ESPN Tourney to MSG; PSAL to Barclays (UPDATED) | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / July 12.
  • ESPN Tourney to MSG; PSAL to Barclays (UPDATED)

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    In a major shakeup of the landscape of postseason high school tournaments, Madison Square Garden will no longer host the New York Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) championship in March but will host the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament — formerly the ESPN National High School Invitational (NHSI) — in April.

    As for the PSAL, it is now headed to Barclays Center in Brooklyn and slated for March 8.

    “The PSAL basketball championships are exciting for our students, families, and schools,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Whether in the classroom or on the basketball court, we have incredibly talented students. As a Brooklyn native and current resident, I want to thank Barclays Center for hosting this event.”

    Sources told that a revamped gym at Christ the King in Queens will host the first two rounds of the High School National Tournament April 3-4 before the boys and girls championship games take place at the Garden April 5. Games will continue to be shown on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

    “High school basketball has a long and rich tradition at Madison Square Garden as we have hosted some of the game’s legendary players including: Lew Alcindor, Bob Cousy, Nancy Leiberman-Cline, Connie Hawkins as well as NY Knicks Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony,” Joel Fisher, executive vice president of MSG Sports, said in a statement. “We are excited to host the boys and girls finals of the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, the premier high school basketball tournament in the country.”

    The event features eight boys and girls teams from states whose athletic associations allow their teams to compete in the tournament. New York State does not permit its teams to play in the ESPN event.

    Last year’s boys field included seven teams that finished at the top of the final USA Today Super 25 Poll including:No.1 Montverde (Fla.), No.2 St. Benedict’s (NJ), No.3 Findlay Prep (Nev.), No.6 Prime Prep (Texas), No.12 Ely (Fla.), No.21 La Lumiere (Ind.) and No.23 Oak Hill (Va.).

    A year ago, New Jersey native Kevin Boyle’s Montverde team beat St. Benedict’s Prep in the boys championship game at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Md.

    If St. Benedict’s is invited again this season, it will effectively be a home tournament for the Newark program that last year sent point guard Tyler Ennis to Syracuse.

    “I would think it’s as close to a homecourt for a national event as you’re going to get,” St. Benedict’s coach Mark Taylor told

    “A lot of people from the area who love New Jersey basketball and New York basketball will probably be rooting for us. I think it’s going to give us a big advantage that way.”

    The Final Four is also slated for April 5 and 7 in Arlington, TX, meaning many media members — and basketball fans — will be there instead of in New York.

    As for the PSAL, the Garden cited a scheduling conflict for not hosting the event this year. The Garden hosts the Big East Tournament March 12-15 and will also host the NCAA East Regional March 28 and 30. The Garden also hosts the NIT semifinals and finals April 1 and 3.

    Last year’s PSAL Class AA final, in which current Seton Hall pledge Isaiah Whitehead and Lincoln beat Thomas Jefferson, took place on Saturday, March 16.

    “Madison Square Garden is one of the busiest arenas in the country with more than 400 events annually, and one of our biggest challenges continues to be not having enough date availability,” read a Garden statement.  “We have a great, longstanding relationship with the PSAL, but unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, we were unable to find a date to host the event this season.”

    Now the PSAL has a new home.

    Photo: Daily News


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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