In just six years, the National High School Hoops Festival has emerged as one of the top early December events on the slate.
Organized by Keith Stevens of EYBL powerhouse Team Takeover, the event will welcome four nationally-ranked teams to the sparkling facility at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., over the weekend.
Ranked No. 1 in the Academy Top 10, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
heads to the Festival riding a 55-game win streak. Could the Warriors be vulnerable? They are coming off their narrowest victory of the season against Macdonald Academy (Red Springs, N.C.)
and face a Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)
team hungry to avoid an 0-2 start.
The event will also feature the nation's top-ranked prospect in Andrew Wiggins
, who will lead Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
in games against Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
on Friday and Aquille Carr
and Princeton Day Academy (Lanham, Md.)
on Saturday.Weekend WatchSix key games likely to impact next week's national rankings.* No. 1 [Academy Top 10] Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. No. 14 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.):
This game lost a little luster when Paul VI – the defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion – dropped its opener to rival Gonzaga. These teams also met a year ago in the championship game at the Chick-fil-A Classic in South Carolina, a 76-55 win for Oak Hill Academy.* No. 3 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) vs. Orem (Utah):
Lone Peak crushed the 2012 Illinois Class 4A runner-up by nearly 40 last weekend. No chance an in-state team could knock off the Knights, right? Orem did it a year ago on the way to winning Utah's Class 4A state title. The rematch of defending champs goes down Saturday at the Great Western Shootout in Orem.* No. 4 [Academy Top 10] Montverde Academy (Fla.) vs. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville, Fla.):
NFEI has already knocked off one Academy Top 10-ranked team in Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville)
and will take a crack at another Saturday at the Hoop Exchange Center Court Shootout. NFEI is on the Xcellent 25 radar and a preliminary glance indicates it would own the record for lengthiest school name to ever be included in the rankings.* No. 10 [Academy Top 10] National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Md.) vs. Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.):
This is an under-the-radar gem Sunday at the National High School Hoops Festival. National Christian is off to a hot start behind the play of guards Jonathan Davis
and D'Neiko Norfleet
and would love to enhance its resume with a win over a talented OSNA squad.* No. 10 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) vs. Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.):
This one is receiving some serious build-up in Philly. Neumann-Goretti is the state's defending Class AAA state champion. Lower Merion – Kobe's alma mater – lost to nationally-ranked Chester
in last year's Class AAAA final. The teams combined for a 58-8 record in 2011-12.* No. 12 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) vs. No. 16 Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.):
With a bit of a new-look cast surrounding five-star senior forward Aaron Gordon
at Mitty, head coach Tim Kennedy could have eased his Monarchs into the season with a cupcake early schedule. But instead Mitty will take on two of NorCal's top programs on back-to-back nights, opening Friday against Jesuit (Carmichael)
at home and then going on the road to take on 2012 Division I state runner-up Sheldon on Saturday.Other tournaments/events of interest
* No. 10 Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
is aiming for its fourth title in a row at the Gridley Invitational. It won't be easy with legitimate threats like Antelope
, Bullard (Fresno)
, Newark Memorial
in the field.
* After a win over Paul VI on Tuesday, expect Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
to make a Xcellent 25 appearance next week if it can capture its own Gonzaga DC Classic. The Eagles open against Archbishop Molloy (Queens, N.Y.)
* The Christian Cup in Gilbert, Ariz., gets underway Thursday. Top 100 seniors Austin Nichols
and Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.)
and 7-foot-4 Mamadou Ndiaye
and Brethren Christian (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
headline the tournament.