)
The shorthanded Bulldogs won their own Folsom-Vista del Lago tournament over the weekend, then added sophomore football players Josiah Deguara, Parker Boone, Cody Creason and Lukas Hendricks to make them an intriguing team this season.
19. OAK RIDGE (3-3)
Prolific scorer Bryce Scott has graduated and taken his game to Lafayette College, but father Steve is back for his second season (and second tour) as coach of a Trojans team seeking consistency.
20. WOODCREEK (4-4)
Behind senior Tyler Milani and sophomore Noah Blackwell, the Timberwolves are a Sierra Foothill League contender despite back-to-back one-point losses to Folsom and Jesuit.