“With 16 of the nation’s top teams contending, there’s sure to be a lot of excitement,” Rhodes continued. “As just a few examples, our lineup includes defending national champions, Montverde Academy (FL), and nationally ranked #2 Mustang High School, (OK) with returning senior, Austin Meyer, currently ranked 54th in the nation. Poca High School (WV) will be making their first appearance. In 2014, this team went 27-0 winning the WV State Championship, marking the first team in 25 years that was undefeated. Bartow High School (FL) with center standout, Tony Bradley, who played on the Junior All-American team and consistently averages a double-double, is another newcomer to the Beach Ball Classic. Other teams to watch include St. John’s College Prep (Washington, DC), ranked #1 in the state of Maryland, St. Edwards (OH) with the nation’s #10 ranked player, returning senior, Derek Funderburk, Seton Hall Prep (NJ) with returning senior, T.J. Gibbs, a former Junior All-American, currently ranked 17th in the nation, and Mater Dei (CA), Max Prep’s 2013-2014 National Champions and Back-to-Back State Champions for four consecutive years. Mullins High School, a local favorite, will be returning from 2014 with nationally #3 ranked, Jalek Felton, a junior who has committed to North Carolina. Also returning from ’14 will be St. Francis High School (GA), a state championship team ranked 65th in the nation with All-American, Kobi Jordan-Simmons, a returning senior nationally ranked 24th.
“It couldn’t get much better than this,” Rhodes said.
Since 1981, over one million fans have witnessed the Beach Ball Classic, a holiday tradition for residents in and around Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as basketball fans throughout the country. Each year, thousands flock to the South Carolina coast the week following Christmas for the lure of warmer weather and outstanding basketball. Past tournaments have featured now famous players including Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Ramon Sessions and Raymond Felton, just to name a few.
“The excitement and the attendance of these tournaments has continued to grow,” said Rhodes. “The addition of the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational, a sister tournament featuring the nation’s top high school women’s teams, and the Carolinas Challenge featuring some of the country’s top women’s collegiate teams, have had a positive impact on sports in general and have added to the excitement of the Beach Ball Classic. Both tournaments are held the week prior to Christmas, immediately preceding the much anticipated Beach Ball Classic.
Aside from being one of the most acclaimed high school tournaments in the nation, the Beach Ball Classic is widely recognized for its academic contribution. Since 1984, the Beach Ball Classic Scholarship Fund has awarded over $500,000 in college scholarships to more than 300 deserving high school students.