Day 1 Schedule At Torrey Pines
11:35 am Gahr vs. Oak Park (American Division)
1:10 pm Centennial vs. Diamond Ranch
2:45 pm Torrey Pines vs. San Leandro
4:20 pm Army-Navy vs. Pebblebrook
5:55 pm Fairfax vs. Issaquah
7:30 pm St. Augustine vs. Bellevue
9:05 pm Foothills Christian vs. Bishop O’Dowd
Day 1 Schedule at La Jolla Country Day
7:30 pm El Cerrito vs. Compton
9:05 pm Archbishop Mitty vs. Thomas Jefferson
The 26th annual Under Armour Holiday Classic begins a new chapter this year with a Showcase Division so the National Division no longer has all of the top teams in the tournament but the National Division bracket is not much of a step down.
Plus, the National Division is where the hardware is won.
Defending champion Fairfax (Los Angeles, CA) returns this year as well as some other familiar teams like O’Dowd (Oakland, CA), Centennial (Corona, CA) and Compton (CA).
With the new Showcase Division games being played at Torrey Pines on days two, three and four several National Division loser bracket games will be moved to other sites.
Six of the top ten teams in San Diego are playing in the Holiday Classic and four will be in the National Division, host # 5 Torrey Pines, # 1 Foothills Christian (El Cajon, CA), # 3 St. Augustine (San Diego, CA) and # 6 Army-Navy (Carlsbad, CA).
On initial inspection of the bracket it seems that it is top loaded with big names crowding the top bracket like Centennial, Mitty (San Jose, CA), O’Dowd and Foothills Christian.
But just like it is difficult to seed teams until the teams take the floor and play games it is difficult to know if Fairfax, Compton, Pebblebrook (Mableton, GA) and others in the “southern” bracket got a break.
Best game in the first round?
Army-Navy vs. Pebblebrook at 4:20 pm could be a dandy but St. Augustine vs. Bellevue (WA) will be great coaching matchup.
Best game of the tournament?
On day four Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY) is playing API (Dallas, TX) at 5:25 pm in a Showcase Division game just before the 7:00 pm National Division championship.
And before the TJ-API game is the American Division championship, not a bad tripleheader if you only have time for three games that day. For the night cap Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, FL) plays Northfield Mount Hermon (Mount Hermon, MA) to close out the tournament at 8:35 pm.
Eagle River Christian (Eagle River, AK) had to withdraw from the tournament because of a tragic vehicular accident recently so Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, CA) will play Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY) in a Showcase Division game and advance to the quarterfinals.
Different teams will be selected for the loser bracket games to replace Eagle River Christian which means two games in one day for those teams. Kearny has already stepped up to play the loser of the Centennial/Diamond Ranch first round game.
Balboa City (San Diego, CA) defeated Eagle River Christian in the Tundra Tip-Off Classic in Anchorage, AK on November 13.
Archbishop Mitty Monarchs (San Jose, CA)
The Monarchs return to the Holiday Classic for the first time since 2011 when they took fifth place. Mitty lost to Windward (Los Angeles, CA) 73-71 in a heartbreaking quarterfinal overtime loss. Then sophomore Aaron Gordon ’13 (Orlando Magic) was named to the All-Tournament team.
On December 12 Mitty defeated Cathedral (San Diego, CA) 66-59 in the Jesuit Tournament (Sacramento).
The Roman Catholic school is led by 6-9 center and Oregon State signee Ben Kone ’16.
Mitty won its 20th state title in all sports this year, the 2015 girls volleyball division II title, only Long Beach Poly has more state titles (36) in California. The girls volleyball team has won 12 of those state titles and their fourth consecutive state title, both are state records.
Army-Navy Warriors (Carlsbad, CA)
The military all-boys day & boarding school has offered an international flair on their hoop team in recent years and this year 6-7 Aziz Seck ’16 is the leader who hails from Senegal. Seck has signed with Northern Arizona.
The Warriors also feature 6-8 junior Richard Polanco ’17 who is from the Dominican Republic. Polanco has offers from Nevada, New Mexico State, USC and USD.
Army-Navy is again a top 10 preseason team in San Diego and plays in one of the top leagues in the county. The Coastal League consists of # 1 Foothills Christian, Mayor’s Division host La Jolla Country Day, Francis Parker and Bishop’s.
Bellevue Wolverines (WA)
The Wolverines are a preseason Seattle Times top 10 team that returns most of the team that reached the state tournament last year.
6-2 guard Sharif Khan ’16 drives the ship and is considered a top 10 player in the Seattle area.
Bellevue hopes to return to the National Division ship after winning the title in 2008.
Last year Bellevue placed 13th in the top bracket.
The Wolverine athletic program is similar to Torrey Pines in that all of the teams are competitive. Football has come down to the Honor Bowl at Oceanside and boys water polo has come down to San Diego to play in a tournament multiple years.
Bishop O’Dowd Dragons (Oakland, CA)
The Dragons are the defending CIF-State Open Division champion but Ivan Rabb ’15 (Cal) and Paris Austin ’15 (Boise State) have graduated.
Coach Lou Richie, in his 4th year at his alma mater, will have to use some smoke and mirrors to keep pace with last year but the future looks bright with 6-9 freshman Raymond Hawkins ’19.
In past years O’Dowd has been a regular visitor to the Olive Garden and the black and gold clad squad will be a tough out if past results are any indication.
Centennial Huskies (Corona, CA)
Nationally ranked Centennial is hoping to make the third year the charm as they enter their third National Division bracket in as many years. Last year the Corona public school placed fourth and in 2013 they lost to Loyola (Los Angeles, CA) in the title game 78-57.
This year the Huskies bring some big dogs to the dance.
6-8 power forward Ike Anigbogu ’16 will be a UCLA Bruin next year, 6-3 shooting forward Jordan Griffin ’16 will play at Long Beach State while junior 6-10 center Jalen Hill ’17 has committed to UCLA.
Compton Tarbabes (CA)
The Tarbabes will look to 6-5 senior forward Raysean Scott ‘16 and 6-6 senior forward Javonntie Jackson ’16 for leadership on a Compton team has made frequent trips to the National Division bracket.
6-3 senior Chris Barnes ‘16 transfers in from Millikan (Long Beach, CA) and will play the point for the first time.
Compton won the CIF-Southern Section 2AA title last year, which is a tougher title than some big school state titles around the country.
Compton lost to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) 63-50 in the Corona del Mar Beach Bash on December 12.
Diamond Ranch Panthers (Pomona, CA)
Second year coach Eric Cooper has brought Lutheran (La Verne, CA) to the Holiday Classic in the past and now is trying to establish the Panthers of Pomona as a top tier program.
The Panthers feature 7-0 senior center Roman Silva ’16 who transferred from Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) when coach Cooper joined the program last year. 6-1 senior point guard Tyler Mclean ‘16 also transferred in last year but came from Servite (Anaheim, CA).
6-3 junior shooting guard Eric Wright ’17 transferred in from Eitwanda this year and 6-3 senior guard Ryan Haywood transfers in from Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA).
Diamond Ranch lost to St. Augustine (San Diego, CA) 58-47 in the Rose City Classic at Maranatha (Pasadena, CA) on December 2 and also lost to Balboa City (San Diego, CA) 66-57 in the McDonald’s Classic championship game in El Paso TX on December 12.
Silva and Haywood were named to the McDonald’s Classic All-Tournament team.
El Cerrito Gauchos (CA)
The Gauchos were another victim of the large vacuum that is the Findlay Prep program in Henderson, NV.
6-4 senior wing Carlos Johnson ‘16 who is headed to UNLV announced over the summer that he would be yet another California player to take his prep services to the Nevada prep power.
Although Findlay Prep will be Johnson’s third team in as many years.
Co-captains 6-7 senior Aaron Banks ’16 and 6-5 senior Sayeed Pridgett ’16 will lead the Gauchos against Compton in the National Division first round game at La Jolla Country Day.
El Cerrito has had a tough early schedule with losses to Sheldon (Sacramento, CA), St. Francis (Mountain View, CA), Capital Christian (Sacramento, CA) twice and Newark Memorial (Newark, CA) so don’t let the mediocre record fool you.
And then the Gauchos have a date with Jesuit (Carmichael, CA) on January 9 in the Father Kelly Showcase.
Fairfax Lions (Los Angeles, CA)
The Nationally ranked Fairfax Lions are looking to defend their National Division title from last year.
6-3 Loyola Marymount signee Donald Gipson ’16 has questions coming into this year because he is returning from a partially torn ACL from last spring.
The Lions lost to nationally ranked La Lumiere (La Porte, IN) in the semifinals of the Iolani Classic (Hawaii) 29-20 last week. Hawaii does not have a shot clock and both teams played a chess game of slow down basketball, sometimes dribbling the ball in one place for minutes at a time without the defense challenging the ball.
Foothills Christian Knights (El Cajon, CA)
The Knights have the best player to come out of San Diego since Chase Budinger ’06 but it would be a grave mistake to count the Knights as a one-man team.
Sure, 6-10 T.J. Leaf ’16 will be donning a McDonald’s All-American jersey next spring and Leaf can carry Foothills on his back for games at a time but the purple clad Christian school has multiple sharp shooters and other front court players who can make you regret your thought process.
6-4 Luis Salgado ’16 and 5-11 Nikko Paranada ’16 more than fill their roles and can tickle the twine from all over.
6-4 Omajae Smith ’16 is explosive while 6-7 wing Jordan Starr ’18 is in fact, yes, a star in the making.
Issaquah Eagles (WA)
Issaquah, a public school east of Seattle placed fourth in last years Class 4A state tournament.
This year the local Emerald City talk is that the Eagles will be down resulting in a chip being placed on the shoulders of the Issaquah squad.
6-3 junior guard Trevon Ary-Turner ‘17, a top 10 Seattle Times player and 6-1 senior guard Scott Kellum ’16 will be the ones to lead Issaquah.
The Eagles will want to bring back a few wins from San Diego to show Seattle that Issaquah is a team to take seriously.
Nobody thought Bellevue would do much in the 2008 Holiday Classic before winning the National Division title, is Issaquah next?
Pebblebrook Falcons (Mableton, CA)
The Mableton, GA public school was the state runner-up in Class 6A last year losing in heartbreaking fashion so the Falcons are focused on returning to the mountain top again this year.
The Falcons lost four collegiate players to graduation but their back court is one of the best in Georgia led by 5-10 point guard Jared Harper ’16 who will play at Auburn next year.
Two transfer players, 6-2 junior combo guard Collin Sexton ’17 and 6-4 wing J.J. Smith ’17 will both help fill the void of the four graduating players, three of whom are now playing at Clemson, Georgia and South Alabama.
San Leandro Pirates (CA)
The Pirates will be the only National Division team playing a road game in the first round because they got Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA) at the Olive Garden to open the tournament
The gym won’t be rocking like a La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA) - Torrey Pines game but the fan base will likely have a decided Falcon flavor.
St. Augustine Saints (San Diego, CA)
The Saints are lead by 6-2 floor general Eric Monroe ’16 who is headed to Yale next year to play in the Ivy League.
Fellow 6-5 senior Martin Tombe ’16 gives the all-boys Catholic school much needed size but the top recruit is 6-7 sophomore Taeshon Cherry ’18 who has many colleges looking his way.
6-1 Otto Tayler ’17 is a nice compliment to Monroe.
Two factors that always make St. Augustine a tough out is 2013 state coach of the year Mike Haupt and The Pit.
Problem is that The Pit doesn’t always show up for games when school is not in session. Will The Pit be present at the Olive Garden in any significant and game changing numbers?
Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA)
Host Torrey Pines has one of the best coaches on the west coast but even John Olive would admit that the Falcons chances in the National Division are long at best.
6-4 Jackson Strong ’16 can play string music from the perimeter and battle inside the paint when needed.
6-3 Jack Heller ’16 is a player the Falcons will need to step up while 6-9 Jacob Gilliam ’17 is a work in progress but with Olive at the helm that progress should be progressive.
Many Falcons are long time spectators of the National Division from their early childhood years so they take the chance to play in the top bracket seriously and will likely leave everything on the floor.
All Teams in the Under Armour Holiday Classic
Teams from Out of State
Advance Preparatory Institute (Dallas, TX)
Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH)
Curtis (Washington, WA)
Douglas (Minden, NV)
Gig Harbor (WA)
Highland (Gilbert, AZ)
John Cooper (The Woodlands, TX)
Lake Washington (Kirkland, WA)
Mount Si (Snoqualmie, WA)
O’Connor (Phoenix, AZ)
Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, FL)
Pebble Brook (Mableton, CA)
Roosevelt (Seattle WA)
Spanish Springs (Sparks, NV)
St. Francis Academy (Baltimore, MD)
Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY)
College Park (The Woodlands, TX)
Teams from Out of Section
Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, CA)
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, CA)
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, CA)
Brentwood (Los Angeles, CA)
Centennial (Corona, CA)
Diamond Ranch (Pomona, CA)
El Cerrito (CA)
Fairfax (Los Angeles, CA)
Gahr (Cerritos, CA)
Great Oak (Temecula, CA)
Heritage Christian (Northridge, CA)
Laguna Beach (CA)
Lone Pine (CA)
Long Beach Jordan (Long Beach, CA)
Los Alamitos (CA)
Mayfair (Lakewood, CA)
Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, CA)
Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Oak Park (CA)
Oakland Tech (Oakland, CA)
Palm Springs (CA)
Providence (Burbank, CA)
Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA)
Riverside Poly (Riverside, CA)
Roosevelt (Corona, CA)
San Bernardino (CA)
San Leandro (CA)
San Luis Obispo (CA)
Sonora (La Habra, CA)
South Gate (CA)
St. Genevieve (Panorama City, CA)
St. Monica Catholic (Santa Monica, CA)
Temecula Valley (Temecula, CA)
CIF-San Diego Section Teams
Army-Navy (Carlsbad, CA)
Balboa City (San Diego, CA)
Bishop’s (La Jolla, CA)
Canyon Crest (San Diego, CA)
Foothills Christian (El Cajon, CA)
Francis Parker (San Diego, CA)
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA)
La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla, CA)
Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista, CA)
Mission Hills (San Marcos, CA)
Morse (San Diego, CA)
San Dieguito Academy (Encinitas, CA)
San Marcos (CA)
Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach, CA)
St. Augustine (San Diego, CA)
Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA)