Great basketball players always stand out, no matter who they play. But there's something about the holiday season in basketball: It seems to match great teams and great players against each other far more frequently than league schedules.
After two weeks of coast-to-coast tournament action, MaxPreps breaks down the standouts from high school basketball's holiday madness.FIRST TEAM (listed alphabetically)Nick Emery, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
Emery, a 6-foot-1 junior guard already committed to BYU, was on fire at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina, averaging 29.7 points per game and drilling 18 3-pointers in four outings. The Knights made a major statement with wins over St. Augustine (New Orleans) and Whitney Young (Chicago) en route to a second-place finish.Kasey Hill, Montverde Academy (Fla.)
The junior point guard got off to a slow start, missing the first two games of the City of Palms Classic. But Hill picked it up at the Kingdom of the Sun tournament, earning MVP honors and leading Montverde Academy – 7-1 overall in the two events – to the title. He topped it off with a commitment to the Florida Gators on New Year's Eve.Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
The Gaels went 5-3 in a brutal eight-game run at the City of Palms Classic and Beach Ball Classic. Muhammad delighted audiences at both events with his scoring exploits, pouring in 29.1 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds. The nation's top-ranked senior erupted for 42 against Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) in the quarterfinals at City of Palms.Evan Nolte, Milton (Ga.)
The Virginia signee posted 17.7 points, 6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as Milton tore through the field at the Beach Ball Classic, beating Bishop Gorman by 21 in the semifinals and Lone Peak by 28 in the final.Julius Randle, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
A week after winning the City of Palms Classic, PCA fizzled out at the Beach Ball Classic and left Myrtle Beach on a two-game losing streak. Randle, a 6-foot-9 power forward rated the No. 2 junior in America by MaxPreps, posted 18.5 points and 10 rebounds per game over the seven-game span. He was dominant in the quarterfinals and semifinals at City of Palms, going for 26 points and 10 rebounds against Bishop Gorman and 31 points and 14 rebounds against Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) to send the Lions to the title game.