As always, the field includes an exciting mix of national and local powers. The three-day tournament will again be held from December 27-29 and is played at historic Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of N.C. State University. One of the oldest and largest high school invitational tournaments in the country, the Holiday Invitational annually draws between 20-25,000 spectators who are eager to see the future college stars.
The Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation organizes the event, which features 16 top teams playing 20 games for the three-day tournament. The tournament format consists of a 4-team boys bracket, an 8-team boys bracket and a 4-team girls bracket. Here's a review of this year's outstanding line-up.
December 27, 28 & 29, 2005
Reynolds Coliseum, NCSU, Raleigh, NC
Benefiting the Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation
EIGHT TEAM BOYS TOURNAMENT
Broughton Capitals (Raleigh, NC) - At 5-10, Brock Young - the nephew of former Enloe, GSK, Wake Forest, and NBA player Danny Young - is one of the heralded floor generals in the Class of 2007. Coach Jeff Ferrell's club receives interior help from 6-6 forward L.J. Dunn.
Cary Imps (Cary, NC) - Could Martin Stephenson, a 6-2 junior, be next in the line of strong backcourt players from the school in the town west of Raleigh? Imps coach Allan Gustafson, Jr. was an assistant on the team that captured an Invitational championship in 1994.
Christ The King Royals (Middle Village, NY) - Coach Bob Oliva's team last played in the GSK Tourney in 1998 and lost a two-point decision - at the buzzer - to Oak Hill Academy in the championship contest. Guard Larry Davis, a 6-3 NC State signee, returns from a squad that finished 15th in the final 2004-05 USA Today Super 25 Poll.
Kinston Vikings (Kinston, NC) - The storied program at the Eastern NC school - coached by Wells Gulledge - features one of its most heralded classes ever (Class of 2008/sophomores), including 6-6 power forward Quinton Coples, and Donovan "Bo" Ingram, a 6-4 swingman.
St. Johns College Cadets (Washington, DC) - Coach Paul DeStefano's junior-laden team is led by Chris Wright, a 6-1 point guard with offers from NC State, Wake Forest, and Maryland, among others. Fellow 11th graders Vlad Moldoveanu (6-9) and Alex Ardelean (6-5) - both members of the Romanian Junior National Team - and 6-5 Sean Hawkins solidify the frontcourt.
Montverde Eagles (Montverde, FL) - An emerging national power, the Eagles - coached by Kevin Sutton - look to 6-5 guard L.D. Williams, a NC native and Wake Forest signee - for backcourt leadership. Junior Solomon Alabi, at 7-1 and 235 pounds, provides muscle on the interior.
North Mecklenburg Vikings (Huntersville, NC) - Jamie Skeen, a 6-9 Wake Forest signee, returns to anchor the defending NC 4A state champion, which took third in the 2004 GSK event. Skeen also captured state final MVP and NC Associated Press (AP) Player of the Year honors. Coach Duane Lewis' club is helped inside by 6-8 power forward Laonzo Long, while 6-0 guards Reggie Williams and junior Tyler Epps anchor the backcourt.
Southern Durham Spartans (Durham, NC) - First-year head coach David Pyper has four starters back from last season's 14-11 club, which suffered five setbacks in regulation's final minute and two more in overtime. Junior Tyree Graham, a 6-1 combination guard, and 6-3 wing Cliff Springfield-Cobb set the Spartans' tone.
FOUR TEAM BOYS TOURNAMENT
Christian Brothers Colts (Lincroft, NJ) - NC State signee Dan Werner, a 6-7 forward, averaged 16.2 points per game for last season's New Jersey Non-Public Class A state runner-up. The Colts, coached by Ed Wicelinski, thrived defensively, surrendering just 38 points per outing en route to a 26-3 record.
Goldsboro Cougars (Goldsboro, NC) - Coach Randy Jordan leads the Cougars back to Reynolds Coliseum, where Goldsboro competed in the 2003 NC 3A state championship contest. The tradition-rich program is paced by a pair of juniors - 6-7 forward Daquan Joyner and 6-2 wing Tim Kornegay.
Phoebus Phantoms (Hampton, VA) - The Tidewater-based Phantoms, under first-year coach James Daniel, will look to run with Brent Vinson setting the pace. The 6-3 Vinson earned all-district honors in both football and basketball as a junior. Vinson is receiving major Division I football recruiting attention - including from ACC schools Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Virginia plus Tennessee, Florida and Georgia - but could end up as a two-sport athlete at the next level.