The field is set for the fifth annual National High School Invitational, and it promises to be the most talented group in the event’s history.
All eight teams in the NHSI field are ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings, and six are in the top 10. The tournament will be held April 4-6 in Bethesda, Md., and televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Seedings and matchups will be announced at a later date.
This year’s NHSI is headlined by the No. 1 team in the nation, Findlay Prep (Nev.). The undefeated Pilots are the reigning NHSI champs and boast a loaded roster that features a quartet of ESPN 100 stars in Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington, No. 20), Allerik Freeman (UCLA, No. 65), Christian Wood (UNLV, No. 74) and Stanford Robinson (Indiana, No. 98).
“It’s going to be difficult [to repeat],” said Findlay head coach Todd Simon. "This appears to be the strongest field yet for the NHSI. The fact that we are 34-0 and have won NHSI three times it makes us a gigantic target. But it’s a nice little challenge.”
Top-15 recruits Kasey Hill (Florida, No. 9) and Dakari Johnson (Kentucky, No. 11) lead No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.). The Eagles are still smarting after consecutive losses to Findlay, first in last year’s NHSI title game and again in January on a Williams-Goss buzzer-beater that ended Montverde’s reign at No. 1.
Also in the mix for the coveted NHSI crown are: No. 4 Prime Prep (Texas), led by No. 53 senior Jordan Mickey (LSU) and No. 3 junior Emmanuel Mudiay (undecided); No. 5 St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) and ESPN 100 point guard Tyler Ennis (Syracuse); No. 8 La Lumiere (Ind.) with talented wing Detrick Mostella (Oklahoma State) leading the way; No. 9 Blanche Ely (Fla.), the Florida Class 7A state champ; and perennial top-25 squads No. 19 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and No. 25 Montrose Christian (Md.).
“To win this event we’d be 37-0, and with the schedule we’ve played it would put us in rare air in high school basketball,” Simon added.