The Slam Dunk to the Beach national tournament will make its grand return in December of 2014 when 15 of the top boys basketball teams from around the country converge at Cape Henlopen HS in Lewes, Delaware. The showcase, whose return was announced yesterday and which previously ran from 1990 to 2003 and saw the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, will feature highly-profiled recruits such as Isaiah Briscoe, Tyus Battle, and V.J. King. More from The News Journal:
A couple of years from now, when the NBA Draft comes on television, Delaware basketball fans should be able to say, “Hey, I saw that guy.”
Slam Dunk to the Beach organizers announced nine of the out-of-state teams committed to the new event on Wednesday, and the list is dotted with names that are expected to become national figures in the future. The popular boys high school basketball tournament will resume Dec. 27-29 at Cape Henlopen High in Lewes.
“Our ultimate goal is to have quality games,” said Matthew Robinson, chairman of both the Delaware Sports Commission and the Slam Dunk. “We want every game to be an exciting game, no team getting beat by 30 or anything like that. It’s going to be good hoops, the best going against the best.”
Salesianum, St. Georges, Sanford, Caesar Rodney and Cape Henlopen had already been announced as Delaware’s participants. The additions are Christ the King (N.Y.), Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.), Gonzaga College High (D.C.), Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore), Our Savior New American (N.Y.), Roselle Catholic (N.J.), St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio), Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) and Sunrise Christian (Kan). One more team will be announced later.
Every out-of-state team has at least one player who has received multiple Division I scholarship offers. Four of the teams finished last season ranked among the nation’s top 30. This year’s Slam Dunk will feature five players ranked among the nation’s top 100 seniors, and three ranked among the top 50 juniors.
Among the brightest stars are Tyus Battle, a 6-foot-6 junior from Gill St. Bernard’s who is ranked the No. 1 shooting guard in the Class of 2016; Isaiah Briscoe, a 6-1 senior from Roselle Catholic who last week was selected to play on the USA Men’s under-18 national team; and V.J. King, a 6-5 junior from St. Vincent-St. Mary who is ranked No. 6 overall in the Class of 2016.
The last time St. Vincent-St. Mary came to Lewes, the Fighting Irish were led by a guy named LeBron James. He was one of many future NBA stars – including Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony – who played at Cape Henlopen during Slam Dunk’s initial run from 1990-2003. But tournament founder Robert F. “Bobby” Jacobs abruptly canceled the event in November 2004, citing health issues. In the weeks that followed, vendors and businesses came forward to say they had not been paid by Jacobs for the 2003 event.
In January 2008 Jacobs was sentenced to two years in prison, with one year suspended, and was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution after pleading no contest to one felony count of misappropriation of property for taking thousands of dollars from the tournament fund.
The new event was founded by the Delaware Sports Commission, a group of sports and business leaders formed in 2008 to increase economic impact in Delaware through sporting events.
“It’s been a general excitement that people want to see the event come back,” Robinson said. “A lot of parties have put their faith in us to do it the right way, and we take that seriously. We want to live up to those expectations, and we want it to be done in a first-class way.”
Robinson said the new Slam Dunk to the Beach will have a different format, with no brackets. The schedule will be predetermined, and will be announced later this summer. DSC is focused on guaranteeing the best matchups, not crowning a tournament champion.