Holiday Basketball Tournaments Showcase Recruits

Sit Back and Watch These Tournaments

With the end of the year coming around, a number of the top high school basketball teams are playing in holiday tournaments. Much like the bowl games in college football, these holiday tournaments give star players a chance to show off their skills on a bigger stage. The tournaments also give players a chance to travel to areas they might not have had the chance to see before, with tournaments located in Hawaii and Las Vegas. 


Most of these tournaments fall around the weekend before Christmas, with some falling around the following weekend. One notable tournament is the Tarkanian Classic, taking place from December 18-22. Named for UNLV coaching legend Jerry “the Shark” Tarkanian, has some national television coverage on the CBS Sports Network. The tournament is hosted by nationally ranked Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. The tournament also hosts three of the top four teams in USA Today’s national rankings, including the #1 overall team, Findlay Prep. 


This tournament will feature some players that could be competing in the NCAA Tournament in 2015. Rashad Vaughn and Craig Victor star for Findlay and both are hot recruits for 2014. Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei, the #3 team in the country and defending championship of the Tarkanian Classic, will be starring on Sean Miller’s Arizona team next year. With this amount of star power the Tarkanian Classic could be a good preview for next year’s college basketball season.


The Chick-Fil-A Classic shares sponsorship with the bowl game featuring Johnny Manziel, though it is doubtful he’ll be seen at the tournament. The tournament is taking place from December 19-23, and will feature a number of exciting prospects. Teams that will be there include #8 ranked Oak Hill Academy, a perennial national contender, and former #13 team Arlington Country Day. While the Chick-Fil-A Classic may not have the star power of the Western tournaments, it hosts a number of the local Southern teams that might not get that exposure during the rest of the season.


One of the last major high school holiday tournaments is the Les Schawb Invitational, taking place between December 27 and December 30. The tournament will have Bishop Gorman playing in their second tournament in as many weekends, as well as Whitney Young, a top-ranked school out of the Chicago area. The Les Schwab Invitational could give a better sense of the best teams in the nation, as some of these tournaments play their second tournament of the month.


There figure to be plenty of big-college scouts at these holiday tournaments, looking for the exciting players of tomorrow. Last year’s tournaments had Jabari Parker’s Simeon High School completing a three-peat of holiday tournament championships, Andrew Wiggins winning the City of Palms Classic, and Aaron Gordon impressing at the Les Schwab Invitational. To catch the best college players next year, check out these holiday tournaments.