10.16.19 | News
With the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country set to play in the Culligan City of Palms Classic, the nation’s top high school basketball tournament, the easy prediction would be the two powerhouses will clash in the title game and the other 10 teams in the Traditional Bracket might as well step aside.
There are several reasons why this prediction could have flaws:
- The City of Palms Classic always brings an upset or two and the supposed top-ranked teams don’t always win the title and sometimes fail to advance to the championship game.
- The pre-season assessments of the top-ranked teams create a lot of good conversation before the games, but there is plenty of other talent spread throughout the brackets,
creating the potential for upsets.
- Talent like Powder Springs, Ga. McEachern and Philadelphia Roman Catholic. Those teams provide the marquee matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 18, the opening night of action in the tournament. Roman Catholic also is ranked No. 18 in the nation in USA Today’s first preseason poll. The winner has a legitimate chance to pull the upset against preseason No. 1 IMG.
McEachern, the defending Culligan City of Palms Classic champions, is fresh off its first Georgia state title, winning the Class 7A title and running the table with a 32-0 record. McEachern is led by Auburn commit Sharife Cooper and Oak Hill Academy transfer Dylan Cardwell. Cooper, a 6-2 senior who averaged 27 points, 8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 steals a game last season and is the No. 16 prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com. He was an all-USA TODAY first team and Naismith All-American second team choice last year. Cardwell, a power forward, gives McEachern and Cooper plenty of inside strength at 6-10. Among colleges showing interest are Connecticut, Tennessee, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
Roman Catholic, which posted a 24-5 record and won the Catholic League title last season, features one of the nation’s top point guards in Lynn Greer III. The senior, who averaged 15 points a game last season, is the No. 95-ranked prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com, but he is reclassifying himself after he graduates from Roman Catholic and will most likely play next season at a prep school. He has college offers from Villanova, Indiana, Miami Wake Forest and Temple, where his father played. Adding to Roman Catholic’s strength is sophomore Jalen Duran, who provides plenty of muscle and rebounding at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, and versatile shooting guard Justice Williams.
Roman Catholic and McEachern will play at 9:15 p.m. The winner could have a date with IMG in the semifinals. Roman Catholic is seeking its first title.