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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

European soccer's Super League fell apart two days after it was announced. That didn't stop America's top high school basketball programs from forming a Super League of their own.

State of play: The National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) began its first full season this month, with eight of the nation's best teams competing head-to-head at venues across the country.

  • Montverde Academy (Montverde, Florida)
  • IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)
  • Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Virginia)
  • Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kansas)
  • La Lumiere (La Porte, Indiana)
  • Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)
  • Legacy Early College (Greenville, South Carolina)
  • Bishop Walsh (Cumberland, Maryland)

Between the lines: Just how much talent is in this league? The NIBC features 15 of the top 50 seniors in the nation, and the 2021 edition of March Madness featured 44 players from NIBC schools.

  • The eight NIBC schools have won the past eight high school national championships, with Montverde taking home five titles.
  • Montverde produced seven draft picks in the 2021 NBA draft, including four first-rounders: Cade Cunningham (No. 1), Scottie Barnes (No. 4), Moses Moody (No. 14) and Day'Ron Sharpe (No. 29).
  • La Lumiere (3-0) sits atop the standings after Week 1, with Oak Hill (0-3) bringing up the rear. The action continues this weekend (tonight through Saturday) on ESPN+.

The backdrop: When games were canceled last season amid the pandemic, some current NIBC teams organized their own competitions. From there, the idea to form their own league was born.

  • The NIBC arrives during a time of dramatic change, with a growing number of elite prospects skipping college for the G League or opting out of high school to join Overtime Elite.
  • While those leagues provide a paid pathway to the NBA, the NIBC is fully amateur, allowing players to keep their options open with regards to playing in college one day.

The bottom line: As the opportunities available to teenage hoops stars continue to diversify, elite high schools must adjust. Don't be surprised if the NIBC adds more teams, or if competing leagues pop up.

Go deeper: Sweeping changes coming to NCAA

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2021 - Sports

NFL reschedules 3 games due to COVID outbreaks

Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL has rescheduled three games due to a "substantial increase" in COVID-19 cases and the "highly transmissible" variant, the league announced on Friday.

Why it matters: More than 100 players are on the COVID/Reserve list, per CBS Sports, forcing the league to reschedule games for the first time this season.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.