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courtesy of MaxPreps.comMaxPreps.com
Must-see high school basketball tournaments in 2012-13Oct 18, 2012 There is no off-season in high school basketball – especially for tournament organizers.
Luring top teams and players to high-profile tournaments is just as competitive as the action on the court between November and March.
Nobody has played that game better in recent years than the State Farm City of Palms Classic, which is held annually in Fort Myers, Fla., and celebrating its 40th anniversary this season.
With potentially a dozen preseason nationally-ranked teams in the field, earning the trophy in the Classic's 16-team bracket might be the toughest task in high school basketball.
Defending state champions Callaway (Jackson, Miss.), Chester (Pa.), Lake Wales (Fla.), Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), Omaha Central (Neb.) and Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) will join national powers like Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.) and Whitney Young (Chicago) to make Fort Myers the place to be before Christmas.
The City of Palms Classic isn't the only must-see tourney during the 2012-13 season, however. Read on for a look at the nation's top tournament attractions this winter.
City of Palms Classic
Dec. 18-22 – Bishop Verot High School – Fort Myers, Fla.
Defending champion: Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
16-team bracket teams: Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.), Callaway (Jackson, Miss.), Chester (Pa.), Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.), Lake Wales (Fla.), Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Omaha Central (Neb.), Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Prestonwood Christian, Prime Prep (Dallas, Texas), Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Tift County (Tifton, Ga.), Whitney Young (Chicago)
4-team Signature Series: Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.), HCYA North (Houston), Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.), Kiski School (Saltsburg, Pa.)
What makes it special: How rugged is the field at City of Palms Classic? Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) entered the event ranked in the top 10 nationally by most media outlets last December and went 0-3. In most years, the winner is automatically in the mythical national championship conversation.
Dec. 18-22 – Iolani High School – Honolulu, Hawai'i
Defending champion: Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
Participating teams: John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.), Coolidge (Washington, D.C.), Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Hilo (Hawai'i), 'Iolani (Honolulu), Kahuku (Hawai'i), Kalaheo (Kailua, Hawai'i), Kamehameha (Honolulu), Kapolei (Hawai'i), La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.), McKinley (Honolulu), Moanalua (Honolulu), Montrose Christian, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Tsinghua (China), Yates (Houston)
What makes it special: Hawaii in December, need we say more? The possibility of Findlay Prep and Oak Hill Academy meeting for just the second time adds a lot of intrigue to this year's bracket.
Dec. 19-22 – Richland Northeast High School – Columbia, S.C.
Defending champions: Oak Hill Academy, West Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
Participating tournament teams: Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Christ School (Arden, N.C.), Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), Deerfield Beach (Fla.), Flora (Columbia, S.C.), Hillcrest (Simpsonville, S.C.), Keenan (Columbia, S.C.), Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.), Macdonald Academy (Red Springs, N.C.), Miller (Charlottesville, Va.), Richland Northeast (Columbia, S.C.), Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.), St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), Vaux (Philadelphia), Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)
Carolina Challenge participants: Aquinas (Augusta, Ga.), Cardinal Newman (Columbia, S.C.), Hammond (Columbia, S.C.), Johnson (Augusta, Ga.), Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.), Shiloh (Snellville, Ga.), Webb (Oxford, N.C.), Winston-Salem Prep (N.C.)
What makes it special: In just 10 years of existence, seven future NBA players have participated in the Classic with several other alums on the way. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry led Charlotte Christian to a title in 2005.
Dec. 19-22 – Bishop Gorman High School – Las Vegas
Defending champion: First-year event.
Participating teams: Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), Cheyenne (North Las Vegas, Nev.), Clark (Las Vegas), Compton (Calif.), Durango (Las Vegas), Fairfax (Los Angeles), Harlan (Chicago), Inglewood (Calif.), Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), Morgan Park (Chicago), Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.), Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.), Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Ribet Academy (Los Angeles), Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.), St. Anthony (Long Beach, Calif.)
What makes it special: The inaugural event will feature defending state champions from California and Nevada along with more than two dozen Division I prospects.
MaxPreps Holiday Classic
Dec. 26-29 – Cathedral City High School – Palm Springs, Calif.
Defending champion: Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Invitational division teams: Bellevue (Wash.), Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.), De La Salle (Chicago), Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas), Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), Loyola (Los Angeles), Madison Ridgeland Academy (Madison, Miss.), Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), O'Dea (Seattle), Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.), Rainier Beach (Seattle), Westchester (Los Angeles)
What makes it special: Over 120 boys and girls teams 10 states will converge in Palm Springs, a prime December locale. A pair of preseason top 10 teams nationally (Fort Bend Travis and Rainier Beach) and the nation's top two players (Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Fort Bend Travis) should pack the gym.
HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational
Dec. 26-29 – Broughton High School – Raleigh, N.C.
Defending champions: Chapel Hill (N.C.), Garner Magnet (Garner, N.C.), Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.)
Participating teams: Apex (N.C.), Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.), Cuthbertson (Waxhaw, N.C.), Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.), DeSoto (Texas), Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.), Garner Magnet, Goldsboro (N.C.), Greenfield (Wilson, N.C.), Hampton (Va.), High Point Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), Holly Springs (N.C.), Kinston (N.C.), Leesville Road (Raleigh, N.C.), Miller (Charlottesville, Va.), New Hampton School (New Hampton, N.H.), Person (Roxboro, N.C.), St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), Webb (Oxford, N.C.), Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.)
What makes it special: North Carolina is always loaded with talent and the Invitational puts much of that on display. The field this year also features a trio of stars already committed to the area's "Big Three' college programs: Anthony Barber of Hampton (North Carolina State), Matt Jones of DeSoto (Duke) and Isaiah Hicks of Webb (North Carolina).
Beach Ball Classic
Dec. 26-31 – Myrtle Beach Convention Center – Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Defending champion: Milton (Ga.)
Participating teams: Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), Christ Presbyterian Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), East Rutherford (Forest City, N.C.), Franklin (Ohio), Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.), King (Milwaukee, Wis.), Myrtle Beach (S.C.), Orem (Utah), Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.), Socastee (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.), St. James (Murrells Inlet, S.C.), St. Rita (Chicago), Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), Whitney Young (Chicago)
What makes it special: The last four champions in Myrtle Beach have all finished in the top 10 of MaxPreps.com's season-ending Xcellent 25 national rankings.
Proviso West Holiday Invitational
Dec. 26-31 – Proviso West High School – Hillside, Ill.
Defending champion: Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.)
Participating teams: Auburn (Rockford, Ill.), Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), Brooks College Prep (Chicago), Crespi (Encino, Calif.), CICS Ralph Ellison (Chicago), Downers Grove South (Downers Grove, Ill.), Dunbar (Chicago), Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.), Foreman (Chicago), Glenbard East (Lombard, Ill.), Glenbrook North (Northbrook, Ill.), Hillcrest (Country Club Hills, Ill.), Hinsdale Central (Hinsdale, Ill.), Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.), Hope Academy (Chicago), Lincoln Park (Chicago), Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.), Morgan Park (Chicago), Morton (Cicero, Ill.), Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park, Ill.), New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.), Oswego (Ill.), Proviso East, Proviso West (Hillside, Ill.), East (St. Charles, Ill.), St. Joseph (Westchester, Ill.), Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.), Thornton Fractional South (Lansing, Ill.), Urban Prep-West Campus (Chicago), Von Steuben (Chicago), Westinghouse (Chicago), Wheaton Academy (West Chicago, Ill.)
What makes it special: The Invitational is one of the most tradition-rich tourneys in the country. Kevin Garnett, Juwan Howard, Marcus Liberty, Corey Maggette, Jon Scheyer (who scored 21 points in 75 seconds of a tournament game in 2005) and Isiah Thomas are just a few of the future NBA stars that have hit the floor at Proviso West.
Les Schwab Invitational
Dec. 27-29 – Liberty High School – Hillsboro, Ore.
Defending champion: Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Participating teams: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.), Century (Hillsboro, Ore.), Clackamas (Ore.), Columbia River (Vancouver, Wash.), Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), Jesuit (Portland, Ore.), Lake Oswego (Ore.), Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), Sheldon (Eugene, Ore.), Sprague (Salem, Ore.), Southridge (Beaverton, Ore.), Sunset (Portland, Ore.), Tigard (Ore.), West Linn (Ore.)
What makes it special: Oregon's top teams get a crack at the big boys each December on their own turf. But with power programs like Oak Hill Academy, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and Westchester (Los Angeles) in the field over the years, a home state team hasn't won the crown since 2003.
Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions
Jan. 17-19 – JQH Arena – Springfield, Mo.
Defending champion: Westbury Christian (Houston)
Participating teams: Bullitt East (Mt. Washington, Ky.), Hall (Little Rock, Ark.), Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.), Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Nixa (Mo.), Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
What makes it special: The TOC has been bringing the nation's elite teams to Springfield since 1985. Larry Hughes, Alonzo Mourning, Lamar Odom, Kyle Singler and John Wall have earned tournament MVP honors over the years.
Other top tournaments
McDonald's Texas Invitational (Pasadena, Texas) – Nov. 15-17
Rumble on the Ridge (Forrest City, Ark.) – Nov. 22-24
Fantasy of Lights Basketball Tournament (Wichita Falls, Texas) – Nov. 23-24
National Prep Classic (Santa Maria, Calif.) – Dec. 13-15
Hawk Kreul Classic (Coral Springs, Fla.) – Dec. 19-22
Mission Prep Christmas Classic (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) – Dec. 19-22
King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic (Fairdale, Ky.) – Dec. 19-23
VisitMesa.com Basketball Challenge(Mesa, Ariz.) – Dec. 26-29
Whataburger Tournament (North Richland Hills, Texas) – Dec. 27-29
Gulfshore Invitational (Naples, Fla.) – Dec. 27-31
Montverde Academy Invitational (Montverde, Fla.) – Jan. 24-26
SNY Invitational (New York, N.Y.) – Jan. 25-26
MaxPreps will continue its look-ahead to the 2012-13 season next Wednesday with a breakdown of top showcase events.