This year’s field is stronger than any in recent memory, with three teams ranked in the top 25 nationally and five teams in the top 50 and several players rated at the top of their class, making for a true hoops showcase at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
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.
The tournament tips off Tuesday and 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.