New Jersey Hoops Notebook: St. Benedict's Hoping for Dicks's Sporting Goods Invite, St. Pat's to Play in City Of Palms | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / August 17.
  • New Jersey Hoops Notebook: St. Benedict’s Hoping for Dicks’s Sporting Goods Invite, St. Pat’s to Play in City Of Palms

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    St. BensSt. Benedict’s Prep has played in the ESPN national high school basketball tournament virtually every years since its inception.

    And this year the Gray Bees are once again hoping for an invite to the event, now known as the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, which runs in New York April 2-4.

    Traditionally, national powers like Montverde (FL) Academy, Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep and Oak Hill (VA) Academy are among those playing in the event.

    “I tell my guys, we gotta control what we control and what we gotta do is win out,” St. Ben’s coach Mark Taylor told “After the Montverde [loss], I told the guys, ‘We gotta win our state championship,’ which they did, and they did it convincingly, and from they’re we just gotta win out. And then we have to wait around and see what happens. It’s something the committee will sit down and vote on and hopefully we’re one of the teams they consider.”

    St. Ben’s is now 23-5 after routing Blair Academy 72-52 on Saturday to pick up their third New Jersey State Prep A title in four years.

    The Gray Bees feature uncommitted senior guard Eli Cain as well as sophomore guards Trevon Duval and Nate Pierre-Louis. They will face off against 2016 star Tyus Battle and Gill St. Bernard’s on Wednesday at Gill before heading to Ontario, Canada this weekend for the Bill Crothers Invitational Showcase. That event will mark a homecoming for the several Canadians on the St. Ben’s roster — Marcus Ottey, Tyrell Gumbs-Fraser, Daniel Cummings, Kevin Hamlet and Kamar McKnight.


    As reported last week by The Star-Ledger, St. Patrick will play in the City of Palms event in December 2015 and could face off against former St. Pat’s coach Kevin Boyle and Montverde.

    The tournament will mark St. Pat’s first national event since five players were suspended this past December at the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego, an incident that caused the school to be banned from the upcoming New Jersey State tournament.

    “The Patrick School boys basketball program is honored to receive an invitation to the City of Palms 2015 basketball tournament and has accepted,” head coach Chris Chavannes said in a statement. “We are very thankful for being invited to such a prestigious Nike-sponsored event. All Nike events are always first-class experiences for the student-athletes, as was clear at the games during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

    “Our goal is to bring the program back to the status that Mr. Boyle had it at, as one of the top programs in the nation, and we feel we are close to accomplishing that. The City of Palms is the most prestigious and competitive tournament in the country, and playing in an event such as this will help the program return to national prominence. The fact that Montverde is also in the City of Palms adds further proof that it is the preeminent holiday tournament in America. Mr. Boyle has quickly built Montverde into the top program in the country. The Patrick School and Montverde will be on opposite sides of the bracket, and we will be focused on the teams in our bracket, taking it one game at a time. If we eventually play Montverde, it would be an honor and an opportunity to test ourselves against the top program in America.”

    The tournament also includes Wesleyan Christan (N.C.), Chaminade (Mo.), Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.) Wheeler (Ga.) and Tampa Prep (Fla.) among others.

    Photo: St. Ben’s


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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.