Who: No. 2 IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.) vs. No. 7 Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)
When: 4 p.m. ET Thursday
Where: Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
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About IMG Academy: IMG Academy is known for putting together superstar programs across different sports, and the Ascenders finally achieved that in basketball during the 2016-17 season, rising to No. 4 in the USA TODAY Super 25. The Ascenders’ improvement has been led by All-USA point guard and McDonald’s All-American Trevon Duval, a consensus top-5 player in the nation. He averages more than 16 points-per-game. Duval gets plenty of assistance up front from the the pairing of top junior Emmitt Williams, who has 12 double-doubles as a power forward, and Silvio De Sousa, who transferred to IMG from Montverde, which could make a semifinal matchup between the squads very interesting. Another big man on the blocks is Florida-signee Isaiah Stokes, a bruising former football player who can dominate the game when the pace slows.
The Ascenders dropped just one game all season; a setback against Montverde. They’ll be hoping to get by Greensboro Day and avenge that loss in the DICK’S semifinals.
About Greensboro Day: Ranked No. 17 in the USA TODAY Super 25, Greensboro Day may be the class of North Carolina in 2016-17. The Bengals make their second appearance at the DICK’S/National High School Invitational on the back of an impressive 33-3 campaign that concluded with a victory in the NCISAA 3A state title.
Greensboro’s offense is all about J.P. Moorman. The versatile 6-foot-7 wing and Temple signee averaged a tick under 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He gets support from N.C. Central-committed point guard Jordan Perkins, who is an efficient game manager and averaged nearly 5 assists per contest, and junior John Newman, who is a prolific scorer who has gained attention from programs throughout the Big East and ACC.
What Greensboro Day lacks in top-flight depth it has in quality substitutes off the bench, with three key reserves having played major roles and big minutes throughout the season.
What to expect: On paper, this game could be as big a mismatch as any in the DICK’S quarterfinals, with IMG holding a significant talent advantage at virtually every position. Still, IMG hasn’t truly been tested by any programs as consistent as Greensboro Day during it’s 15-game winning streak, with Roselle Catholic perhaps the closest equivalent (and with that sample somewhat tainted by IMG’s victory against Roselle earlier in the 2016-17 season on both teams’ minds). The Ascenders also haven’t played a competitive game that counts in more than a month, so they’ll have to hope that Duval and his teammates come out of the gates quickly and efficiently. If not, the longer Greensboro Day stays in the game, the more likely a possible huge upset will become.