03.13.19 | News
2019 GEICO Nationals appears very similar to 2018 City of Palms field
The field for this year’s GEICO High School Nationals looks a lot like a Culligan City of Palms Classic draw. Seven of the eight schools headed to the de facto national championship event have played in the City of Palms at some point, and four of them were at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena just this past December.
This year’s GEICO Nationals lost some of their luster when the starting five for No. 2 seed McEachern (Powder Springs, Georgia) decided to skip the event. Prior commitments some of the players made to USA Basketball and the Nike Hoop Summit, plus a desire to focus on college recruiting, leave the reigning Culligan City of Palms Classic champs severely shorthanded. Still, the remnants of McEachern will try to keep the team’s unbeaten record alive in the GEICO quarterfinals against Sunrise Christian School (Bel Aire, Kansas), which played in the 2013 City of Palms.
La Lumiere (La Porte, Indiana), a 2014 City of Palms Signature Series participant, is this year’s GEICO Nationals No. 1 seed. The team matches up in the GEICO quarterfinals against University School (Fort Lauderdale), which won the 2017 City of Palms championship and came back again this season.
The winner of that game will face a clash of two of this year’s Culligan City of Palms Classic teams: No. 4 seed IMG Academy (Bradenton) and No. 5 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Virginia). The schools seemed like strong bets to meet in the City of Palms finals before upsets derailed them both. Together, they have eight players in ESPN’s Top 100 recruits for 2019 and another three in ESPN’s Top 60 for 2020, making this matchup a can’t-miss.
The other quarterfinal pits three-time Culligan City of Palms Classic champion Montverde Academy, the No. 3 seed, against the lone team in the GEICO field that’s never been to the City of Palms: No. 6 seed Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), which features 6-foot-8 junior center Mady Sissoko.
The three-day event runs April 4-6, with the quarterfinals on ESPNU, the semifinals on ESPN 2 and the championship on ESPN.