The 2018 ‘Iolani Classic tips off Tuesday for the boys with three of the top seven teams in the nation in the 16-team field according to the USA Today Preseason Top 25 rankings.
Defending GEICO national champion Montverde (Fla.) returns to defend their tournament tile won last year. They were led by R.J. Barrett, who is now one of the top college basketball players in the country as a freshman at Duke.
The Eagles lost the majority of their team to graduation from last season but have reloaded with three of the top 43 seniors in the country and two of the top 20 juniors according to the ESPN 300 recruiting rankings.
Montverde’s front line is a ridiculous collection of talent with 7-foot center Balsa Koprivica, a Florida State commit, the team’s best returning player. He will be flanked by 6-foot-9 power forward Omar Payne, a Florida commit ranked No. 36 in the class of 2019, and 6-foot-8 Precious Achiuwa, the 11th-best senior in the nation, who remains uncommitted.
Montverde also has two highly-rated juniors in 6-foot-6 Cade Cunningham, ranked No. 11 in the class of 2020, and 6-foot-6 Moses Moody, ranked No. 19.
The two toughest challenges for the Eagles in the tournament should be La Lumiere (Ind.), ranked No. 6 by USA Today, and No. 7 Sierra Canyon (Calif.).
La Lumiere returns only two starters but boasts the top-rated player in the tournament in 6-foot-9 forward Isaiah Stewart, the fifth overall prospect in the senior class, who has visited Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse and Washington.
Keion Brooks, a 6-foot-8 forward, is ranked No. 34 overall in the ESPN300.
Sierra Canyon is led by 6-foot-5 senior Cassius Stanley, No. 26 in the ESPN 300, and 6-foot-7 junior Terren Frank, ranked No. 31 in the class of 2020.
The roster also includes Scotty Pippen, the son of former Chicago Bulls All-Star Scottie Pippen, and Kenyon Martin Jr., the son of NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin, the former No. 1 pick out of Cincinnati who played for five different NBA teams.
Montverde is one of two teams in the tournament from Florida. Oak Ridge features 6-foot-8 CJ Walker, an Oregon commit ranked No. 20 in the ESPN 300.
Other mainland teams competing are West Linn (Ore.), Westchester (Calif.) and Pleasant Grove (Utah).
The schedule for the first two days is below with the championship set for Saturday.
TUESDAY, DEC. 18
>> ‘Iolani vs. Farrington, 3:30 p.m.
>> Roosevelt vs. West Linn (Ore.), 5 p.m.
>> Campbell vs. Montverde (Fla.), 6:30 p.m.
>> St. Francis vs. La Lumiere (Ind.), 8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 19
>> Mid-Pacific vs. Westchester (Calif.), 3:30 p.m.
>> Moanalua vs. Pleasant Grove (Utah), 5 p.m.
>> Hawaii Prep vs. Sierra Canyon (Calif.), 6:30 p.m.
>> Kailua vs. Oak Ridge (Fla.), 8 p.m.