For those of you who enjoy high school basketball, our area is fortunate enough to have one of the best high school basketball showcase events in the nation. Now in its twelfth year, the Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational will be held at Trent Arena, 3301 Shroyer Road, Kettering, Ohio 45429, during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend (January 17-20, 2014).
This event features twenty-two games consisting mainly of match-ups between Ohio high schools and national powerhouse teams. There are also several games featuring national powerhouse teams playing against each other. I have attended the event the past three years and plan on attending this year’s event in its entirety. What I love about Flyin’ to the Hoop is the opportunity to see how local high schools compete against the best teams in the country. Although some of the games may appear to be mismatches, more often than not, local teams make a strong showing and give their nationally rated opponents a run for their money.
The national powerhouses featured in this year’s event include Findlay Prep (NV) (ranked #2 in the country), Roselle Catholic (NJ) (#12), Prime Prep (TX) (#7), Sunrise Christian (#20), Miller Grove (GA) (#22), and Huntington Prep (WV) (#3). These teams are comprised of many of the best players in the nation. This year’s event features players who have committed to play college basketball at universities such as SMU, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State, Gonzaga, Arizona, Kentucky, Texas, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL), Ole Miss, and Nebraska.
The list of players who have participated in this event in the past is quite impressive. Last year’s field featured Kansas freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins, who is projected to be the top pick in this year’s NBA draft. Eighteen former Flyin’ to the Hoop participants have gone on to play in the NBA. These players include Jared Sullinger, Rudy Gay, Trey Burke, and Anthony Davis, to name a few. Every year the fans are assured of seeing one or more players who will go on to be household names in college basketball and even the pros. It is a real treat to see these players before their careers take off.
Local superstar Luke Kennard and his Franklin High School teammates will be participating in the tournament and will be playing a rematch against HCYA (TX). Last year’s match-up was one of the most entertaining games of the tournament, where Kennard went head-to-head with future North Carolina Tarheel Justin Jackson, with both players putting on an incredible display of skill and talent. Franklin H.S. went on to knock off HCYA in a thrilling high-tempo game.
The event also draws an impressive array of college coaches from all over the nation. Last year, John Calipari, Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, and Tubby Smith were seen in the stands at various points.
Tickets are reasonably priced, considering the amazing quality of basketball on display. The organizers of this event do a wonderful job and Trent Arena is a fantastic place to watch a game. For more information, check out www.flyintothehoop.com. Hope to see you there.