Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament brings top talent to Myrtle Beach
What better way to spend the holiday season than by watching some of the top high school basketball teams and players in the nation put on a show at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
For the 31st consecutive year, talented teams from all over the country will fast break it to the Grand Strand for the Dec. 27-31 Beach Ball Classic, which has been nicknamed “The Nation’s Finest Holiday Hoops Tournament” for good reason.
Past players include NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and Rudy Gay, just to name a few. Past teams that have won this tournament have gone on to capture national and state titles.
This year’s 16-team field is no different with three teams ranked in ESPN Rise’s Top 25 rankings and five from the Top 50 – No. 6 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), No. 21 Lone Peak (Utah), No. 25 St. Augustine (La.), No. 32 Whitney Young (Ill.) and No. 42 Prestonwood Christian (Texas).
Perhaps more impressive this year are the number of top-flight players. The Beach Ball field includes the No. 1-ranked senior in the nation in Shabazz Muhammad, a 6-foot-6 small forward for Bishop Gorman with scholarship offers from every major program in the nation.
The lineup also includes the No. 3-ranked junior in Prestonwood Christian’s 6-9 power forward Julius Randle, and the No. 3 sophomore Jahlil Okafor, a 6-9 center for Whitney Young. The field is filled with players whose names you will see in the NCAA and NBA in the future.
“This is the best field we’ve had in several years,” said Beach Ball Classic president John Rhodes. “Not only do we have soe of the top teams in the nation, but also some of the top talent. Fans will be very pleased with what they see on the court this year.”
The tournament features five straight days of virtual around-the-clock hoops, tipping off the Miami (Fla.) vs. Milton (Ga.) at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Ballard (Ky.) vs. Gaffney (S.C.), Lakota East (Ohio) vs. Socastee (S.C.) and Rye (N.Y.) vs Bishop Gorman.
Wednesday’s action tips off at noon with a pair of losers’ bracket games, followed by Whitney Young (Ill.) vs. Lexington (S.C.), Scott County (Ky.) vs. Prestonwood, St. Edward (Ohio) vs. St. Augustine, and Lone Peak (UT) vs. Myrtle Beach (S.C.).
The tournament culminates on New Year’s Eve with championship games in each bracket, capped by the Beach Ball championship game at 7:30 p.m. It is followed by a 3-point and slam-dunk contest that lets the stars ring in the new year by ripping the nets and rocking the rims.
Tickets to the Beach Ball Classic are $15 for reserved seats and $12 for general admission, or hard-core hoops fans can purchase an all-tournament pass for $75 that includes admission to every game. They can be purchased at the MBCC ticket window.