Vernon Carey Jr. highlights 10,469 views1:08 Video: Vernon Carey Jr. highlightsSee the nation's No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2019 in action.Borrowing an idea from our colleague Gary Parrish at, we are launching our own way-too-early look ahead at the 2018-19 high school basketball season.Plenty will change between now and November when the season tips off (transfer season is upon us) but as things stands today, here's our take on how the nation's elite stack up. WAY-TOO-EARLY TOP 25 FOR 2018-191. University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)2017-18 Record: 36-2The Sharks will be hungry to return to the GEICO Nationals championship game, seeking redemption from last season's defeat to Montverde Academy. Behind the formidable duo of 2019 6-foot-10 forward Vernon Carey Jr. and 2020 6-7 wing Scottie Barnes, Florida's 5A state champs have a chance to build a lasting legacy.2. Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)2017-18 Record: 23-2SCA rose to as high as No. 2 in the national rankings last winter and returns 2020 7-0 center N'Faly Dante, 2019 6-7 wing Malik Hall and 2019 6-6 wing Jordan Turner.3. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)2017-18 Record: 22-5The Ascenders may have the most talented backcourt in the nation next season with 2019 6-6 wing Josh Green, 2019 6-4 guard Jahmius Ramsey and 2020 6-1 guard Noah Farrakhan. If 2019 7-3 center Chol Marial can stay healthy, IMG Academy will have one of the most dynamic and complete lineups in the nation.4. McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)2017-18 Record: 26-3The starting lineup will feature five high major prospects with 2019 6-9 forward Jared Jones, 2019 6-8 forward Babatunde Akingbola, 2019 6-6 wing Isaac Okoro, 2019 6-5 guard Charles Smith and elite 2020 guard Sharife Cooper.5. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)2017-18 Record: 27-4California's Open Division state champions return four of five starters, including rising seniors Kenyon Martin Jr., Cassius Stanley and Scotty Pippen Jr. 6. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)2017-18 Record: 32-5The Stags hit their stride late last season, capturing the WCAC tournament, Alhambra Catholic Invitational and Maryland private school state championship. All five starters are expected to return.7. Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)2017-18 Record: 25-2Winners of 70 in a row over in-state opponents, head coach Mike Bibby and the Matadors are in search of their fourth consecutive state championship. Arizona State pledge Jaelen House and 2019 5-10 guard Jovan Blacksher are back after helping put up over 87 points per game in 2017-18.8. Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia)2017-18 Record: 31-2In each of the past two seasons, the Philadelphia public school powerhouse has finished ranked in the national Top 25 after beginning outside of it. Next year, all eyes will be on the Panthers from the opening tip.9. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)2017-18 Record: 35-0Head coach Kevin Boyle always finds a way to rebuild and bring the nation's top talent to the Orlando area. This summer, look for more big name transfers to join the defending national champions. 10. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)2017-18 Record: 44-2Although the Warriors lose all major production from last season, history suggests head coach Steve Smith will have a collection of talent that will be tough to beat next season.11. Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)2017-18 Record: 33-4Paul VI finished the regular season unbeaten in WCAC play last season, a rare feat that hasn't been accomplished since 2012-13. The Panthers return four of their top five scorers from last season, led by their deep and talented backcourt of 2020 6-2 guard Jeremy Roach, 2019 6-3 guard Anthony Harris, 2021 6-4 guard Trevor Keels and 2020 6-4 guard Josiah Freeman.12. St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)2017-18 Record: 28-2The Gray Bees have been a model of consistency over the last three seasons, finishing in the Top 20 each year with a combined record of 92-8. Talented seniors 6-7 wing Precious Achiuwa and 6-5 guard Lester Quinones will lead the way.13. Guyer (Denton, Texas)2017-18 Record: 38-2After rising to as high as No. 8 in the national rankings last season, Guyer suffered postseason heartbreak. District 6-6A co-MVPs 2019 6-6 wing Jalen Wilson and 2019 6-0 guard De'Vion Harmon (Oklahoma commitment) return.14. Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)2017-18 Record: 31-3After losing head coach Penny Hardaway to the University of Memphis, a lot of questions surround East. If everyone returns, the Mustangs will likely move up in our preseason rankings with 2019 6-11 forward James Wiseman, 2019 6-9 forward Chandler Lawson, 2019 6-8 forward Radarious Washington and 2021 6-6 wing Johnathan Lawson potentially coming back.15. Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.)2017-18 Record: 32-2Four of the top five starters are back for the defending Class 4A state champions, including Gatorade Player of the Year 2019 6-7 forward E.J. Liddell. Photo by: Vince Miller Anton Watson is beginning to get the love he deserves from national analysts after leading Gonzaga Prep to an undefeated season and Washington's Class 4A state title. 16. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.)2017-18 Record: 26-0The Bullpups have all the pieces in place for another unbeaten title run behind Class 4A Player of the Year Anton Watson, who is already committed to hometown Gonzaga.17. Ranney (Tinton Falls, N.J.)2017-18 Record: 28-5The Panthers are the early favorite to capture their first New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in 2018-19 behind their dynamic duo of elite senior guards Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis.18. Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)2017-18 Record: 28-2NBA All-Star Brandon Roy has had an ultra-successful start to his coaching career, going 57-2 over his first two seasons with two state championships. In 2018-19 he will look to continue that success with 2019 6-4 guard P.J. Fuller, 2019 6-6 wing Jamon Kemp, 2019 6-2 guard Pierre Crockrell Jr. and 2020 6-6 guard Marjon Beauchamp expected to return.19. La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)2017-18 Record: 23-4The Indiana independent power will look to build around Junior All-American forward Isaiah Stewart after their sixth GEICO Nationals appearance last season.20. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)2017-18 Record: 29-4Gorman has won a remarkable seven consecutive state championships with an eighth likely on the way. The Gaels return key contributors 2019 6-9 forward Isaiah Cottrell, 2020 6-3 Noah Taitz and 2021 6-3 guard Will McClendon.21. Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)2017-18 Record: 32-5One of the nation's most successful programs over the past decade, look for the Pilots to reload their roster with elite talent before the 2018-19 campaign.22. Roman Catholic (Philadelphia)2017-18 Record: 24-6Pennsylvania's Class 6A state champs will be led high major prospects 2019 6-6 wing Seth Lundy and 2020 6-1 guard Lynn Greer III.23. Olive Branch (Miss.)2017-18 Record: 26-4The Conquistadors return all but one player from last year's Class 5A state title-winning group, led by recent Kentucky commitment D.J. Jeffries.24. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)2017-18 Record: 28-9Despite losing two of their top three scorers from last season, the Eagles return third team Sophomore All-American 6-6 forward Terrance Williams along with virtually everyone else.25. Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.)2017-18 Record: 32-4First team Junior All-American Trendon Watford returns to lead the two-time defending Class 7A champions. Also Considered: Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.), Federal Way (Wash.), Garfield Heights (Ohio), Norcross (Ga.), South Garland (Garland, Texas), Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.), Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.), Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.)