The third weekend in January has become an annual extravaganza for high school basketball tournaments and showcases.
This year's offering is highlighted by the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., the Flyin' to the Hoop Invitational outside of Dayton, Ohio, and the Burger King Classic in Erie, Pa.
The Spalding Hoophall Classic is magnetic for the nation's top teams. This year's extravaganza includes 50 boys and girls teams and 25 games beginning Thursday and running through Monday. Academy Top 10 No. 1 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
will face No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.)
in the most highly anticipated contest on the final day.
Montverde Academy will also participate in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions, joining contenders like Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)
and St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
on the campus of Missouri State University.Weekend WatchFive key games likely to impact next week's national rankings
*No. 1 Findlay Prep vs. *No. 2 Montverde Academy
Here's your high school basketball game of the year, folks. Both are undefeated, widely regarded as the most talented teams in the country and will do battle in front of an ESPNU television audience Monday at 4 p.m. EST. Each will face stiff tests before getting to Springfield, but it's difficult to picture them not taking care of business. Hickman's pick: Findlay PrepNo. 2 Whitney Young (Chicago) vs. No. 4 Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
Whitney Young is on an absolute tear, leaping past Poly in this week's Xcellent 25
. The Jackrabbits will have an opportunity to prove us wrong Saturday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic. Hickman's pick: Whitney YoungNo. 3 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) vs. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
and Mitty have won seven in a row since losing in the quarterfinals of the Les Schwab Invitational in December. A win here could vault the Monarchs back into the national picture. It won't be easy Monday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic against Lone Peak, which has beaten 11 of its 14 opponents this season by 18 points or more. Hickman's pick: Lone PeakNo. 7 Simeon (Chicago) vs. *No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Simeon was throttled at last year's Hoophall by Findlay Prep. A win against Oak Hill would exorcise that demon and perhaps vault the Wolverines back into the Xcellent 25 national title race. Hickman's pick: Simeon*No. 5 La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) vs. *No. 6 Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
Set for Friday night at Flyin' to the Hoop, at least 15 future Division I players will be on the floor for this one. Hickman's pick: Huntington Prep* Denotes Academy Top 10 RankingOther games of interest
- The semifinals (Friday, 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. EST) and final (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. EST) of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Thursday's first round matchups include Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
vs. St. John Bosco, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
vs. Paul VI, Bullitt East (Mt. Washington, Ky.)
vs. Nixa (Mo.)
and Montverde Academy vs. Hall (Little Rock, Ark.)
- No. 15 Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.)
will look to strengthen its resume at Burger King Classic in Erie, Pa., Friday and Saturday. Keystone State powers Cathedral Prep (Erie)
, Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia)
and Lower Merion (Ardmore)
join the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference leader in the four-team tourney.
- In a unique homecoming for senior guard Elijah Brown
, top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
will head east for a matchup against perennial Buckeye State power St. Edward (Lakewood)
. Brown played at St. Edward as a freshman before transferring to Mater Dei when his father Mike was hired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Behind the play of UCLA-bound guard Zach LaVine
has rolled to a 14-0 record and emerged as the top-ranked team in Washington. The Cougars will face their toughest test of the season Monday at the King Holiday Hoopfest against Rainier Beach (Seattle)
, which has won six in a row since back-to-back losses at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic last month and may be the most talented team in the state. Watch more videos of Montverde Academy basketball