The National High School Invitational has always been one of our favorite prep events to cover here at SLAM, pitting some of the top prep teams from around the country with the national title on the line. It is the closest thing that high school ball has to a legitimate national tournament. Therefore, it is only fitting that the tourney will now be played at the grandest basketball stage of them all, Madison Square Garden. After five years in Maryland, it was announced today that the event will move to MSG for 2014. More from USA Today:
The National High School Invitational, which has included some of the top boys and girls high school basketball teams, is moving after five years in Maryland to New York City’s Madison Square Garden and has been renamed the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament.
The season-ending event, televised by ESPN’s networks since it began in 2009, will be held April 3-5. It will include eight boys teams and four girls teams and will be seeded with an eye toward USA TODAY’s Super 25 rankings, said the event’s organizer, Rashid Ghazi of Paragon Marketing. The teams will be named in March.
“We are very thrilled to host the boys and girls finals of the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament,” said Joel Fisher, the executive vice president of sports for Madison Square Garden. “Every basketball player dreams of playing in the Garden and we’re really happy to provide that opportunity with these kids.”
Though the Garden is more associated with pro and college sports, it has held its share of high school basketball events, including New York City’s Public School Athletic League championships for many years (though not scheduled in 2014), the Jordan Brand Classic from 2007 to 2010 and the McDonald’s All America Games in 2002.
“We’ve hosted some of the most legendary players in the world when they were in high school,” Fisher said. “Including Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Bob Cousy, Nancy Lieberman-Cline, Connie Hawkins, as well as current New York Knicks Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. This opportunity gives these kids a chance to play here with memories they’ll never forget.”