Top players and coaches talk about the UA Holiday Classic

Showcase Division Teams

Advanced Prep International (Dallas, TX)

Balboa Prep (San Diego, CA)

Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH)

Northfield Mt. Hermon (Mount Hermon (MA)

Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, FL)

St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)

Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY)


Seven teams are participating in the inaugural Showcase Division at the Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines.  With more top players moving to prep schools the tournament is changing with the times.

The teams will not play in a bracket style tournament but will play showcase games each on days two, three and four.  The games are scheduled for later in the day at Torrey Pines and the final showcase game takes place after the National Division championship game on day four.

The Showcase Division is appropriately named because not all of the teams are prep schools. 

Brewster Academy and Northfield Mt. Hermon were founded in the 1800’s while Thomas Jefferson of Brooklyn, NY was established in 1924 and has an impressive list of alumni including Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), Riddick Bowe (boxer), Shawn Dunston (MLB), Leroy Ellis (NBA) and Al Lewis (actor).


Advanced Prep International at a Glance

Location:  Dallas, TX

Established:  2015

Type:   Prep school

Head Coach:  Ray Forsett


Key Players

# 5:  6-6 SG Terrence Ferguson ’16, Alabama signee, ESPN # 10

# 15:  6-6 SF Mark Vital ’16, Baylor signee, ESPN # 65

# 1:  6-2 PG Trevon Duval ’17, ESPN # 4

# 21:  6-9 PF Billy Preston ’17, ESPN # 6

API (Advanced Prep International) is a new school that opened this year based in Dallas, TX with about 50 students.  API is accredited by the National Association of Private Schools and is a member of the Texas Christian Athletic League.

There is a concern that API is a basketball factory because the same head coach, Ray Forsett, came over from now closed Prime Prep bringing two impact players with him.  6-6 Alabama signee Terrence Ferguson ‘16 and 6-6 Baylor signee Mark Vital ’16 came over with Ray Forsett to join a loaded API team.

Prime Prep, a charter school in Dallas, TX, participated in last year’s Holiday Classic National Division but on January 30 closed after academic and financial scandals led to Texas authorities severing ties with the school co-founded by Deion Sanders.

On paper, API may be the best team to take the floor at the Olive Garden in a long time.  Two seniors, Ferguson and 6-10 Billy Preston ’16 are top ten players in their class and 6-2 junior point guard Trevon Duval ‘17 is a top ten player in the class of 2017 and is wanted by Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisville and Syracuse among others.

Billy Preston, who played for Redondo Union last year in the Holiday Classic, has Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, St. John’s, Texas and USC among others requesting his services.


Balboa City Force at a Glance

Location:  San Diego, CA

Established:  team established in 2014

Type:   K-12 prep school

Head Coach:  Zack Jones


Key Players

# 5:  6-3 PG Jaylen Hands ’17, UCLA commit, ESPN # 31

Balboa City features UCLA commit 6-2 point guard Jaylen Hands ’17 who has transferred from Mater Dei (Chula Vista, CA).

7-0 DeAndre Ayton ’17, the top player in the junior class left the Force to join the top sophomore in the nation, 6-10 power forward Marvin Bagley, III ‘18 at Hillcrest Academy in Arizona.  Marvin’s 6-5 eighth-grade brother Marcus will also play for Hillcrest.

The Force opened the season in Munich, Germany at the Oktoberfest Tournament in September.

In November Balboa City went 2-1 at the Tundra Tip-Off Classic in Anchorage, Alaska with their only loss of the season to Orangeville Prep.  The Force defeated Eagle River Christian (Eagle River, AK) in the tournament. 

Eagle River Christian was planning on playing in the National Division this year but a recent tragic vehicular accident resulted in the team cancelling all games in December.

Balboa City played in the inaugural Bill Walton Basketball Festival at Petco Park on December 2 and defeated the Australian National Team 63-59.

The Force won the McDonald’s Classic Tournament in El Paso, TX on December 14 with 6-6 Jose Serrano ’17 and 6-4 Anthony McNish ‘17 being named to the All-Tournament team.  UCLA commit Jaylen Hands ’17 was named the MVP of the tournament.

Balboa City also played in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas last weekend.


 Brewster academic building where most classes are held

Brewster academic building where most classes are held

Brewster Academy Bobcats at a Glance

Location:  Wolfeboro, NH

Established:  1820

Type:   independent, boarding school

Head Coach:  Matt Lawlor


Key Players

# 2:  6-4 SG C.J. Keyser ’16, Wichita State signee

# 10:  6-9 PF Rapolas Ivanauskas ’16, Northwestern signee

# 21:  6-5 Malik Fitts, South Florida signee

# 35:  6-9 PF Taurean Thompson ’16, ESPN # 16

# 1:  6-7 SF Alpha Diallo ’16, ESPN # 90

Brewster Academy is one of those traditional college prep schools that has become a national basketball power and has a rich history of NBA alumni.

Nine Bobcats have been drafted or played in the NBA since 2010 including Jeff Adrien (Milwaukee), Will Barton (Portland), Craig Brackins (Philadelphia), Mitch McGary (Oklahoma City), Thomas Robinson (Portland), JaKarr Sampson (Philadelphia), Xavier Silas (Philadelphia), T.J. Warren (Phoenix)

Brewster Academy is two hours north of Boston and the full boarding tuition in 2013 cost $49,900 a year.


 Northfield Mount Hermon gym

Northfield Mount Hermon gym

Northfield Mount Hermon Hoggers at a Glance

Location:  Mount Hermon, MA

Established:  1879

Type:   Independent, day & boarding school

Head Coach:  John Carroll ‘89


Key Players

# 15:  6-7 F Patrick Racy ’16, Tufts

# 25:  6-8 F A.J. Brodeur ’16, Pennsylvania  

A.J. Broduer has offers from Boston College, Boston, Bucknell, George Washington, UMass and Notre Dame among others before choosing Pennsylvania.

Another college prep school back east that does everything at a high level which would include fielding a potent basketball team.

There are NMH players on 19 different college teams currently which include the team captains for Dartmouth, Harvard and Vermont.

11 former NMH players currently play in the Ivy League, more than three times any other high school in the nation.

Remember Spike Albrecht of Michigan scoring 17 points in the 2013 NCAA title game vs. Louisville?  Another former NMH player.

Over the past 10 years NMH has sent more than 50 players to division I college programs, not to mention division I, III or NAIA.

Northfield’s winter teams include ice hockey, alpine skiing and Nordic skiing.


 The Eagles are looking to soar onto the national stage.

The Eagles are looking to soar onto the national stage.

Oldsmar Christian Eagles at a Glance

Location:  Oldsmar, FL

Established:  1980

Type:   Christian

Head Coach:  Jordan Fair


Key Players

# 1:  6-7 SF Troy Baxter ’16, South Florida signee, ESPN # 86

# 2:  6-4 PG Eric Hester ’16, Florida signee, Rivals # 87

# 13:  6-9 PF Dontay Bassett ’16, Florida signee

# 12:  6-5 SF L.J. Figueroa ’17 (offers:  South Florida, Central Florida, Virginia Tech)

You might call them the new kids on the block but the Eagles are looking to prove that they belong on the national stage.

Oldsmar Christian is striving to be a national power and the team is wearing shirts that read “Plenty to Prove”, an idea created by head coach Jordan Fair to remind the players that their talent doesn’t prove how good the team can be, you must go out and prove it on the court.

St. Frances Academy Panthers at a Glance

Location:  Baltimore, MD

Established:  1828

Type:   Roman Catholic

Head Coach:  Nick Myles


Key Players

# 4:  5-11 G Daquan Bracey ‘16

# 1:  5-10 PG Kurk Lee Jr. ‘16

# 12:  6-7 F Tairik Johnson ‘17

# 24:  6-8 C Koran Moore ‘18


St. Frances is the preseason # 1 team on The Baltimore Sun’s Top 15.

The Panthers will tour San Diego State and will visit the Zoo and Sea World during their time in San Diego.

The Panthers played in the Laney Big Shots Hoop Feast in North Carolina, the high school of Michael Jordan with the newly renovated Michal Jordan Gymnasium.

In January the Panthers will play in the Martin Luther King showcase in Philadelphia, PA and then will play in the Big Apple Classic in Manhattan.

Jefferson at the 2014 Holiday Classic

Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave at a Glance

Location:  Brooklyn, NY

Established:  1924

Type:   Public

Head Coach:  Lawrence “Bud” Pollard


Key Players

# 2:  6-1 SG Shamorie Ponds ’16, St. John’s signee, ESPN # 41

# 0:  6-1 PG Rasheen Dunn ‘16


The Orange Wave played in last year’s National Division and lost to eventual champion Fairfax in the quarterfinals 71-64.

TJ has a NBA alumni list that includes Leroy Ellis (1972 Lakers champion), Jack Garfinkel (Boston), Sidney Green, Phil Sellers and Max Zaslofsky who had NBA records that were broken by LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

St. John's signee Shamorie Ponds '16 is a big fish in a big pond.  Don't look down for your popcorn while Ponds has the ball because he will convert a field goal from all over the court.


Thomas Jefferson’s 2014 National Division Results

1st Round:  def. Torrey Pines 64-46

Quarterfinal:  lost to Fairfax (Los Angeles, CA) 71-64

Consolation:  def. Foothills Christian (El Cajon, CA) 77-47 (without T.J. Leaf ’16)

5th Place Game:  def. Prime Prep (Dallas, TX) 79-72

Tournament Director John Olive previews the 2015 UA Holiday Classic

Showcase Division Schedule

All games at Torrey Pines

Day 1, Saturday, December 26

no games

Day 2, Monday, December 28

4:20 pm Balboa City vs. Oldsmar Christian

7:20 pm St. Frances vs. Thomas Jefferson

9:05 pm Brewster vs. Advanced Prep

Day 3, Tuesday, December 29

2:45 pm Balboa City vs. Brewster

5:55 pm Advanced Prep vs. Northfield Mt. Hermon

9:05 pm Thomas Jefferson vs. Oldsmar Christian

Day 4, Wednesday, December 30

2:15 pm Balboa City vs. St. Frances

5:25 pm Thomas Jefferson vs. Advanced Prep

8:35 pm Oldsmar Christian vs. Northfield Mount Hermon

Players Returning to the Holiday Classic

Terrence Ferguson '16 at the 2014 Holiday Classic

Mark Vital '16 at the 2014 Holiday Classic

Shamorie Ponds '16 at the 2014 Holiday Classic

AuthorKevin Bear