It wouldn’t be Christmas without a pre-Santa serving of the City of Palms Classic. For 16 years I’ve packed short-sleeve shirts, hopped on a plane and settled into my seats at the friendly confines of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Fla.
During that time, I’ve watched Kevin Love pull down 32 rebounds in a game, witnessed Michael Gilchrist give St. Patrick’s (N.J.) its first C.O.P. title and seen more future NBA draft picks in action than I can recall. This is a great tournament and its history cannot be understated. The two best high school basketball fields of the year are down south at City of Palms and up north in January for the HoopHall Invitational in Springfield, Mass.
This year’s City of Palms -- which starts on Tuesday and runs through Saturday -- is littered with elite prospects and ranked teams. Even though ESPN 60 guard Joel Berry (Apopka, Fla./Lake Highland) and ESPN 100 power forward Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) will miss the event due to injuries, there will be plenty of talent to hold our attention.
Some of the major storylines to watch include: