Kingwood Classic Boasts Elite Teams, Elite Talent

Hal Pastner does it the right way - organized, efficient and first-class. Maybe that's why nearly every big-time team is coming to Houston this weekend for the loaded Kingwood Classic.

Greg Oden vs. Derrick Caracter in pool play for bragging rights as the top big man in ‘06. Louis Williams, Jawan Carter and JayDee Luster – all elite point guards in their class – going up against one another in pool play. Twenty-one of the Top 25 teams in the country, including nine of the top 10.

Somehow, Hal Pastner has found a way to pull it off.

While most tournaments are loaded with teams from one shoe affiliation, Pastner's Kingwood Classic (Texas), which begins Friday night and concludes Sunday late afternoon, boasts the elite Nike, adidas and Reebok teams from around the country.

``This is something that's never been done," said Pastner, who runs the Houston Hoops program. "An event like this has never taken place."

Pastner will have more than 400 teams and 5,500 players converge in Houston this weekend. That will also mean that nearly every college in America will send a pair of coaches to Kingwood.

Instead of watching the big boys beat up on the little guys in pool play, Pastner has put together an elite field of 17 teams – which will battle it out in pool play and automatically advance to the gold bracket regardless of how they far against the country's elite squads.

Here are a listing of the Super Pools:

Pool A

Georgia Stars

Playaz Basketball Club

Southern Cal All-Stars Red

Pool B

Illinois Warriors

Houston Hoops

Belmont Shore

Pool C

Spiece Indy Heat

Boo Williams

New Jersey Panthers

Pool D

Team Texas

Illinois Wolves

Tallahassee Wildcats

Pool E

Atlanta Celtics

Miami Tropics

New York Gauchos

Pool F

Syracuse/Rochester RAP

Illinois Fire

Keystone Gators

Most of the top players will be in attendance: juniors Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, Keith Brumbaugh, Louis Williams (Georgia), Jamont Gordon, Julian Wright, Greg Paulus (Duke), Andray Blatche, Josh McRoberts (Duke), Tyler Smith, C.J. Miles, Andre McGee, sophomores Oden, Caracter, Vernon Macklin, Jawan Carter, Jerry Smith, Kevin Durant, Jonathan Scheyer, Wayne Ellington and Nic Wise (Arizona) as well as freshman Taylor King, JayDee Luster and O.J. Mayo.

The big-time games get underway almost immediately on Friday night at 7:40 p.m. with Paulus and Blatche taking on a loaded Illinois Fire team that features a formidable backcourt in Jeremy Pargo and Tony Freeman as well as Nate Minnoy and Jeremiah Bryant.

Then it's Jamal Boykin and Belmont Shore who take on the Illinois Warriors, who feature Julian Wright and Jonathan Scheyer. On the adjacent court will be the No. 1 Georgia Stars and its star backcourt of Louis Williams and Mike Mercer against the Southern Cal All-Stars – with Marcus Johnson, Bryan Harvey and freshmen Taylor King and JayDee Luster.

The night ends with the defending champion Gauchos going up against the Atlanta Celtics on one court and the Illinois Wolves, who boast Bobby Frasor, against the Tallahassee Wildcats – with their emerging star Alex Ruoff.

However, the biggest matchup of the tournament will likely feature Oden and the Spiece Indy Heat against Caracter and the New Jersey All-Stars – at 12:40 on Saturday afternoon.

The Kingwood Classic is in its 10th year and is the largest weekend basketball tournament in the United States. Last year, nearly 350 teams played 800 games in a 48-hour period at 32 gyms.

Here is the link to the brackets for all age groups:

College coaches will be allowed to check in at Westfield High to pick up the coaches packet beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday night

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