Prep elite talents shine at Rucker Park

NEW YORK -- With all of the top high school players split into allegiances to the three big sneaker companies, it is a rare event where they are all together, competing against one another. Obligations to play in a certain shoe camp or travel on one company's AAU circuit make it nearly impossible for the very best of the best to go head to head. Sure, the McDonald's All-America Game typically accomplishes this goal, but it's held in the postseason and includes only graduating seniors. The organizers of the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic set out to change all that.

The idea of putting together this type of preseason, star-studded event is not a new one. New Jersey's Rick Barrett had a pretty good run with his September Midnight Madness events when college coaches were allowed to attend. He had an underclassmen game and then a senior game, moving up the top underclassmen performers to compete in the big game. It was one of the can't-miss events of the fall. But even then, there was a distinct Adidas flavor to the rosters, and now that coaches are off the road in the fall, the event, while still very good, has lost a little steam. Others also have planned games in recent years, only to have them fall through for one reason or another.