MaxPreps reported a little over a year ago
that Dubai of the United Arab Emirates and an organization known as MPAC Sports may play host to a high school basketball tournament in 2014 featuring powerhouse programs Huntington St. Joseph Prep (W.Va.)
, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
and Montverde Academy (Fla.)
At the time of the report, details were scarce and at least one American coach involved expressed skepticism that the ambitious plan would actually come together.
But MPAC Sports has brought the idea to fruition. The UAE-based company distributed a press release Thursday promoting the first annual Elite International Basketball Tournament, which tips June 14.
Lone Peak head coach Quincy Lewis confirmed that his program will begin the 17-hour journey to the Middle East on June 12. The Knights will compete under the banner of affiliated club Utah Reign.
"It's going to be really interesting," said Lewis, MaxPreps.com's 2013 National Coach of the Year. "They have excursions and tours set up for us. One of them is a desert safari with dune buggies, there is a tour of the city and an indoor water park that also has a ski resort."
June temperatures in Dubai run from an average low of 81 degrees to an average high of 103.1, according to Wikipedia.
"We are thrilled at the fact that we have been able to pull off this historic event by hosting the top players from America and are equally thrilled about gathering the top talent from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region to join us in Dubai," MPAC Sports founder and executive director Luqman Rashad said via press release. "This will be a basketball showcase unlike anything this region has ever seen."
Huntington Prep, Lone Peak and Montverde – all nationally-ranked programs in recent years – will be joined by a fourth perennial power from the United States in Simeon (Chicago)
. The Windy City school was home to Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker and recently authored an Illinois Class 4A state title four-peat.
The American squads will be challenged by teams from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a team made up of players from 10 nations that will represent the tournament organizer.
Dubai is a city of more than 2 million people known for its oil wealth and subsequent large-scale and often lavish building boom. Tourism and high-end retail attractions have also flourished.
United Arab Emirates is located along the southern base of the Persian Gulf and shares borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman.