First it was recruiting guru Bob Gibbons of Lenoir, NC and editor of the All Star Report indicating "this is the best field in recent memory, and I've been to almost all of the Holiday Invitationals. Year in and year out, this one is the best." Then came the calls from the other recruiting publications and high school handbooks wanting information; there will be as many as 100 other sports and recruiting media in attendance.
Next came the calls from the big-name colleges scouting player talent: Missouri, Louisville, and UCLA (there are usually 25-50 Division 1A team representatives scouting talent at the tournament), followed by the pros: the Bulls and the Knicks so far have called.
It seems like regardless of where you are in this country, if you're interested in the top high school basketball talent, Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh is the place you'll want to be December 27, 29 and 30, 2003. The tournament, one of the oldest and largest high school invitational tournaments in the country, annually draws a three-day crowd in the 20-25,000 range but this year is something special.
If your interest is in the national powers, the Holiday Invitational has Oak Hill, the top team in the nation and eleven of the Top 100 individual players in the country. Is the Atlantic Coast Conference your focus? How about 7 ACC recruits including two for NC State and Duke, and one each for UNC, Wake Forest and Clemson? And then there are four of the top girls' teams in the state with All State players in attendance.
The Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation organizes this event, which will feature 19 top high school basketball teams playing 22 games in three days, 20 tournament games and two bonus match-ups. This year's format returns to the traditional format: a 4-team and 8-team boys' tournament and a 4-team girls' bracket. Tournament organizers like to say the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational features ?the college and pro stars of tomorrow in Raleigh today: and that is more than promoter's hype.
Stay tuned for a look at this year's line-ups tomorrow...