09.20.18 | News
University School looks to defend their title
The numbers on their backs might as well be targets.
Everyone in this year’s Culligan City of Palms Classic will be gunning for University School (Fort Lauderdale), which returns to defend its 2017 championship. The Sharks feature both the No. 3 senior and No. 2 junior in ESPN’s recruiting database.
The team’s elite junior, versatile 6-foot-8 power forward Scottie Barnes, also has his tournament MVP trophy from last year to defend, but he and his teammates are unlikely to enter this year’s City of Palms with a sense of complacency. University School lost to in-state rival Montverde Academy in the finals of the Geico Nationals in March.
Montverde won’t be in Fort Myers this year, but University School can become the first team since Montverde in 2012 and 2013 to win back-to-back City of Palms titles. The only other school in the last 30 years to pull off that double was Westchester (Los Angeles) in 2000 and 2001.
If University School does win the City of Palms again, Vernon Carey will no doubt be a major reason why. The top-flight senior and son of an eight-year Miami Dolphins offensive lineman sprang for 29 points and 20 rebounds in the City of Palms final last year, and he continued his dominance in the Nike EYBL this summer, averaging 23.0 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game.
At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Carey is an imposing force symbolic of the kind of roadblock that University School represents for the rest of the City of Palms field.