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December 26, 2007

More holiday hoops coverage

Tis the season for holiday tournaments and Rivals.com is back on the road for a number of other events to close out the year. Our staff will be on the sidelines for three of the top events in the nation.

GSK ready for year 36

The GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational enters its 36th year of existence and the local teams boast big-time prospects. The talent in the Tar Heel State improves each year out and the field is sprinkled with the top players from nearby schools.

The tourmanet tips off on Dec. 27, the day of coverage for Rivals.com, at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. and runs through the 29th.

The nation's top junior point guard John Wall leads the way for Word of God and has a talented running mate alongside him in NC State bound C.J. Leslie. The team won the N.C. Independent Athletic Association 1-A championship last year.

Ravenscroft has an impressive frontline with three juniors all standing 6-foot-9 or taller. Ryan Kelly has enjoyed a tremendous start to the year, posting big numbers and attracting a number of coaches to his games this season.

Six-foot-11 big man Matt Wilson is also catching on like wildfire. The junior is popping onto the high-major radar with his play and high potential. Rounding out the trio is Aru Kok, a native of Sudan. The 6-foot-11 has a recruitment that has a number of teams looking at him.

Reggie Bullock, a 6-foot-4 sophomore wing, is the top prospect for Kinston, the 3A runner's up in North Carolina. Bullock was impressive last week at the City of Palms tournament.

DeMatha Catholic, one of the most heralded high school programs in the nation, might be the youngest teams the Stags have put on the floor in a good while. Junior Naji Hibbert and sophomore Josh Selby highlight the backcourt for this year's team.

After a strong run in Florida for the City of Palms, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft will make another east coast swing for the holidays. North Carolina fans will have a chance to see future Tar Heel Larry Drew in action.

Other players to watch include: Justin Watts of Durham (N.C.) Jordan, Earnest Ross of Panther Creek and others.

Thursday, Dec. 27 game schedule
12:30 p.m. Northern Durham (N.C.) vs. Green Hope (N.C.)
2:10 p.m. Panther Creek (N.C.) vs. Broughton (N.C.)
4:00 p.m. Taft (Calif.) vs. Jordan (N.C.)
5:40 p.m. Kinston (N.C.) vs. Ravenscroft (N.C.)
7:20 p.m. Southern Durham (N.C.) vs. Word of God (N.C.)
9:00 p.m. DeMatha (Md.) vs. Knightdale (N.C.)

Bojangles has super-sized talent

The Bojangles High School Shootout is quickly becoming one of the top post-Christmas tournaments in the nation. This year's event isn't short changing itself for talent either. The action tips off on Dec. 27 at Marvin Ridge High School, just outside of Charlotte.

Rivals.com begins coverage at the event on Dec. 28 and will be at the tournament until the final game on the 29th.

St. Benedicts, winners of the City of Palms tournament last week, headlines the field. The twin towers of Samardo Samuels and Greg Echenique lead the charge for the Grey Bees.

The star power isn't lacking. Two of the top juniors in the nation will be on hand with their high school teams. Derrick Favors of South Atlanta (Ga.) and Lance Stephenson of Lincoln (N.Y.) highlight the field.

There is a potential match-up between St. Benedicts (Samuels/Echenique) and South Atlanta (Favors) on the second day of action.

Stephenson and his Lincoln mates could potentially match-up with four-star class of 2009 guard Mfon Udofia of Miller Grove (Ga.).

The nation's number one football prospect Terrelle Pryor of Jeanette (Pa.) will also be in the field. He's a five-star prospect on the hardwood, too.

Thursday, Dec. 27 schedule
10:00 a.m. Hopewell (N.C.) vs. Charlotte Latin (N.C.)
10:30 a.m. East Mecklenburg (N.C.) vs. Hickory Grove (N.C.)
12:30 p.m. Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) vs. Miller Grove (Ga.)
2:00 p.m. Notre Dame Academy (Va.) vs. Providence Day School (N.C.)
2:30 p.m. South Atlanta (Ga.) vs. Jeannette (Pa.)
4:30 p.m. St. Benedict's (N.J.) vs. Erwin (Ala.)
6:30 p.m. West Charlotte (N.C.) vs. Victory Christian School (N.C.)
8:30 p.m. Abraham Lincoln (N.Y.) vs. Harding (N.C.)

Beach Ball Classic strong again

Rivals.com will also be at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the Beach Ball Classic on Friday and Saturday. St. Edward's (Ohio) High School returns to defend its 2006 championship. However, it will be an uphill battle for St. Edward's as they will be without five-star prospect and Michigan State signee Delvon Roe and face the likes of Duncanville (Texas), Bishop O'Connell (Va.), Monsignor Pace (Fla.), Wheeler (Ga.), Dunwoody (Ga.) and others.

A staple of the high school holiday basketball scene, the Beach Ball Classic is bringing in another outstanding line up. Top prospects participating in the event include:

Five-stars- Kendall Marshall (2010) and Ari Stewart (2009)

Four-stars- Wally Judge (2009), Shawn Kemp (2009), Shawn Williams (2009),Richard Howell (2009), Chris Singleton (2008), Dequan Jones (2008), Jason Clark (2008) and Delwan Graham


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