Video: No. 1 Montverde Academy highlights
Watch highlights of the top-ranked Montverde Academy Eagles.
We are two months away from the start of the 12th annual GEICO Nationals from April 2-4 at New York City's Christ the King High School. The field is coming into focus as postseason play is just a few weeks away for many states.
Four teams appear to be locks for the national championship event, as Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah.), Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) have all but solidified their spot with impressive national resumes.
Grayson (Snellville, Ga.), with a state title, will also likely be a lock.
Taking those programs off the board, it leaves the door open for three or four additional teams to earn an invitation to the Big Apple.
The eight-team field will be announced in early March, after an internal selection process by the Paragon Marketing Group. Programs eligible for the event include member schools of Florida, Georgia, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona along with independent schools from North Carolina and South Carolina, and programs from the Baltimore Catholic League and District of Columbia State Athletic Association.
With just under two months of basketball remaining until the field is released, let's predict the field for GEICO Nationals based on each team's current resume.
Predicting the Field:
National Rank: No. 1
Projected Seed: No. 1
The four-time GEICO Nationals champions are heavy favorites to capture their second title in the past three seasons behind a loaded rotation featuring nine Top 100 prospects. Led by Top 10 prospects Cade Cunningham
(Oklahoma State signee) and Scott Barnes
(Florida State signee), the Eagles have dominated this season, winning by an average of 39 points per night this season. They've played one game, a 63-55 win over IMG Academy, decided by single digits. This group has six wins over current Top 25 programs and features three McDonald's All-Americans — Day'ron Sharpe
, Barnes and Cunningham.
National Rank: No. 2
Projected Seed: No. 2
This could be the year that the Tigers get over the hump to capture their first victory at GEICO Nationals, as they're 0-3 all-time. A balanced scoring attack sees four players averaging over 14.5 points per game as Caleb Lohner
(Utah signee), Richard Isaacs
, Richie Saunders
(BYU commit) and Mike Saunders
(Cincinnati signee) lead the way. Wasatch Academy has a solid national resume that includes three wins over ranked foes — No. 10 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), No. 12 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and No. 22 Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.).
National Rank: No. 5
Projected Seed: No. 3
The Warriors have put together a stellar national resume built around three victories over Top 10 opponents — No. 2 Wasatch Academy, No. 7 Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) and No. 10 Paul VI. Led by 5-star guard Cam Thomas
, averaging over 30 points per outing, each player understands their defined role within the team. The perennial powerhouse is 13-9 all-time at GEICO Nationals, with one event title in 10 previous appearances. Look for this group to be seeded a bit higher than their national ranking, as history in the event could factor into a bump.
Record: 15-2Projected Seed:
National Rank: No. 3
Breakdown: Earned their first invitation to GEICO Nationals last season, losing to event champion IMG Academy 65-50 in the first-round action. The Buffaloes have established themselves this year as one of the top teams in high school hoops with impressive wins over No. 6 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 14 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) No. 25 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), Westlake (Austin, Texas), Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) and others. Barring a late season collapse, Sunrise Christian Academy appears to be in prime position for a top four seed.
National Rank: No. 4
Projected Seed: No. 5
Although the Rams have pieced together an impressive season, winning a state title in Georgia's highest classification is always a daunting task. If this unit can fend off a tough group of challengers, they'd certainly earn an invitation Seniors Deivon Smith
(Mississippi State signee) and Caleb Murphy
(USF signee) combine to form one of the top backcourts, along with post anchor Ian Schieffelin
. Signature wins include Milton, Memphis East (Memphis), Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.), McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) and two wins over Shiloh (Snellville).
National Rank: No. 12
Projected Seed: No. 6
The Hawks have a deep and talented roster led by Top 50 senior Samson Ruzhentsev
(Florida signee). Strong guard play from Reggie Bass
and Dominiq Penn
have also guided the top-ranked team from the Volunteer State to big wins this season. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy has never made an appearance in GEICO Nationals, but big-time wins over No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy, West Oaks (twice), Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) and The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) among others could earn them a ticket.
National Rank: No. 11
Projected Seed: No. 7
The defending event champions find themselves on the bubble as the Ascenders enter the stretch run with four losses. They own quality wins over No. 25 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.), Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.), Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) and Patrick School (Hillside, N.J.). One of the most talented rosters in the country features four 5-stars — Jaden Springer
(Tennessee singee), Moussa Diabate
, Jarace Walker
and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
, along with Top 30 paint anchor Mark Williams
National Rank: No. 13
Projected Seed: No. 8
With no affiliations to the CIF governing body, it's believed that Prolific Prep will be eligible for the 2020 GEICO Nationals. Two McDonald's All-Americans lead the way as Jalen Green
and Nimari Burnett
form one of the elite backcourts in high school hoops. The Crew own signature wins over No. 14 La Lumiere, Our Saviour Lutheran (Bronx, N.Y.), Lancaster (Texas), Huntington Prep (twice) and St. Mark's (Dallas). Although this group sits on the bubble, if they are able to win out it is highly unlikely that they'd be left out.
La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
National Rank: No. 14
Opportunity lies ahead of the Lakers this weekend with a potential showdown with No. 2 Wasatch Academy that could bolster their resume. La Lumiere is in danger of missing GEICO Nationals for the first time since 2015.
National Rank: No. 15
If the Crusaders are able to run the table and get some help from teams ahead of them, the top team out of the Evergreen State could earn a trip to New York.
National Rank: No. 24
After making their first appearance last season, the Gaels are on the outside looking in. A ninth consecutive state title could boost this group into the field with a little help from others.
National Rank: No. 25
A strong finish to the season, including a win over No. 5 Oak Hill Academy, is needed for this group to make a case for the eight-team field. An 85-67 loss to fellow bubble-team IMG Academy could cost this group in the end.