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Chick-fil-A Classic teams

Rice High

LOCATION: New York City

COACH: Mo Hicks

LAST SEASON: Went 26-4, won city and state championships

FAST FACT: Former or current NBA players from Rice include Felipe Lopez, Dean Mimingher, Reggie Freeman, Andrew Barrett, Kenny Satterfield and Russell Robinson.

TOP PLAYERS: Shane Southwell, Jermaine Sanders, Kadeem Jack.

THE BUZZ: Rice, ranked No. 17 in the latest USA Today Super 25 national rankings, brings one of the tournament's top players in Southwell. The 6-foot-7 forward already has signed with Kansas State. Jack, at 6-8, adds strength in the post while Sanders, a 6-5 forward, is a highly regarded junior.

Lexington (Ky.) Catholic

LOCATION: Lexington, Ky.

COACH: Brandon Salsman

LAST SEASON: 26-8, regional champions, state quarterfinalist

FAST FACT: Lexington Catholic has been to the Kentucky final twice this decade, winning the state title in 2002.

TOP PLAYERS: Tanner Peurach, Taylor Martin, Scott Schuette, Jaylin Beckham.

THE BUZZ: Peurach, a 6-8 senior, is one of four starters returning for the Knights. He is joined by Martin, a 6-4 junior, Schuette, a 6-3 junior, and Beckham, a 6-0 sophomore. This is Lexington Catholic's first Chick-fil-A Classic appearance since 2005.

Westlake (Ga.)

LOCATION: Atlanta

COACH: Darron Rogers

LAST SEASON: 26-7, reached Georgia Class 5A Final Four

FAST FACT: Since 1999, Westlake has won two state championships ('99, '02), placed second ('06) and reached the semifinals twice ('08, '09).

TOP PLAYERS: Marcus Thornton, Marc Brown, Anthony Jacobs.

THE BUZZ: The Lions have three starters and five other lettermen back from last season. They boast a front line that includes the 6-8, 285-pound Jacobs, who has committed to Central Florida. Thornton, an athletic 6-8 small forward, has signed with Clemson.

Robert A. Taft (Ohio)

LOCATION: Cincinnati

COACH: Mark Mitchell

LAST SEASON: 16-6, conference champions

FAST FACT: Taft is the first Ohio team to play in the Chick-fil-A Classic.

TOP PLAYERS: Cameron Mitchell, Cory Hunter, Kevin Mitchell, Shawntez Johnson.

THE BUZZ: The Senators have four starters back, led by 6-3 senior guard Cameron Mitchell. His brother, Kevin, contributes as a 6-0 guard. The 6-8 Hunter gives the Senators height in the middle.

Trinity Christian (N.C.)

LOCATION: Fayetteville, N.C.

COACH: Heath Vandevender

LAST SEASON: 23-14

FAST FACT: The Crusaders have won 20 or more games five times in the past seven years.

TOP PLAYERS: Damontre Harris, Damein Steadman.

THE BUZZ: Trinity Christian's headliner is Harris, a 6-9 all-state senior forward who has signed with South Carolina. He is one of four starters returning for the Crusaders.

Christ School

LOCATION: Arden, N.C.

COACH: David Gaines

LAST SEASON: 36-2, N.C. Independent Schools Association Class 3A champions

FAST FACT: The Greenies record the past three seasons is 99-8.

TOP PLAYERS: Marshall Plumlee, Eric Smith, Tony Kimbro, Sebastian Koch, Lucas Troutman.

THE BUZZ: Winners of state titles in four of the past five seasons, Christ School is ranked No. 21 nationally as it makes its third consecutive appearance at the Chick-fil-A Classic. Smith, a former Mullins player, has signed with USC. The 7-foot Plumlee is one of the nation's top juniors.

Norfolk Christian (Va.)

LOCATION: Norfolk, Va.

COACH: Michael Allen

LAST SEASON: 23-7

TOP PLAYERS: James McAdoo, Michael Murray, Kwontie Moore, Mario Nixon.

FAST FACT: Allen, in his eighth season at Norfolk Christian, was previously a college assistant at Chowan (N.C.) and Indiana State.

THE BUZZ: McAdoo leads a group of five returning starters. A 6-8 junior, he already has committed to North Carolina. The Ambassadors have a strong sophomore class that includes Murray, Moore and Nixon.

Vance (N.C.)

LOCATION: Charlotte

COACH: Will Robinson

LAST SEASON: 25-4

FAST FACT: The Cougars won the N.C. 4A state title in 2003 and placed second in 2008.

TOP PLAYERS: Marquis Rankin, Jacoby Davis, Dechane Durrante.

THE BUZZ: Vance returns three starters as it shoots for a third Class 4A final appearance in the past eight seasons. Rankin, a 6-1 junior, and Davis were both all-conference players last season.

Irmo

LOCATION: Columbia

COACH: Tim Whipple

LAST SEASON: 18-7, lost in first round of Class 4A playoffs

FAST FACT: In 19 seasons, Whipple has coached the Yellow Jackets to three Class 4A championships.

TOP PLAYERS: Jordan Roper, Jay Clinkscales, David Frazier

THE BUZZ: Irmo looks to get back to the top of Region 5-4A behind five returning lettermen and two returning starters. Roper is an experienced sophomore guard who makes things go.

Richland Northeast

LOCATION: Columbia

COACH: Jason Powell

LAST SEASON: 16-10, lost in first round of Class 4A playoffs

FAST FACT: RNE has made the 4A playoffs 13 of the past 15 seasons.

TOP PLAYERS: Jared Guest, Travis Hammonds

THE BUZZ: After playing arguably the state's toughest Class 4A schedule last season, the Cavaliers enter their own tournament with a 5-1 record. Guest, a 6-7 forward, gives RNE a presence in the paint.

Keenan

LOCATION: Columbia

COACH: Zach Norris

LAST SEASON: 20-9, lost in Class 2A Upper State final

FAST FACT: The Raiders have been region champions eight times in the past 10 seasons.

Top players: Bradley Smith, Dennis Rowe, Jacob Green

THE BUZZ: Keenan has three All-Region 4-2A players back in Smith, Rowe and Green. The 6-4 Smith averaged a double-double last season with 14 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Lower Richland

LOCATION: Hopkins

COACH: Ezekiel Washington

LAST SEASON: 21-5, lost in second round of Class 3A playoffs

FAST FACT: The Diamond Hornets own four Class 4A state championships (1982, '87, '88, '99).

TOP PLAYERS: M.J. Rhett, Keith Johnson, Torrence Outing.

THE BUZZ: Rhett returns to RNE, where he played the past two seasons before transferring. The 6-7 senior already has signed with Tennessee State.

Dreher

LOCATION: Columbia

COACH: Jon Richards

LAST SEASON: 19-6, lost in second round of Class 3A playoffs

FAST FACT: Dreher has averaged 16 wins a season in Richards' first four years.

TOP PLAYERS: Quayshun Hawkins, Chris Brown, Dominic Boyd

THE BUZZ: After going 10-0 to win Region 5-3A last season, the Blue Devils are off to a 9-1 start. Hawkins, a quick, sharp-shooting 6-1 guard, is capable of scoring 20 points per game. The 6-4 Brown scored 14 points per game last season.

Fairfield Central

LOCATION: Winnsboro

COACH: Miguel Burns

LAST SEASON: 21-5, lost in third round of Class 3A playoffs

FAST FACT: Burns entered this season with 173 career wins.

TOP PLAYERS: Mikel Trapp, Marquis Robinson, Anthony Craig

THE BUZZ: The Griffins shared the Region 4-3A championship with Lower Richland last season and took the league's top seed into the postseason. This year, Fairfield Central has three starters back and will rely on its heavy defensive pressure to win.

Ridge View

LOCATION: Columbia

COACH: John Combs

LAST SEASON: Won Region 4-4A championship, lost in second round of Class 4A playoffs.

FAST FACT: Blazers have played games at Madison Square Garden and at Oak Hill (Va.) this season.

TOP PLAYERS: Mike Green, Jamar Gillespie, Jamie Portee

THE BUZZ: Facing top-notch teams at the Chick-fil-A Classic won't faze Ridge View. Combs took the team to the nation's No. 3-rated team, Oak Hill, Monday night and lost 89-65. Green, a 6-9 Tennessee State signee, is good in the middle.

Charlotte Christian

LOCATION: Charlotte

COACH: Shonn Brown

LAST SEASON: 23-10, lost to Christ School in 3A semifinal

FAST FACT: Former players Willis Hall (College of Charleston), Taylor Wagner (Wofford) and Carson Sullivan (Penn) moved on to D-I college basketball this season.

TOP PLAYERS: Akil Mitchell, Anthony Gill

THE BUZZ: Charlotte Christian lost a ton of talent from last season, but the Knights still are strong. Mitchell, a senior who will play at Virginia next season, and Gill, a USC commitment, give Brown plenty to build around.

- Steve Wiseman

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