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John Wall Holiday Invitational basketball tourney returns, draws top teams, recruits

·4 min read

For the first time in 49 years, there was no John Wall Holiday Invitational in Raleigh last year. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the tournament.

But organizers are back this year with a 28-team field. A field of girls teams will be announced later. The tournament will begin Dec. 23 at Word of God Academy and then continue Dec. 27-30 at Wake Tech’s North Campus. The event, which began in 1972, had recently been held mainly at Broughton High School.

Over the years, more than 100 NBA players, including several lottery picks -- including Wall -- have played in the event. Wall took over naming rights for the event in 2016.

John Wall, center, walks on the court before the start of the game. The Durham Academy Cavaliers played the Montverde Academy Eagles in a boys basketball game that was part of the John Wall Holiday Invitational on December 27, 2019.
John Wall, center, walks on the court before the start of the game. The Durham Academy Cavaliers played the Montverde Academy Eagles in a boys basketball game that was part of the John Wall Holiday Invitational on December 27, 2019.

This year’s field includes teams from six states and N.C. powerhouses like Lincolnton’s Combine Academy, ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps, The Burlington School, Word of God, Moravian Prep, Farmville Central, North Mecklenburg and Chambers High School.

Chambers is ranked No. 1 in the Charlotte Observer’s preseason Sweet 16 poll. North Mecklenburg is No. 7.

In the Charlotte Observer/News & Observer preseason statewide rankings, Chambers is No. 2, the Burlington School is No. 3, Farmville Central is No. 7 and North Mecklenburg is No. 8

Combine is No. 1 in the Charlotte Observer/News & Observer N.C. non-association team rankings.

The John Wall field also includes several national powers and top-ranked recruits:

Virginia Episcopal, which won state championships in 2011 and 2016 and features 6-9 forward Efe Sekeroglu, who played for the U18 Turkish National Team.

Archbishop Spalding (MD) features 6-6 wing Cam Whitmore, a five-star senior ranked among the nation’s top 25 players. He’s signed with Villanova.

Southern California Academy is ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps. The team features 6-3 point guard Amaree Abram, ranked among the nation’s top 30 at his position by 247; and 6-9 senior power forward Jaxon Kohler, a Michigan State signee ranked among the nation’s top 70 players overall and top 10 at his position in the senior class by 247.

Also in the field is 7-time national champ Brewster Academy, which has produced 12 NBA draft picks. One of the team’s stars this year is 6-9 junior wing Matas Buzelis, who is ranked top 5 in his class by 247 and has offers from Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest, among many others. Buzelis’ teammate, 6-9 small forward Taylor Bowen, is ranked No. 21 in the class of 2023. Bowen also sports a Duke offer.

Participating Teams

  1. Word of God Academy (NC)-

  2. Moravian Prep (NC)-

  3. Virginia Episcopal (VA)-

  4. Combine Academy (NC)-

  5. JL Chambers High School (NC) -

  6. Brewster Academy (NH)-

  7. Southern California Academy (CA)-

  8. The Burlington School (NC)-

  9. Farmville Central High School (NC)-

  10. North Meck High School (NC)-

  11. Columbus High School (FL)-

  12. Asheville Christian (NC)-

  13. Winston-Salem Christian (NC)-

  14. Archbishop Spalding (MD)-

  15. Greenfield School (NC)-

  16. Terry Sanford High School (NC)-

  17. Garner High School (NC)-

  18. Millbrook High School (NC)-

  19. Ravenscroft School (NC)-

  20. Broughton High School (NC)-

  21. Northwood Pittsboro (NC)-

  22. Callaway High School (MS)-

  23. Northside Christian Academy (NC)-

  24. Trinity Academy (NC)-

  25. NC Good, Better, Best Academy (NC)-

  26. Life Christian (FL) -

  27. Leesville Road High School (NC)-

  28. Mooresville High School (NC)

First Round Pairings

(Games will be Dec. 27 at Wake Tech unless otherwise listed. Times not listed will be announced later)

TJ WARREN BRACKET

Word of God Christian Academy (NC) vs JL Chambers High School (NC)

Combine Academy (NC) vs Virginia Episcopal School (VA)

Winston-Salem Christian (NC) vs Southern California Academy (CA)

Moravian Prep (NC) vs Columbus High School (FL)

DEVONTE GRAHAM BRACKET

Broughton High School (NC) vs Life Christian (FL)

Farmville Central High School (NC) vs Greenfield School (NC)

Millbrook High School (NC) vs The Burlington School (NC), Dec., 23, 7:30*

North Meck High School (NC) vs Archbishop Spalding (MD)

COBY WHITE BRACKET

Asheville Christian (NC) vs Callaway High School (MS)

Terry Sanford High School (NC) vs Northwood Pittsboro High School (NC), Dec. 23, 3 pm*

CHRIS CLEMONS BRACKET

Trinity Academy (NC) vs Ravenscroft School (NC), Dec. 23, 4:30*

Garner High School (NC) vs Northside Christian (NC), Dec. 23, 6*

SHOWCASE GAMES

Leesville Road High School (NC) vs Mooresville High School (NC), Dec. 23, 1:30*

Brewster Academy (NH) vs The Burlington School (NC)

Brewster Academy (NH) vs Word of God Academy (NC)

Brewster Academy (NH) vs NC Good, Better, Best Academy (NC)

*-denotes game being played Dec. 23 at Word of God

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