Correction (Dec. 30): A previous version of this story stated that Charles Bassey, the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2019, was still ineligible. However, he regained his eligibility when St. Anthony (Texas) left the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools earlier this month.
2016 has been a banner year for athletics in the state of South Dakota and this weekend will provide an appropriately grand conclusion to the calendar year.
At the college level, Saturday will see Augie-USF and SDSU-USD renew their rivalries on both the men’s and women’s side across three different sites.
Not to be outdone, the Sanford Pentagon will play host to a pair of major in-season high school tournaments: The Mike Miller Classic later today and the Samaritan’s Feet Classic tomorrow.
The Mike Miller Classic, which began Thursday in Mitchell, is comprised of two events: The Doug Martin Classic and the Coach Gary Munsen Tournament, a four-team event that pits Mitchell against O’Gorman and DeLaSalle (Minn.) against IMG Academy (Fla.).
“Top to bottom, I think this year’s Mike Miller lineup is the best one we’ve ever had,” said Jesse Smith, the Executive Director of Operations for the Sanford Pentagon. “There are some dudes everywhere when you look around that field.”
Headlining this year’s event are IMG Academy (Fla.) and La Lumiere (Ind.). Combined, those two schools feature eight nationally ranked recruits, including IMG Academy’s Trevon Duval (No. 5, 2017 ESPN 100) and junior Silvio De Sousa (No. 6, 2018 ESPN 60).
Duval is ranked as the nation’s top point guard by ESPN and has offers from Duke, Kansas, Baylor, Arizona and Seton Hall.
For fans, it’s a rare opportunity to check out some of the nation’s top high school stars, while area teams have the chance to test their mettle against some of the best of the best.
Either O’Gorman or Mitchell will face IMG Academy at the Pentagon on Friday. The losers play at 1 p.m., while the winners square off in the championship game at 7 p.m.
Though its players aren’t as highly-ranked as IMG Academy’s, La Lumiere does have four nationally-ranked recruits on its roster, three of whom are seniors.
A composite five-star recruit per 24/7Sports, Brian Bowen has yet to commit, but reports indicate that Michigan State is the front-runner.
If he does end up signing on with the Spartans, he’d be joining teammate Jaren Jackson (No. 25, ESPN), who signed last month. The third member of that group, shooting guard Jordan Poole (No. 57, ESPN), is headed to Michigan.
La Lumiere will take on Aberdeen Central to close out this year’s Mike Miller Classic at 8:30 p.m.
Sioux Falls Washington’s game against St. Anthony (Texas) will feature Charles Bassey, the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2019.
The Warriors will tip-off against St. Anthony on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a great event for us,” Smith said of the Mike Miller Classic. “It’s a huge bump for us. It’s a huge bump for Sioux Falls. You think about not only getting to see these players that are going to blue chip colleges and likely into the NBA in two years, a lot of the college coaches will come out and see these kids.”
Saturday’s Samaritan’s Feet Classic will be more of a local affair, with a series of cross-class matchups, including Class AA No. 1 Sioux Falls Washington vs. Class A No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian at 7 p.m. and Roosevelt vs. Tea in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m.
“We’re going to try and make the best matchup and the matchup that the fans want to see,” Smith said. “That’s kind of what’s unique about our Classic. There’s a lot of these inter-class matchups that you’re not going to see anywhere else.”
Minneapolis North, the lone out-of-state representative and defending Class A champion, was actually invited to the event during this year’s Final Four in Houston at the NABC Coaches Convention.
It will face O’Gorman at 5:30 p.m.
“They started up a conversation with us and mentioned that they wanted to be involved,” Smith explained. “It flowed naturally, it fit perfectly… We knew they’d be a good team that would draw well and that people would want to see them matched up with one of our Sioux Falls teams.”
Though this year’s event hasn’t even begun yet, Smith and his staff are already looking ahead to next year’s Classic.
“(Events manager) Paul Seville has got teams that are starting to contact him as soon as the event’s over,” Smith said. “We have teams that contact us, we have teams that we keep an eye on to make sure we’re getting the right matchups and then sometimes it’s just cold calling and seeing if they’re interested in coming over for the Classic.”
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .
Rankings via ESPN
Class of 2017
Trevon Duval, IMG Academy, No. 5 (*****), Uncommitted
Brian Bowen, La Lumiere, No. 13 (*****), Uncommitted
Jaren Jackson, La Lumiere, No. 25 (****), Michigan State
Jordan Poole, La Lumiere, No. 57 (****), Michigan
Class of 2018
Silvio De Sousa, IMG Academy, No. 6 (*****), Uncommitted
Emmitt Williams, IMG Academy, No. 22 (****), Uncommitted
Class of 2019
Charles Bassey, St. Anthony, No. 2 (*****)
Tyger Campbell, La Lumiere, No. 25 (*****), Uncommitted
MIKE MILLER CLASSIC
Today (Boys games unless otherwise noted)
Gary Munsen Tournament 3rd-place game, 1 p.m.
GBB: Aberdeen Central vs. Waconia (Minn.), 2:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry (Minn.) vs. First Assembly Christian School (Tenn.), 4 p.m.
Washington vs. St. Anthony (Texas), 5:30 p.m.
Gary Munsen Tournament championship, 7 p.m.
Aberdeen Central vs. La Lumiere (Ind.), 8:30 p.m.
SAMARITAN’S FEET CLASSIC
Canistota vs. Warner, 11:30 a.m.
Vermillion vs. Little Wound, 1 p.m.
Leola-Frederick vs. Waverly South Shore, 2:30 p.m.
Dakota Valley vs. Mt. Vernon-Plankinton, 4 p.m.
O’Gorman vs. Minneapolis North, 5:30 p.m.
Washington vs. Sioux Falls Christian, 7 p.m.
Roosevelt vs. Tea Area, 8:30 p.m.