The final buzzer has sounded (and it wasn’t over until the final buzzer) on the 2014 MaxPreps Holiday Classic and about 600 games are in the books.
With all that action at all those gyms, kudos are certainly in order for tournament organizer Rob Hanmer at Rancho Mirage and all the athletic directors and coaches around the valley that worked together to make it go smoothly.
Let’s look back at this year’s highlights.
Famous visitors: As always, this much top talent brings out top college coaches and this year was no different. Arizona’s Sean Miller, San Diego State’s Steve Fisher and Washington’s Lorenzo Romar were among the high-profile coaches spotted in attendance.
Ex-NBA star and TNT analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith was also in attendance for some of the games and even took photos with some fans. He didn’t bring Charles Barkley.
European entrants: Two basketball academies from overseas participated in the event as Oakley, from the Grand Canary Islands in Spain, and Urspring from Ulm, Germany got a taste of America and the American style of basketball.
It took both teams a while to get used to the speed and toughness of their American counterparts, but the results show that they can compete and compete well.
The team from Germany went 3-1 on the trip, rolling into the championship game of their bracket before losing 49-38 to Beverly Hills on Tuesday. Oakley went 2-2 in the ultra-competitive Open Division.
Flying Pflueger: Mater Dei’s Rex Pflueger, who will play for Notre Dame next year, wowed a packed house Saturday night to win the dunk contest. Pflueger made an array of dunks, punctuated by a whirling, under-the-leg pass off the backboard to himself for an emphatic one-handed jam that drew a perfect score from the judges.
He said it was something he saw LeBron James do in warmups, so he tried it.
I tried something I saw LeBron do in warmups once, and I hurt myself, and that was just the throwing-baby-powder-in-the-air thing. So, I’m officially impressed by Rex.
Champions: The MaxPreps Holiday Classic is broken up into several 16-team divisions comprised of teams of equal skill level. Here are some of the division champions crowned Tuesday.
•Palm Springs Ford Division: Pleasant Grove (Utah)
•Qwixcore Division: Brentwood School
•Gatorade Division: Foothill (Nev)
•IHOOP Division: JW North
•Design Pro Divisoin: Los Osos
•Aspen Mills Division: Sierra Vista
•Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau Division: Viewpoint
•Marios Italian Restaurant Division: MLK
•Girls’ Gear to the Max Division: Indio