As we witness another great year of March Madness, it is also time to get ready for one the DICK’S National Tournament, which includes 8 of the top high schools in the country, competing for the crown of National Champion.
While this tournament usually includes the best teams in the country, because of state rules that do not allow teams to travel after a certain point in the season or a certain amount of miles, some schools are not able to participate in this great tournament. This year Chino Hills (CA) is a victim of those rules.
While Chino Hills defeated Montverde Academy, who is the 3x National Champs, and is on the verge of winning a California State title, they will not be allowed to travel to New York. Chino Hills is ranked #1 in the USA Today polls, Max Prep Polls, and other smaller outlets national rankings. Some states are beginning to change their postseason rules to allow their teams to be able to participate in the DICK’S Nationals tournament but the absence of Chino Hills is a big miss for the event.
None the less, this field is still very competitive and should be very entertaining. For the first time in the 8-year history, all eight teams are ranked in the USA Today’s top 25. Three teams are making their DICK’S Nationals debut which is a great sign that the event is growing.
USA Today Power 25 rankings
- Chino Hills (CA) 34-0
- Montverde Academy (FL) 25-1
- Oak Hill Academy (VA) 42-1
- St. Anthony High School (NJ) 31-0
- Findlay Prep (NV) 28-1
- University of Detroit Jesuit HS (MI) 25-0
- Chaminade College Prep (MO) 27-5
- Howard D Woodson (DC) 33-0
- St. Benedict's Prep (NJ) 35-1
- Stevens Point HS (WI) 28-0
- La Lumiere (IN) 25-3
- Dematha (MD) 31-5
- Miller Grove (GA) 30-2
- Providence Day (NC) 30-3
- Wasatch Academy (UT) 29-3
- Desoto High (TX) 36-2
- Federal Way High (WA) 29-0
- St. Johns College High School (DC) 30-5
- New Albany (IN) 26-1
- Overland (CO) 25-3
- Memphis East (TN) 32-2
- Greenforest Christian (GA) 30-2
- Atascotia (TX) 38-1
- Advance Prep (TX) 34-7
- Roman Catholic (PA) 27-4
*Teams in bold are DICK'S Nationals participants
Montverde is looking to capture their fourth National Championship with a roster full of talent from outside of the U.S. borders and underclassmen. Silvio de Sousa, E.J Montgomery, and Simisola Shittu are all ranked in the top 15 of ESPN top 25 of 2018. All three players play the forward position but have different styles. R.J Barrett Jr is the top freshman according to ESPN and Rivals - his father was apart of the Canadians National team with Steve Nash, who is his godfather.
Sousa, Shittu, and Barrett are all from foreign sole. Last season, the Eagles were led by another foreign player, Ben Simmons, who is on his way to becoming the top overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft.
Oak Hill Academy makes their 7th appearance at DICK’S Nationals. For legendary coach, Steve Smith, a national championship is the only thing not on his resume, reaching the title game four times but never winning. Oak Hill came close to finishing an unprecedented 48-0 but loss to Montverde in the championship game. Oak Hill will have to go without the top player in the country, Harry Giles, who tore his ACL earlier this season. They still have four other players that are committed to D1 schools. C Rodney Miller (Miami), G Braxton Key (Alabama), F Mario Kegler (Mississippi State), and C Khadim Sy (Virginia Tech).
Like Montverde, Oak Hill has a good group of underclassmen that play a big part in their team success. Ty-shon Alexander, Matt Coleman, and Lindell Wigginton gives Oak Hill the deepest backcourt in the country, all of which are top players in the class of 2017.
Findlay Prep is the only school to play in all eight of the DICK’S Nationals tournament. They won three of the first four National Championship (when it was called the National High School Invitational) but have not played in the title game since 2012. The Pilots return to New York with a deep backcourt that include Skylar Mays, Carlos Johnson, and Markus Howard. Howard may be the most exciting out of the bunch being one of the top scorers in the 2017 class. P.J Washington was apart of last year’s squad that loss to Montverde in the semi-finals.
St. Benedict’s will be making their first trip back to the DICK’S National’s since 2013 when they loss to Montverde in the title game. The Gray Bees were able to make their way into the field after a big win against Huntington Prep, who was apart of last year’s tournament. The Gray Bees only loss this season came against Findlay Prep and they won’t be able to avenge that loss unless both teams reach the finals.
The Gray Bees doesn’t have a roster full a big name players but they have won 35 games with the likes of Jayden Saddler, Arnaldo Toro, and James Scott.
- Miller Grove (GA) will be making their first appearance at the DICK’S Nationals thanks to a seventh straight Georgia State title.
- La Lumiere (IN) is making their 4th appearance but is also looking for their first win. Lumiere has a solid group led by freshman point guard Tyger Campbell.
- Wasatch Academy (UT) is the first school from Utah to participate in the National tournament. Two of their three losses were against Findlay Prep and Montverde but they defeated La Lumiere.
- Providence Day (NC) also is making their first appearance in the tournament with only three losses. They come in as the 8th seed and will have to face Montverde in the first round. Tennessee commit, Grant Williams, and class of 2018 PG Devon Dotson will look to pull off the upset.
Players to watch
Jerimiah Tillman C 2017, La Lumiere, 6’9 215 pounds
Tilman is ranked 28th in ESPN top 60 juniors. He is being heavily recruited by the Illini to play in his home state. Tillman is a member of the St. Louis Eagles EYBL team with Jayson Tatum and Jordan Goodwin.
Silvio de Sousa F 2018, Montverde Academy, 6’8 220 pounds
Sousa is the probably the best player on the Eagles roster which is saying a lot. One could even go as far as to say he is the best player in the field. A strong performance in the tournament will just add to why the Angolian should be the best player in the class of 2018.
E.J. Montgomery F 2018, Montverde Academy, 6’10 200 pounds
The same thing I said about Sousa, could also apply to E.J. Montgomery. E.J was named to the junior USA Team in 2015 and has skills of a guard. His favorite player is Kevin Durant, which you can see some of in his game.
Matt Coleman G 2017, Oak Hill Academy, 6’2 170 pounds
Coleman transferred to Oak Hill after his sophomore season and is the first player out of Virginia Beach/Hampton area to attend Oak Hill Academy. He ranks as the #1 player in Virginia’s class of 2017 and rightfully so. Very exciting combo guard that can catch flight, expect a few highlights from this kid.
P.J Washington F 2017, Findlay Prep, 6’8 217 pounds
Both of Washington’s parents played basketball at Middle Tennessee State, so I’m sure the family is already on a basketball high. Washington represented USA Basketball in the 2015 3x3 World Championship and is ranked 19th in ESPN’s to 60 juniors.
Markus Howard G 2017, Findlay Prep, 5’11 170 pounds
Howard is one of the smaller players on this list but he is a scoring machine. Before transferring to Findlay Prep, he averaged 32 points a game at Perry High (AZ) as a sophomore. He also won a gold medal with the USA Basketball U16 team, averaging 15 points in five games. You want to see scoring, watch Howard.
Alterique Gilbert G 2017, Miller Grove, 6’0 170 pounds committed UConn
Gilbert is the top rated senior in the field, ranked 28th in ESPN top 100. Gilbert will also play in the McDonald’s All-American game and Jordan Brand Classic. The future Husky is very fun watch and despite his Georgia roots, he has an up-north type of game that will fit well with UConn’s guard oriented offense.
There will be six Canadian born players in the field this season. All six players will be participants in the 2nd annual Biosteel All-Canadian game. Here is a list of the Canadian players to look out for.
G Emmanuel Akot, , Manitoba Winnipeg
Wasatch Academy (Utah)
G RJ Barrett Ontario Mississauga
Montverde Academy (Fla.)
G O’Shae Brissett, Ontario Mississauga
Findlay Prep (Nev.)
F Simisola Shittu, Ontario Burlington
Koby McEwen, Ontario Toronto
Wasatch Academy (UT)