Despite the cancellation of many top events on the high school basketball calendar, GEICO Nationals is expected to return this year after organizers called it off last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The eight-team event is scheduled for held April 1-3, though a location has yet to be announced. The field should take shape in mid-March.
Programs in consideration for the event include member schools of governing bodies from Florida, Georgia and Utah, as well as independent schools from North Carolina and South Carolina. Teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference are also in play, which could include No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).
States that are typically eligible for the field but will not be competing this year because of virus-related delays and cancellations include Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington. Programs from the Baltimore Catholic League and District of Columbia State Athletic Association also will be affected.
Read on for a look at teams in the mix for a spot in the field at GEICO Nationals.
Projected GEICO Nationals field
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 1
Projected seed: No. 1
Despite having their 44-game win streak snapped, the Eagles remain the team to beat in high school basketball. Owning a 7-1 record against MaxPreps Top 25 teams, Montverde has defeated No. 2 AZ Compass Prep, No. 4 IMG Academy, No. 12 Wasatch Academy (twice), No. 16 Oak Hill Academy (twice) and split two meetings with No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy. Head coach Kevin Boyle's juggernaut is led by No. 2-ranked junior prospect Jalen Duren
and sharp-shooting five-star Michigan signee Caleb Houstan
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 2
Projected seed: No. 2Breakdown:
The Dragons burst onto the national scene this season after defeating No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy and
No. 16 Oak Hill Academy. The Arizona program also took Montverde Academy to overtime. AZ Compass Prep solidified its GEICO Nationals resume with a 68-55 victory over No. 15 Prolific Prep earlier this week. Led by MaxPreps National Player of the Year candidate TyTy Washington
, who is averaging 21.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest, and versatile 6-9 Dayton signee DaRon Holmes
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 3
Projected seed: No. 3Breakdown:
A successful weekend at the Montverde Academy Invitational included a 69-66 overtime victory over top-ranked Montverde Academy, avenging a loss on Jan. 9. The win added to an already impressive resume that includes wins over No. 4 IMG Academy, No. 12 Wasatch Academy (twice), No. 16 Oak Hill Academy and No. 19 Paul VI. Baylor signee Kendall Brown
and do-it-all Tennessee-bound guard Kennedy Chandler
lead the way.
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 4
Projected seed: No. 4Breakdown:
The Asenders are the defending GEICO Nationals champions, winning their first title in 2019. Due to last year's event being canceled, IMG has a chance to win consecutive championships and establish itself as the best team in high school hoops for the second time in the past three seasons. Although IMG Academy has just a 1-2 record against MaxPreps Top 25 teams this year, a recent 73-53 victory over No. 11 Minnehaha Academy justified the Ascenders' national standing. A loaded roster is headlined by one of the nation's top backcourt tandems in top 10 junior prospect Jaden Bradley
and senior Texas signee Tamar Bates
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 5
Projected seed: No. 5Breakdown:
As Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams become eligible for the first time in GEICO Nationals history, the Stags have a shot to become a mainstay in the event after finishing in the top 10 of MaxPreps Top 25 rankings each of the past three years. Although DeMatha didn't begin play until January, it is expected to finish the season in time to participate in the event. Connecticut pledge Jordan Hawkins
and junior wing Tyrell Ward
have been among the catalysts in a deep rotation.
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 10
Projected seed: No. 6Breakdown:
After starting 2-2, the Eagles have rattled off 20 consecutive victories. Entering postseason play as the favorite to capture its first state title since 2012, Milton could have a GEICO Nationals invite waiting at the finish line. A youthful roster is led by junior Ohio State pledge Bruce Thornton
and five-star sophomore Kanaan Carlyle
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 12
Projected seed: No. 7Breakdown:
A battle-tested group owns a 3-5 record against MaxPreps Top 25 teams this season, with four of their losses coming against No. 1 Montverde Academy and No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy. A 2-1 record against Oak Hill Academy certainly helps the cause. Four players are averaging double figures, led by Kentucky signee Nolan Hickman
(16 points per game) and top 30 junior prospect Richard Isaacs
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 16
Projected seed: No. 8Breakdown:
Oak Hill is just 1-5 in its last five games with all of those coming against ranked opponents. The perennial powerhouse will have an opportunity to stem the tide this weekend, facing No. 24 Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) in an all-important meeting at the Heartland Hoops Classic. A loss on Saturday would mean the Warriors slipping outside the projected field, while a win would further solidify their case over a Prolific Prep squad hot on their heels. Five-star junior MJ Rice
(18.7 points per game) has been the leader for a offense that has five players averaging double figures.
MaxPreps Top 25: No. 15
Breakdown: The Crew have played just two ranked opponents this year, losing both showdowns against No. 2 AZ Compass Prep.
Record: 21-1MaxPreps Top 25:
Breakdown: Without many high-profile games on the schedule, the Knights would need a lot of help to receive consideration.
Record: 6-3MaxPreps Top 25:
Breakdown: The Panthers are in need of a strong finish to play themselves into GEICO Nationals contention.
Record: 18-3MaxPreps Top 25:
Breakdown: A state championship run in Georgia's highest classification coupled with a postseason victory over No. 10 Milton could be the perfect storm for the Rams to earn a berth.
Record: 21-0MaxPreps Top 25:
Breakdown: If the Warriors can complete an unbeaten state title run, a strong argument could be they are more deserving than a six-loss prep power.