The first wave of holiday boys basketball tournaments has ended and the second wave begins Saturday on the day after Christmas. Here is a rundown of some of what we’ll be watching in the coming days on the hardwood.
Beach Ball Classic
Where: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Worth noting: The field includes teams from nine states (South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, Georgia, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma) and the District of Columbia. Montverde (Fla.) Academy, which was No. 1 in the Super 25 entering last week’s City of Palms Classic, enters as the favorite. The Eagles will get challenged by the always-strong program at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.); by Shadow Mountain (Ariz.), coached by former NBA star Mike Bibby with his son Michael as the star player; and by St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) with Kobi Simmons, who is No. 18 in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2016.
MaxPreps Holiday Classic
Where: Palm Springs, Calif. and surrounding area
Worth noting: The event 117 teams across 11 divisions duel for tourney titles, highlighted by the 16-team open division that includes defending state champs from Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Utah along with a Chino Hills (Calif.) that just won the City of Palms Classic in Florida. The open division field includes two-time defending Georgia Class AAAA champion Jonesboro, Texas private school champion Prestonwood Christian, perennial Nevada power Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Bentonville (Ark.), led by Kentucky signee Malik Monk, who is No. 5 in the ESPN 100. Another player to watch will be 6-7 sophomore Shareef O’Neal, from Windward, the son of Shaquille O’Neal.
Slam Dunk to the Beach
Where: Loewes, Del.
Worth noting: Many of the top powers in the Mid-Atlantic area are in the field along with La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), which is coming off a runner-up finish earlier this week at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii. Philadelphia Catholic League rivals Roman Catholic (led by a trio of Penn State signees) and Neumann-Goretti are making the trip to Delaware as are New Jersey powers Roselle Catholic and The Patrick School (Elizabeth). The Patrick School reached the finals of the City of Palms Classic in Florida this week.
Les Schwab Invitational
Where: Hillsboro, Ore.
Worth noting: The top programs in Oregon will be joined by several out-of-state powers in the 20th anniversary of the event. Nationally ranked Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), which won the Chick-fil-A Classic in South Carolina earlier this week, makes the trip west as does DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.). Garfield (Seattle), which played in Hoophall West last weekend, and Foss (Tacoma) also are participating. The top local program is West Linn (Ore.), which just returned from the City of Palms, and is led by Oregon commit Payton Pritchard, who is No. 42 in the ESPN 100. DeMatha star Markelle Fultz, a Washington signee, will get to play in front of the Pacific Northwest fans, and Oak Hill brings its loaded lineup with five Division I signees, including Mario Kegler and Braxton Key.
Under Armour Holiday Classic
Where: Torrey Pines, Calif.
Worth noting: A field of teams that stretches across the nation will take part in the annual event led by Advanced Prep (Dallas), Oldsmar Christian (Fla.), Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.), St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) and Brewster Academy (N.H.) in the Prep Division. In the National Division, teams to watch include Foothills Christian (Calif.), Pebblebrook (Ga.), Bellevue (Wash.), Fairfax (Los Angeles) and Corona Centennial (Calif.). Three UCLA signees – top 15 player T.J. Leaf from Foothills and Centennial teammates Jalen Hill and Ike Anibogu — and a UCLA commit – Jaylen Hands from Balboa City (San Diego) – are in the field. API brings its star-studded lineup with Alabama signee Terrance Ferguson and 2017’s top point guard Trevon Duval and Billy Preston, a top 10 player in 2017.
Throwdown in Motown
Worth noting: Hard to argue with the teams taking part in this two-day showcase event with Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), Huntington Prep (W.Va.), Athlete Institute (Ontario), Word of Good (Raleigh, N.C.)., Lima (Ohio) Senior, Victory Rock (Sarasota, Fla.), Victory Prep (Houston). Top 3 player Josh Jackson and Devon Daniels from Prolific Prep will be back home in Michigan as will Huntington Prep’s Miles Jackson, a Michigan State signee. Prolific and Huntington are playing in what Huntington Prep lists as an exhibition on Sunday. Thon Maker (Athlete Institute), Rawle Alkins (Word of God), Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep) and Xavier Simpson (Lima) are all scheduled to be in the lineup.
High School OT Holiday Invitational
When: Monday-Wednesday (the event begins Saturday with girls games and local boys games)
Where: Raleigh, N.C.
Worth noting: High Point (N.C.) Christian with Bam Adebayo, Cypress Lakes (Texas) with De’Aaron Fox, Virginia Episcopal, Wesleyan Christian (N.C.), Arlington County Day (Fla.), Carlisle School (Va.), Jay Robinson (N.C.) and Trinity Christian (N.C.). Adebayo and Fox are both Kentucky signees. Their teams could meet in the late quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Other events include:
- Haeco Invitational in Greensboro, N.C., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary with games from Saturday to Tuesday. Greensboro Day School is the top seed.
- Governor’s Challenge in Salisbury, Md., which has expanded its format, with games from Monday to Wednesday. The event, in its 34th year, will feature 100 teams overall, including a 20-team girls division, a new boys junior varsity division and a division for boys teams from the D.C., Delaware and Maryland areas.
- Next Level Hoop Fest returns to Nashville for its second year from Monday to Wednesday. Defending champion Ballard (Ky.) returns after beating host Christ Presbyterian in last year’s final. Whitehaven (Memphis), Mountain Brook (Ala.), Spain Park (Ala.), University (La.), Arkansas Baptist (Ark.) and Hopkinsville (Ky.) also are in the field.
- Farm Bureau Classic in Roebuck, S.C., with games Sunday and Monday. Along with many of the top-tier teams from South Carolina, the field includes Georgia teams Pace Academy (Wendell Carter Jr., Zach Kaminsky, Isaiah Kelly) and Greenforest Christian (John Ugwoche and Ikey Obiagu).
- Hoodie’s House Hoop Classic with games Monday to Wednesday at Providence Day School in Greensboro, N.C. Along with the host team, the field includes nationally ranked Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), Charlotte Christian, John Carroll (Md.), Bishop McNamara (Md.), Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.), Norcross (Ga.) and more.
- Morgantown Holiday Classic in West Virginia from Sunday to Tuesday includes Huntington Prep and Massillon (Ohio) Jackson on Tuesday.