The wait is over for hoops junkies. The first big weekend of high school basketball is here.
Events in Kentucky, Illinois and Arkansas will have a major impact on Monday's first regular season release of the Xcellent 25 and Academy Top 10 national rankings.
The Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, Ky., will play host to 13 games Friday and Saturday. Storied Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
, upstart Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
featuring No. 1 2013 prospect Andrew Wiggins
, Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas)
and Memphis powers Memphis East
highlight the cast of teams headed to the event.
The Chicago Elite Classic will showcase four teams ranked in the preseason Xcellent 25 on Saturday. No. 1 Simeon (Chicago)
, No. 6 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
, No. 8 Whitney Young (Chicago)
and No. 13 Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.)
will be in action at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
The Battle of the Border features a major Arkansas vs. Tennessee showdown not to be overlooked. The Saturday event features four games at Hall High School in Little Rock, Ark.Weekend Games to Watch* No. 1 [Academy Top 10] Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Memphis East (Tenn.):
Wiggins and a talented cast at Huntington Prep (5-0) will be tested against Tennessee's defending AAA state champions at the Marshall County Hoopfest. The Mustangs (2-1) are led by senior Memphis Tigers pledge Nick King
, a 6-foot-7 forward.* No. 2 Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) vs. Ballard (Louisville, Ky.):
Travis (3-0) is getting over 20 points per game from star senior twins Aaron
and Andrew Harrison
early on this season. The Tigers may need somebody else to step up big at the Hoopfest against Ballard (1-0), a leading contender for Kentucky's single-class state championship.* No. 4 [Academy Top 10] Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. No. 9 Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.):
Oak Hill Academy (8-0) has won 52 games in a row heading into the weekend. After taking on Cliff Alexander
and Curie (Chicago)
on Friday, the Warriors will face Southwind (4-0) on Saturday in Kentucky. Southwind is feeling good coming off a tournament victory at the Rumble on the Ridge in Arkansas last weekend.* No. 6 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) vs. No. 13 Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.):
Lone Peak (1-0) opened impressively Wednesday night with a 79-59 win over Brighton (Salt Lake City)
, the same team it beat for the 5A state title last season. Proviso East probably won't be ranked come Monday following a tournament loss last week, but still represents a dangerous early test for the Knights at the Chicago Elite Classic.* No. 8 Whitney Young (Chicago) vs. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.):
This is a "Show Me" game for Whitney Young at the Chicago Elite Classic. Youth was a more than reasonable explanation for losing 10 games a year ago. The Dolphins still have just two seniors on the roster, but 6-10 junior center Jahlil Okafor
and company could use a big win to avoid being tagged with the underachiever label.* No. 20 White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. Hall (Little Rock, Ark.):
White Station (4-1) deserves credit for heading into enemy territory and playing Hall on its home floor at the Battle of the Border. Coming off a loss to rival Ridgeway (Memphis)
, White Station could use a win against the Bobby Portis
-led Warriors (3-1) to stay in the national rankings conversation.