Five of the top seven teams in the Student Sports FAB 50 boys basketball rankings will participate in the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament from April 3-5 in New York City. The championship game could potentially be a match up of the nation’s top two ranked teams.
RELATED: New Student Sports FAB 50 | Tournament Headed To The Garden
The DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament will take place in New York City for the first time and it contains arguably the finest field of teams ever in the event’s six-year history.
If the seeds hold up, the championship game could decide the mythical national title where it should be decided — on the hardwood.
The Dick’s Nationals field by seed is: No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), No. 2 Rainier Beach (Seattle), No. 3 Northside Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.), No. 4 Huntington-St. Joseph Prep (Huntington, W.Va.), No. 5 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), No. 6 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 7 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and No. 8 The Sagemont School (Weston, Fla.).
DICK’S Sporting Goods High
School National Tournament Bracket
(Listed bracket style with FAB 50 ranking.)
No. 1 Montverde Academy vs. No. 7 The Sagemont School
N/A Huntington-St. Joseph vs. No. 12 La Lumiere
No. 4 Northside Christian Academy vs. No. 6 Oak Hill Academy
No. 2 Rainier Beach vs. No. 15 Findlay Prep
“It’s the strongest field we’ve ever had for this tournament or any high school tournament I’ve been involved in,” said event organizer Rashid Ghazi of Paragon Marketing.
Paragon Marketing put on the event in Maryland between 2009 and 2013, when it was known as the National High School Invitational (NHSI).
Montverde Academy won last year’s tournament en route to a No. 1 finish in the FAB 50. The other team in the field to previously win the tournament is Findlay Prep, which won in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The winner of the Dick’s Nationals has been crowned FAB 50 national champ two times and the lowest the winner has ever finished ranked is No. 3.
The first round matchups will take place April 3 and the semifinals will take place on April 4 with all six of those games played at Christ the King High School (Middle Village, N.Y.) and televised on ESPNU or ESPN2. The boys and girls championship games will take place at Madison Square Garden on April 5 and the boys game will be televised by ESPN.
The four-team girls field includes Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), Miami (Miami, Fla.), Fremont, (Fremont, Utah) and Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.). The girls title game will be televised by ESPN2.
Quick StudentSportsBasketball.com Analysis
Montverde Academy is the big favorite because of its talent level and experience playing in the event. Sagemont went 33-0 en route to the FHSAA Class 3A state championship and drew an extremely tough game. Sagemont is ranked higher in the FAB 50 (No. 7) than it is seeded in this event. It’s a bit surprising to see two Florida teams battle on the first day, but if Sagemont wants to make a statement it certainly has the platform to do so.
Huntington-St. Joseph Prep is not eligible for the FAB 50 because the program is not formally recognized by a state governing body for athletics, but it’s a talented team nonetheless that could win its opening-round game. Coach Rod Fulford and La Lumiere coach Alan Huss are quite familiar with each other and the opposing team’s personnel, which makes for quite a match up.
NCISAA Class 2A champ Northside Christian Academy will be on this type of stage for the first time ever against the standard-bearer of basketball-academy, boarding school type programs in Oak Hill. NCA hasn’t played on national television, but it has a talented team that played a good schedule this season. Its only loss was a 83-60 setback to Montverde Academy. Oak Hill coach Steve Smith has accomplished just about everything there is to in high school basketball — expect win this tournament. His team will be highly motivated but will need consistent play from the backcourt to win three consecutive games against this quality of competition.
Rainier Beach is the public school from the Pacific Northwest that clamored for its shot on the big stage and what better way to open the Dick’s Nationals than against the program that has won more big games over the last five years than any other — Findlay Prep. The Pilots haven’t quite played up to expectations this season, but they are just as talented as Rainier Beach. The Vikings are highly-motivated, but will their lack of a big-time foe since December hurt them right off the bat against a team like Findlay Prep?
Stay logged into StudentSportsBasketball.com for coverage of the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament and in-depth previews of all eight boys teams leading up to the event.