McClellan and Wise to meet in tourney

Part of the backcourt of Arizona's future will be squaring off on Saturday in one of the best high school basketball tournaments in the nation. Jawann McClellan and Nic Wise will face each other in the first round of the Academy National Invitational. The third year of the event has a number of other talented players, but it is these two that should spark interest for Wildcat fans.

The tournament, put together by Hal Pastner, father of Wildcat assistant Josh Pastner, will feature at least six nationally ranked teams and a host of top prep players. In addition to Nic Wise and Jawann McClellan, the tournament will feature Josh Shipp (UCLA), Taylor King (UCLA), Jamal Boykin, Alexander Kaun (Kansas) and Daniel Gibson (Texas).

The tournament is broken up into a national and a Texas bracket. In the national bracket are some of the best high school programs in the nation including Mater Dei and Fairfax from the Los Angeles area, Oak Hill and the Florida Air Academy.

McClellan's Milby squad meets Wise's Hightower team in the first round of the national bracket. The two are friends off the court, but expect fierce competition on the court even if they won't be matched up against each other.

Wise, a 5-10 point guard, transferred to Hightower after playing at Cinco Ranch last season. The sophomore sensation is the youngest player ever to commit to the Wildcats and has that target on his back. He is starting to play well after missing the early part of the season with an injury.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us," Greg Wise, Nic's coach and father, said in a press release. "The last two Texas teams to play in the national division got beat pretty good, but we're looking forward to making a good showing for the state."

The younger Wise transferred into the program to not only play for his father, but to play a style that is very similar to Arizona's.The elder Wise has put a number of Arizona's plays into the playbook and the team has responded. Wise is filling the void left by the departure of two key starters. The team was 34-3 last season and is off to a strong 11-4 start this season.

McClellan, a 6-4 swingman, was formerly the youngest player to commit to the Cats. The sweet shooting guard is having a tremendous senior season and has been a great ambassador for the Wildcats, wearing a UA ball cap in almost every photo opportunity.

His Milby squad is 17-0 and looks to be the team to beat in the Lone Star State. Milby has a chance to show it is among the nation's best and hopes to fare well against some of the better teams in the country.

"It's an honor for us to play in a tournament like this," Milby coach Jim Duffer said. "We're really honored that Mr. Pastner chose to invite us and I think what he does for this area is a real tribute to what kind of person he is and how much he loves basketball."

It's been a good week for McClellan and the Buffaloes. They won the 64th annual Houston ISD/Houston Jaycees Tournament last week, defeating Eisenhower 73-62 in the championship game. McClellan scored 31 points in the final and won MVP honors.

Duffer had high praise for McClellan. Since Duffer's been at Milby he has a number of great players, some who have made it to the NBA,Alton Ford and Rob Williams and McClellan seems to be right there.

"He's certainly one of the top three or four players that has ever played here," Duffer said. "He's that good. He's the ultimate teammate and, as great a shooter as he is, he's so unselfish with the basketball. He's always setting his teammates up. We have to tell him to take shots."

A live WEBCAST of this game and the entire tournament is available on the Vision Sports website. Milby and Hightower meet at 8:00 CST. More information can be found at www.visionsports.com.

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