Wall-to-Wall Basketball With Elite Matchups is the Highlight of Slam Dunk to the Beach’s Return
There are many reasons to be excited about the upcoming return of the Slam Dunk to the Beach. The opportunity to provide a stage for student athletes, the chance to give an economic boost to Sussex County during the holiday season and the addition of a premiere event to the Delaware sports calendar are all high on the list of reasons to be enthused. Still, the top spot on that aforementioned list is easy to identify. It’s the basketball that will be played at Cape Henlopen High School December 27-29. There will be plenty of it, with 18 games, chock full of elite talent, representing powerhouse programs from seven different states, as well as the District of Columbia.
Perhaps Salesianum School head coach Brendan Haley, who will bring his reigning Delaware state champion Sals to Lewes next month, summed it up best.
“[Slam Dunk to the Beach] is a basketball junkie’s delight for those three days,” Haley said. “It’s nothing but great basketball all day long. I can’t wait.”
So what will that great basketball look like exactly?
The schedule will break down into sessions, with each day featuring a pair of three-game blocks. Every afternoon session will start at 12 noon, while the evening sessions get underway at 6 p.m. Between contests there will be a 30-minute break for the next set of teams to warm up, but that’s it. The rest of the day will feature wall-to-wall basketball.
If that’s not enough to stoke your fire, keep in mind we’re not talking about ho-hum games here. There will be scores of top-tier prospects making their way to the First State, which leads to plenty of matchups that absolutely leap off the paper.
The event opens on Saturday, December 27 at 12 noon as Caesar Rodney (DE) takes on Lake Clifton (MD). That is followed by a showdown between Christ the King (NY) and Gonzaga College (DC). Christ the King features highly heralded small forward Rawle Alkins. ESPN’s 35th ranked player in the class of 2016 has already received scholarship offers from heavyweight programs like Louisville, Florida and Villanova. He will be challenged by a Gonzaga College Prep team that features at least three future Division One players, including Wake Forest commit Bryant Crawford. The opening session will conclude with an intra-state battle between the event’s host, Cape Henlopen (DE), and defending state runner-up St. Georges (DE).
The night session also features three intriguing games. The backcourts will headline Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) encounter with Ss. Neumann Goretti (PA), as top-ranked guards Tyus Battle (4th) and LaMarr Kimble (30th) take center stage. That will be followed by Mt. St. Joseph (MD) versus Sunrise Christian Academy (KS) and then a First-State fight between Sanford and Salesianum, who have combined to capture four of the last five Delaware State Titles.
Day two kicks off with St. Georges defending Delaware’s home turf against Baltimore powerhouse Mt. St. Joseph. Then comes the game of the day, as The Haverford School (PA) squares off with Roselle Catholic (NJ). That clash will feature five top-100 players in the classes of 2015 and 2016, including RC’s Isaiah Briscoe, who is ESPN’s top-ranked senior point guard in the country. Briscoe recently announced that he will be heading to Lexington to play for Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. The day session concludes with another opportunity for a Delaware program to do the hometown fans proud, as Sanford challenges Ss. Neumann-Goretti.
Later that evening, the night session will be highlighted by a pair of prospect-laden showdowns. Sunrise Christian Academy (KS), which features Wichita State commit Eric Hamilton and top-30 point guard Roosevelt Smart takes on Alkins’ Christ The King (NY) squad. After Sallies faces LeBron James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH), Gonzaga College High School (DC) will battle Gill St. Bernard’s School (NJ) in another matchup of potent backcourts that pits Crawford versus Battle.
As always, the best is saved for last, as Day three will feature a local power trying to knock off a national one when Sanford takes on Christ The King (NY) in the first game of the day. Then a matchup of six top-100 players from the classes of 2015 and 2016 takes center stage when The Haverford School (PA) faces Our Savior New American School (NY). Cheick Diallo, who has fielded offers from Connecticut, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville Syracuse and Villanova among others, headlines an OSNAS squad that finished last season ranked ninth in the nation by USA Today. The Haverford School will counter with Temple commit Levan Alston and top-10 small forward from the class of 2016 Lamar Stevens. Caesar Rodney (DE), who opens the tournament, will close out the final day session against Sallies.
The last evening session tips off with a clash of Roselle Catholic (NJ) and Gonzaga College (DC), which will also feature six top-100 players from the classes of 2015 and 2016. St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH) against Sunrise Christian Academy follows, and then the tournament concludes with Cape Henlopen hoping the home crowd can carry them past a Mt. St. Joseph team that is the defending Baltimore Catholic League champs.
Not bad, huh?
If that slate fails to get you stoked for basketball then we are out of ideas. The only thing left to be said at this point, is get your tickets now. The first 100 fans that purchase three-day tournament passes by December 8 and enter the promo code “Slam Dunk” will receive a free Slam Dunk to the Beach t-shirt. Visit SlamDunktotheBeach.com for more info.