Post-Christmas Prep Tournaments take Center Stage

Over the next seven to ten days we’ll write two articles, the first on the Holiday Invitational tournaments at Needham Broughton High in Raleigh (NC), and the other on the Beach Ball Classic at the Civic and Convention Center in Myrtle Beach (SC).

Both events have existed for over 35 years and annually showcase some of the nation’s premier high school prospects, often including top recruiting targets of ACC schools.

Note that over the course of four days immediately after Christmas, it’s possible to see 40 different high school teams in action at these two outstanding, well-run tournaments. This year the 16-team Holiday Invitational, which begins December 26 and is now sponsored by, features (among many others) nationally touted prospects such as 6-10 High Point (NC) Wesleyan Christian junior BF Harry Giles (whom we rank number one in the class of 2016), 7-0 Kitchener (Ontario, CAN) Athlete Institute junior C/BF Thon Maker (top five in 2016), 6-3 Fayetteville (NC) Trinity Christian junior PG/WG Dennis “Junior” Smith (top ten in 2016), 6-3 Athlete Institute junior PG Jamal Murray (top 25 in 2016), 6-2 Wesleyan Christian junior WG/PG Kwe Parker (top 50 in 2016), 6-4 Broughton senior WG/PG Jerome Robinson (a Boston College November signee and top 125 in 2015), and 6-9 Athlete Institute sophomore BF Matur Maker, Thon’s brother.

Giles has recovered fully from torn knee ligaments, which prevented him from playing last season. Sought avidly by Duke (where he had his surgery), North Carolina (where good friend and former teammate Theo Pinson is a freshman), Kentucky, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Louisville and many others, Harry is a superior run/jump athlete with excellent skills and loads of intangibles. He impressed us last summer as a potential future superstar and possible number one NBA draft choice as early as 2017!

Thon Maker is an African import who played last season for Martinsville (VA) Carlisle School but (along with his younger brother, who’s also a blue-chip prospect) elected this fall to transfer to a school in Canada. This lanky athlete is extremely mobile, handles the ball like a much smaller player, and already possesses a reliable three-point stroke. Among the schools hot on his trail are Georgetown, Virginia, Kansas and Duke.

Smith is arguably the best point guard prospect in the class of 2016. A scoring-oriented driver/finisher who also is a dangerous albeit streaky perimeter marksman, he has room to continue improving his playmaking. Regardless, he’s being courted assiduously by UNC, Duke, N.C. State, Kansas, Kentucky, Wake Forest and many others. Parker, Smith’s former teammate at Trinity Christian, is an exciting leaper/dunker who also is receiving attention from ACC schools. Host Broughton’s best player is fast-improving Robinson, a Boston College recruit who has posted big numbers in some recent games.

We’ll have more on the Holiday Invitational in our next article, so stay tuned.