The Culligan City of Palms Classic is once again bringing a star-studded lineup of teams and players to Southwest Florida for the best high school boys basketball tournament in the country this holiday season. Out of USA Today’s recently unveiled Super 25 Pre-Season Boys Basketball Rankings, seven of the top 25 teams will be headed to the tournament at Suncoast Credit Union Arena Monday, Dec. 18 through Saturday, Dec. 23.
The Culligan City of Palms Classic is pleased to host the following from the pre-season top 25: No. 3 Memphis East (Tenn.), No. 8 Hudson Catholic (NJ), No. 9 McEachern (Ga.), No. 13 Webster Groves (Mo.), No. 16 Mater Dei (Calif.), No. 20 Archbishop Molloy (NY) and No. 21 Wesleyan Christian (N.C.).
Memphis East finished second in the nation last year and second at the Culligan City of Palms Classic. The team hopes to pull down a championship on both accounts this year and is coached by former NBA star Penny Hardaway.
Hudson Catholic also makes a return trip to Southwest Florida, led by two seniors in the ESPN Top 25, No. 21 Louis King and No. 23 Jahvon Quinerly.
McEachern finished last season second in the state of Georgia but unranked in the Super 25. The team comes in this season with a high national ranking and high expectations with elite junior Isaac Okoro set to lead the team.
Webster Groves also finished 2016-17 unranked nationally but did win a state title in Missouri. This year the team has loftier goals and returns with one of it top scorers from last year, Carte’Are Gordon.
Mater Dei enters the year with the usual high expectations, having been ranked nationally for many years. It will make the cross-country trek led by four seniors: Michael Wang, Spencer Freedman, Harrison Butler and Reagan Lundeen.
Archbishop Molloy, a perennial power out of New York City, makes its City of Palms debut and brings its No. 17 ranked player, Moses Brown.
Wesleyan Christian is another team that isn’t new to the City of Palms, having been here on several occasions. It starts the season coming off a loss in the North Carolina state finals but returns two starters that are headed to Division I schools: Maryland commit Aaron Wiggins and Wake Forest-bound Jaylen Hoard.
Tickets for the tournament are now on sale. Several ticket options are available, including:
1. Six-Day Preferred Ticket Package: A single-seat six-day ticket package for $250 plus a $10 processing fee with seating in the first two rows directly behind the team benches and scorer’s table (west side of the arena) or the opposite first and second rows (east side).
2. Six-Day Reserved Ticket Package: A single-seat six-day ticket package for $128 plus a $10 processing fee for the remaining seating (east and west sides of the arena).
3. General Admission: Single-day General Admission is available for $15 per day (Friday and Saturday tickets are $20 per day). These prices include the processing fee.
4. Reserved Seat: Single-day reserved seat in Section II is available for $25 per day (Friday and Saturday tickets are $30 per day). These prices include the processing fee.
5. VIP Parking: A six-day Reserved Parking Pass is available for $60 plus a $5 processing fee.
For tickets, call the box office 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at (800) 440-7469 or (239) 481-4849.
No fees are collected from players or teams, and Classic Basketball Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that acts as a foundation for the tournament, helps offset some of the costs incurred by the teams participating in the tournament. For many of the players, the tournament represents their first opportunity to travel outside their own community.
Since 1989, 146 Culligan City of Palms Classic players have been named McDonald’s All-Americans and 116 have been drafted by the NBA, including 71 first-round picks.
Visit cityofpalmsclassic.com for all the information on this not-for-profit tournament featuring the top-ranked players and teams, including visitor information, ticket sales, schedule, team information, history, sponsors and sponsorship opportunities, eNewsletter signup, a tournament bracket, scores and stats, information on how to lend financial support as a Friend of the Classic, and much more.