The Chick-fil-A Classic won’t have Zion Williamson this year, but it might have one of the strongest fields ever in the 16th annual event.
Led by powerhouse programs Oak Hill and Findlay Prep (Nevada), this year’s event at Richland Northeast High School won’t lack in star power or top teams. Both Oak Hill and Findlay Prep finished in the top eight of USA Today Super 25 and played in the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Championship.
“I am really looking forward to this year's tournament field,” RNE athletic director and Chick-fil-A Classic tournament director Gary Fulmer said. “Last year with Zion was electric. I am expecting the same this year with five potential McDonalds All Americans scheduled to participate. The overall field may be the best we have ever had.”
The tournament runs from Dec. 20-23 and last year’s event had record crowds to watch Williamson. But Williamson’s Spartanburg Day team will be playing in the City of Palms in Fort Myers, Fla., which goes on as the same time as the Classic.
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Oak Hill appeared in the event every other year since 2011 and won their bracket championship each of the years it has competed. The Warriors should be one of the favorites this year with four seniors ranked in Rivals 150, led by Keldon Johnson.
Findlay Prep, which finished the year ranked No. 3 in the country is led by North Carolina State commit. Jamie Lewis.
There are 31 players in the tournament ranked nationally by Rivals with Westtown (Pa.)’s Cameron Reddish at the top of the list. Reddish recently committed to Duke and is the No. 4 ranked player in the country for Class of 2018.
Class 4A champion Lower Richland and Midlands teams Keenan and Gray Collegiate are in the field along with Charleston’s Porter-Gaud, which has South Carolina targets Aaron Nesmith and Josiah James.
The other out-of-state teams include Prolific Prep of Napa Christian (Calif.), The Rock School (Fla.), Providence Day (NC), Huntington Prep (WV), Paul VI (Va.), Westside (Ga.), Cannon (NC), Cox Mill (NC) and Corner Canyon (Utah). Cox Mill features North Carolina commit Rechon “Leaky” Black.
The Carolina Challenge Showcase runs in conjunction with the Classic and includes A.C. Flora, Richland Northeast, Blythewood, Hammond, York Prep, Thomasville (Ga.) and United Faith Christian Academy (NC).
Pairings for the tournament will be announced at a later date.
Chick-fil-A Classic Players to Watch
(Rankings based from latest ones Rivals)
Class of 2018
4. Cameron Reddish (Westtown) – Duke commit
9. Jordan Brown (Prolific Prep)
12. Reggie Perry (Thomasville) – Mississippi State commit
17. Devon Dotson (Providence Day)
18. Keldon Johnson (Oak Hill)
33. David McCormack (Oak Hill)
41. Khavon Moore (Westside)
47. Will Richardson (Oak Hill)
53. Brandon Slater (Paul VI) – Villanova commit
60. Darius Days (The Rock)
73. Rechon “Leaky” Black (Cox Mill) – North Carolina commit
81. Jairus Hamilton (Cannon)
98. Jamie Lewis (Findlay Prep) – N.C. State commit
114. Keyontae Johnson (Oak Hill)
119. Aaron Nesmith 6’6 (Porter-Gaud)
133. Jeenathan Williams 6’6 (Prolific Prep)
142. Jake Forrester (Westtown) – Indiana commit
148. Reggie Chaney (Findlay Prep)
Class of 2019
20. Christian Brown (Lower Richland)
31. Josiah James (Porter-Gaud)
32. Wendell Moore (Cox Mill)
46. Josh Nickleberry (Oak Hill)
51. Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate)
57. Marvin Price (Huntington Prep)
77. DJ Burns (York Prep)
106. Anthony Harris (Paul VI)
107. Deuce Dean (York Prep)
130. Michael Christmas (Huntington Prep)
Class of 2020
12. Jeremy Roach (Paul VI)
44. Jaemyn Brakefield (Huntington Prep)
47. Noah Collier (Westtown)