Yesterday, I posted some of the USA Today Top 25 high school boys’ basketball teams, and if you want to see several of the nationally-ranked teams in the same tournament, then the Bank of America City of Palms Classic is for you.
Some of the teams coming are Lincoln (Lance Stepenscon), American Heritage (Kenny Boynton, Florida commit), Briarcrest (Leslie McDonald, North Carolina commit), Duncanville HS, Word of God (John Wall), and a whole bunch of others.
American Heritage HS (Plantation, Fla.), 19-9: Kenny Boynton, HoopScoop’s No. 2-rated senior, returns for an encore after his 61-point City of Palms game against Fort Myers Dunbar in 2007, and will be joined again by pint-sized point guard Ray Taylor.
Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.), 22-6: Apaches have won four consecutive state championships, and boast McDonald’s All-American hopeful 6-9 Wally Judge and national top-100 senior 6-4 Rodney McGruder (both committed to Kansas State), plus 6-4 Emari Bailey.
Briarcrest HS (Memphis, Tenn.), 22-12: Leslie McDonald, a 6-5 guard and HoopScoop’s 15th-rated senior (committed to North Carolina), teamed with fellow seniors 6-9 Johnny Williams and 6-2 Gregg Wooten to win state title.
Dunbar HS (Fort Myers, Fla.), 21-8: Tigers reached 3A Final Four behind 6-4 junior David Paulk & sophomores Melvin German and Dontel Singleton. But the arrival of one of the state’s top five sophs, 5-11 Darius Perkins, from Miami Pace makes Dunbar even stronger.
Duncanville HS (Duncanville, Texas), 36-2: Led by 6-6 Shawn Williams (Texas), 6-5 Roger Franklin (Oklahoma State) and 6-foot Roger Dowell, all national top-100 seniors, and juniors 6-9 Perry Jones and 6-foot Jamison Sterns (both committed to Baylor), the Panthers are ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN.com and are 75-2 over the past two seasons.
Fayette County HS (Fayetteville, Ga.), 23-10: The Tigers rode 6-6 consensus top-25 senior Noel Johnson (25 ppg, 9 rpg), committed to USC, all the way to the Class 4A state title game and earned a City of Palms berth after an appearance in last year’s Sunshine Series.
Fort Myers HS (Fort Myers, Fla.), 26-4: Green Wave won district and county titles and reached Class 5A regional semis. They will build around 6-11 senior Josh Nicholas, 6-4 senior John-Michael Hodge, 6-3 sophomore Evin Graham and 6-5 sophomore Matt Yance.
Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 28-4: The 6-5 Lance Stephenson, HoopScoop’s No. 1-rated senior and dubbed “Born Ready” by the Rucker Park regulars in New York City, has starred for three straight city champions. Can he and 6-8 senior James Padgett (Maryland) make it 4-for-4 for the Railsplitters?
Mater Dei HS (Santa Ana, Calif.), 35-1: Monarchs could be nation’s preseason No. 1 team, led by 6-10 senior twin-tower brothers David and Travis Wear, who already have committed to North Carolina, and national top-30 juniors Tyler Lamb (UCLA) and Gary Franklin.
Olympia HS (Orlando, Fla.), 24-3: Class 6A Titans won inaugural McDonald’s Tampa Hoops Classic and are the state’s consensus preseason No. 1 team, led by seniors Dexter Fields (committed to UAB), William Green (Western Kentucky), Jamel Marshall (Florida International) and Martell Blue.
Roman Catholic HS (Philadelphia), 19-6: The Cahillites, upset in the Catholic playoffs after a 14-0 regular-season rampage through the Southern Division, boast 6-foot Malik Wayns (committed to Villanova), HoopScoop’s No. 11 senior, top junior 6-foot Rakeem Brookins and 6-7 senior Koron Reed.
St. Patrick HS (Elizabeth, N.J.), 25-5: Kevin Boyle’s Celtics will make record eighth City of Palms appearance, powered by consensus top-10 senior 6-3 Dexter Strickland (committed to North Carolina), 6-8 senior Paris Bennett (George Mason), 6-1 junior Kyrie Irving (Villanova) and 6-7 Michael Gilchrist, HoopScoop’s No. 2-rated sophomore.
Westchester HS (Los Angeles), 28-5: The young Comets put their perfect 14-0 City of Palms record (tourney titles in 2000-01 and 2003) on the line, led by national top-25 junior 6-7 Dwayne Polee (committed to USC), 6-4 Kareem Jamar and 6-2 Jordin Mayes.
Wheeler HS (Marietta, Ga.), 30-3: Highly touted seniors 6-7 Ari Stewart (committed to Wake Forest), 6-8 Richard Howell (N.C. State) and 6-3 Tahj Tate fell one game shy of giving Coach Doug Lipscomb his fifth state title in 15 seasons, but are among four returning starters.
Winter Park HS (Winter Park, Fla.), 28-2: The Wildcats won their first 21 games, led by national top-25 sophomore 6-3 Austin Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.), 31-3: John Wall, a 6-3 point guard and Rivals’ No. 1 senior, teamed with 6-9 C.J. Leslie (committed to N.C. State), HoopScoop’s No. 20 junior, to lead the Holy Rams to a second-straight NCISAA Class 1A state title.
There are a ton of ACC commits in this year’s tournament, including Wake Forest’s Ari Stewart, UNC’s John Henson and NC State’s C.J. Leslie.