Now we know why this is considered the most wonderful time of the year with three of the season’s biggest high school hoops tournaments kicking off this week.
Here’s a look at where the country’s top teams are lacing ‘em up and the biggest storylines from each tournament.
City of Palms Classic (Fort Myers, Fla.), Dec. 18-23
Biggest storyline: Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), the No. 1 team in the USA Today HSS Super 25, has won back-to-back City of Palms Classic titles; a win this year would make them the first team in the tournament’s history to three-peat. If the Ben Simmons, the No. 1 player in the ESPN 100 for 2015, and the Eagles win out and Harry Giles, the No. 3 player in the ESPN 60 for 2016, and No. 2 Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) does the same, the two teams would collide in the championship on Dec. 23 to decide once and for all who’s top dog.
Chick-fil-A Classic (Columbia, S.C.), Dec. 19-23
Biggest storyline: If Trinity Christian School (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Hammond (Columbia, S.C.) win their first round games they’ll meet in the quarterfinals of the American Division, which means we’ll get Trinity’s Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Hammond’s Seventh Woods.
Smith is the No. 1 point guard in the 2016 class and Woods is a Top 25 recruit in the same class with a cult-like following due to his mind-boggling highlight videos.
They last met at the High School OT (Raleigh, N.C.) last December and put on a show.
Trinity got the 79-65 win; Smith dropped 22 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds and Woods had 42 points in the loss.
Here are the highlights from their last meeting.
Tarkanian Classic (Las Vegas), Dec. 17-20
Biggest storyline: Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) opened the season ranked No. 4, but lost early to No. 11 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) then fell again to Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.).
Now the Gaels are on the outside looking in to the Super 25, but winning the uber-prestigious Tark Classic could be just what they need to get back in.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY