Video: Basketball Rankings 2017-2018See the Top 25 teams in America.
The Culligan City of Palms Classic is, as legendary American sportscaster Keith Jackson used to say, "The Grandaddy of them all."
It's truly been America's premier high school basketball tournament since it began in 1973. The annual event has produced 146 McDonald's All Americans dating back to 1988 — 79 in the last decade. There are 144 NCAA players currently competing in the top seven conferences and 33 in the ACC. Not to mention 13 percent of all current NBA players have participated in this tourney.
Tournament Director Donnie Wilkie has been running the show since 1984 and knows how unique it really is.
"There's something special about a high school game when a superstar has the ball, and 3,000-plus people rise in unison on their feet to see what he'll do next," Wilkie said. "Something about seeing the country's best players under one roof before they become stars in the pros someday. And fielding the best teams from all across the nation and having them battle it out. This tournament offers fans a little bit of everything."
The prestigious tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. will be held Dec. 18-23 inside the 3,300-seat Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the campus of Florida SouthWestern College.
The loaded 16-team field includes seven teams nationally ranked by MaxPreps this week
and four of those are slotted inside the Top 10.
Five of the Top 25 senior prospects in America (according to 247Sports
) will compete in either the 16-team tournament or one of two sidebar showcases.
The stacked junior class will showcase seven of the Top 10 prospects. No. 1 overall recruit Vernon Carey Jr.
of No. 22 University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
will be on display along with the nation's top-rated sophomore Isaiah Todd
of Marshall (Richmond, Va.)
.Memphis East (Tenn.)
is the favorite and has been ranked No. 1 in America since the start of preseason. The 8-0 Mustangs are fully loaded after a favorable ruling yesterday allowed transfers James Wiseman
, the nation's second-rated overall junior, and senior UAB commit Ryan Boyce
, to remain eligible this season until a future hearing. Penny Hardaway's bunch will look to capture their first City of Palms Classic tournament championship after falling in last year's final to Montverde Academy (Fla.)
"It's been a tumultuous and tricky year with last-second transfers of high profile teams," Wilkie said. "But we feel our set of teams is the best or just as good as any other tournament in the country."
Here's a complete look at the 2017 Classic participants:
16-team tournament field: Archbishop Molloy (Queens, N.Y.)
, Canterbury (Fort Myers, Fla.)
, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)
, Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.)
, Marshall (Richmond, Va.)
, Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.)
, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
, Memphis East (Tenn.)
, Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.)
, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)
, Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
, Ranney (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
, Ranney (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
, Webster Groves (Mo.)
, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)Signature Series: Corbin (Ky.)
, Kaukauna (Wis.)
, Mars (Pa.)
, Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.)
, Sunshine Series: Gulliver Prep (Miami)
, Lehigh (Fla.)
, Miami Christian (Fla.)
, Osceola (Seminole, Fla.)
, Southwest Florida Christian (Fort Myers, Fla.)
, Wildwood (Fla.)