Myrtle Beach may be best known for the multi-colored inflatable beach balls you see bouncing in the air and blowing in the breeze on our white-sand beaches. But for thousands of basketball fans who attend the event every year, the Beach Ball Classic represents the finest holiday high school hoops tournament in the nation.
Since 1981, the Beach Ball Classic has been bringing the top-ranked teams and most talented players in the country to compete in a six-day showcase by the sea. The 35th annual installment is no different, and may be one of the best and brightest fields to appear in the Dec. 26-31 event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
The 16 participating teams have been announced for the 2015 Beach Ball Classic, which includes several nationally ranked teams and top-rated recruits. College scouts and high school hoops fans will flock to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to get a look at the next crop of talent, and to root for their respective teams.
This year’s event “will leave fans on the edge of their seats,” said Beach Ball Classic Executive Director John Rhodes, who also happens to be the third-term Mayor of Myrtle Beach and a Beach Ball c-founder. “With 16 of the nation’s top teams contending, there’s sure to be a lot of excitement. It couldn’t get much better than this.”
This year's field is highlighted by defending national champion Montverde Academy (FL), No. 2 nationally ranked Mustang High (OK), defending state champion Poca High (WV), Maryland's No. 1-ranked team St. John's College Prep, and Mater Dei (CA), Max Prep’s 2013-2014 national champions and winner of four consecutive state titles. They will take on other championship-caliber teams like Archbishop Moller (OH), East Jackson High (GA), and Shadow Mountain (AZ). Local squads like Myrtle Beach, St. James, Socastee, and Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach also will compete.
Among the highly recruited stars coming to town to put on a show are Mustang's Austin Meyer, Bartow High (FL) center Tony Bradley, St. Edwards (OH) No. 10 nationally ranked player Derek Funderburk, Seton Hall Prep (NJ) No. 17 ranked player T.J. Gibbs, St. Francis High (GA) All-American Kobi Jordan-Simmons and Mullins High (SC) locals' favorite and No. 3 nationally ranked junior Jalek Felton, who has committed to North Carolina.
This year's Beach Ball promises to continue the proud tradition that has made it one of the top tournaments in the US. More than 1 million fans have packed the stands at Lambo Arena to see the likes of future NBA and college stars like Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Ramon Sessions and Raymond Felton. See the stars of tomorrow before they hit the big time and witness some of the best high school basketball you will ever see under one roof.
The Beach Ball Classic tips off Dec. 26, hosts the fan-favorite Slam Dunk and 3-Point Shooting Contest on Dec. 28, and the championship and consolation games will culminate on New Year's Eve. If your vacation plans allow you to attend, you can also catch the same high level of girls high school basketball and women's college hoops at the Dec. 17-22 CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational and the Carolinas Challenge, also at the Convention Center. Nationally ranked teams from the University of North Carolina and South Carolina will play games at the venue.
Special VIP ticket packages are available that allow guests to enjoy premium seating, daily meals and full access to the week-long tournament. To purchase tickets or to find more information about Myrtle Beach’s Beach Ball Classic or any of the tournaments, visit www.beachballclassic.com.