PALM SPRINGS, Calif. —
There are seven days until the 13th MaxPreps Holiday Classic and to celebrate, we look at the seven state finalists from 2014-15 that will participate in the 117-team,
11-division tournament that runs Dec. 26-30 in Palm Springs.
Among those seven, four won state titles. They are:
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) —
The Gaels enter 7-2 following a 58-56 loss to Overland (Aurora, Colo.)
(7-0) at the Tarkanian Classic and 76-74 to Corona del Sol (Tempe,
Ariz.). Gorman is led by 6-5 junior Chuck O'Bannon Jr
, son of former UCLA
great Charles O'Bannion., and 6-10 senior Zach Collins
, ranked the 64th
best senior in the country by 247Sports. O'Bannon is the No. 37 junior.
Last year, Gorman went 30-3 and won its second straight and fourth state
title in six years. Gorman opens with Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.)
, another state finalist from last season. Gorman beat Capital
Christian 83-39 at the Wild West Shootout in Reno (Nev.) last season.
Jonesboro (Ga.) —
The Cardinals have won back-to-back Georgia 4A state titles and last
year finished No. 9 nationally. The Cardinals are led by the reigning
MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year M.J. Walker. Jonesboro averaged
74 points per game — twice hitting triple digits — and were led by Walker, Jr.
(17.3 points per game) along with a pair of seniors Tracy Hector Jr.
(12.7 ppg) and Deantre Mack (10.9). The Cardinals and Walker are
currently 7-2, but winners of seven
straight after losing the first two games to powers Norcross (70-65) and
Wesleyan Christian Academy (52-51) at the Atlanta Hardwood Jam Fest.
Those two squads opened the season a combined 16-2. Walker had 36
against Norcross. Jonesboro opens with Windward (Los Angeles).See MPHC Open Division bracketPrestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) —
The Lions are the high school home of Los Angeles Laker Julius Randle. Presetonwood won its fourth
Texas private school title in the last six seasons in 2014-15. The
Lions feature 6-foot-11 center Schnider Herard
a native of Haiti regarded as a Top 100 prospect by 247Sports.The Lions
(15-4) have already played 19 games and open the MPHC with De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
, which won this tournament in 2006. See MPHC site for all teams, brackets, stories
Bountiful (Bountiful, Utah) —
The Braves went 22-6 last season and won the Utah 4A state
title with a 66-54 win over Kearns. Four seniors led that team, but they
return 6-2 senior Austin Parkinson
, who averaged 8.6 points per game
last year and is a three-sport standout. The team's current 17-man
roster features six seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and 6-2
freshman Brig Willard
. Ryan Pollard
is a 7-foot junior. The Braves open
with Mercer Island (Wash.).
The other state finalists were Palo Verde (Las Vegas, Nev.)
and Chino Hills (Calif.)
, the tournament favorite.
Past Invitational Champions
2014 – Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) def. Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.), 67-66
2013 – Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.) def. Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.), 54-45
2012 – Westchester (Los Angeles) def. Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas), 70-62
2011 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) def. Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 76-69
2010 – Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) def. Silverado (Las Vegas), 65-57
2009 – Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) def. Foothill (Henderson, Nev.), 78-67
2008 – Orange Lutheran (Calif.) def. Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo, Calif.), 85-70
2007 – Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) def. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.), 62-55
2006 – De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) def. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.), 78-57
2005 – Etiwanda (Calif.) def. Loyola (Los Angeles)
2004 – Cathedral City (Calif.) def. Elsinore (Wildomar, Calif.)
2003 – Indio (Calif.) def. Cathedral City (Calif.)
* Event was known as Desert Heat Invitational from 2003-2010.