#1 Shamrocks take their talents to the beach
UK & UL recruits in prolific Florida holiday hoops tournament.
Drew “Money” Brown: Florida Correspondent/HS Replays
Kentucky’s #1 ranked Trinity Shamrocks will travel to Fort Myers, Florida next week to participate in The City of Palms basketball tournament at historic Bishop Verot high school. Experts have called the event the top holiday tournament in the entire nation. Some say it is without a doubt the most competitive and talented holiday basketball venue year after year. More than 60 tourney participants have gone on to have professional careers in the NBA. Recent notable names are former and current Kentucky Wildcats John Wall, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as well as the talented Austin Rivers who currently attends Duke University. In its 39th annual installment this year appears to be no different, featuring many of the top teams and players in America. Including two of the top five teams, Mater Dei from Santa Ana, California and Bishop Gorman located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Shamrocks will have history on their side, the state of Kentucky boasts one of the best winning percentages of any state to play at least 10 games in the Classic. Kentucky Powerhouse, Ballard Bruins have help carry the load with an all-time record of 10-2 including the 1999 team which won the City of Palms Classic by beating Miami Northwest Christian. Former Cardinal Brandon Bender led team has the second highest point average per game in tournament history at 95.5 points per. One thing is for sure, Trinity will have to bring their ‘A’ game to keep their season and bluegrass state winning streak alive. They open up on December 17th against St. Raymonds from the Bronx, New York at 12:45 pm.
This year there is expected to be an increased amount of major division I head coaches in the stands as 5 of the nation’s top players participating in the COP are surprisingly still unsigned. Including Shabazz Muhammad, whom many consider to be the most sought after player in the field out of Bishop Gorman high school in Vegas. Muhammad; a 6’6 shooting guard who tops most recruiting ranks as the #1 guard in America. No surprise that John Calipari and Kentucky coaches are said to be in major recruitment of both Shabazz. Pennsylvania Friends Central power forward Amile Johnson. Johnson is a 6’7 play maker who also has Stanford, NC state, Villanova, and Ohio State on his list. Another local interest will be the explosive 6’6 senior Savon Goodman out of Philadelphia, Pa. Goodman was once a Villanova verbal commit but recently reopened his recruitment. He currently has both Louisville and Kentucky on his list.
In past years I have personally seen Roy Williams of North Carolina, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, and Dick Vitale of ESPN, all in attendance to watch the young stars play. With this many 20 top players still unsigned this is sure to be a recruiters dream event.
If Trinity can win their first three games they will play for the championship on Wednesday December 21st at 7:15 pm. In years past the final game has been broadcast on ESPNU. Last year it was won by St. Patricks New Jersey who were carried by current Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. All the best luck to the Rocks! Keep the Kentucky hoops winning tradition alive?
City of Palms Tournament Fun Facts:
-Tournament began in 1973
– More than 530 players have went on to play NCAA Division I basketball
– Kentucky’s all time record of 49-22.
– 74 total McDonalds All-Americans
-The 2008 tournament was labeled as “the best field assembled in the history of college basketball” by recruiting expert Clark Francis.
– University of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino has been in attendance as well as University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari.