Classes of '18 and '19 boast top talent
Class of '18

At the Culligan City of Palms Classic, we're all about featuring top talent and the class of 2018 is chock full of it. This year's class is headlined by the No. 1 player in the class Zion Williamson of Spartanburg Day (S.C.). Williamson's combination of size, strength and finesse have some heralding him as the next LeBron James. He's joined in the top five of ESPN's top 100 list by 7-2 center No. 4 Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol. 

High-flying 2016 COP dunk champion Emmitt Williams of Orlando Oak Ridge (Fla.) continues to climb the rankings and now stands at No. 11. Other top 25 players that have been a part of or are going to be a part of COP include No. 6 Moses Brown of Archbishop Molloy High School (N.Y.), No. 14 Jahvon Quinerly of Hudson Catholic High School (N.J.), No. 15 Louis King of Hudson Catholic High School (N.J.), No. 19 Taeshon Cherry of Saint Augustine High School (Calif.), No. 20 Anternee Simons of IMG Academy (Fla.) and No. 22 Carte'Are Gordon of Webster Groves High School (Mo.).

Class of '19

Although young, the Class of '19 is already being projected by some as being one of the top classes in the last decade. Leading the pack is No. 1 Vernon Carey Jr. of the University School of Nova South (Fla.). With his physicality and soft touch from the left side, he can play both down low and out on the arc. Last year, COP attendees got a preview of No. 2 Charles Bassey of Aspire Basketball Academy (Ky.). His tremendous athleticism and high motor have college coaches taking notice. Also in the top five of ESPN's top 60 is elite shot blocker No. 5 Onyeka Okongwu from Chino Hills High School (Calif.). COP fans may remember him from his supporting role on the undefeated 2015 Chino Hills team. Also highlighted in the top 20 is No. 7 LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills High School (Calif.), No. 9 Trendon Watford of Mountain Brook High School (Ala.), No. 10 Cole Anthony of Archbishop Molloy High School (N.Y.), No. 11 Scottie Lewis and No. 12 Bryan Antoine of Ranney School (N.J.).
Sneak peek of this year's teams
Here at the Culligan City of Palms Classic, we are always looking for ways to give our most loyal fans the inside scoop. What better way to do so than with a sneak peek of some of this year's top teams! The lineup features several returning favorites, the first visit for a national powerhouse and as always some of the country's highest rated players. Make sure to tune in on September 6, 2017 as we announce the rest of the field via Facebook Live at our press conference at Shoeless Joe's Sports Cafe.  

Wisdom from The Whistle
In last month's newsletter, we introduced you to Kevin Hetherington, the Culligan City of Palms Classic supervisor of officiating. As a 40-year veteran of officiating, Hetherington knows a thing or two about what makes a great referee. It is for this reason that the responsibility of recruiting and scheduling the 50 or so officials needed for the country's No. 1 high school basketball tournament rests solely on his shoulders. As at any tournament, COP officials are responsible for enforcing the rules without bias, managing the speed of the game and above all maintaining a high level of authority on the court. 

We had the pleasure of meeting with Hetherington to learn about the process of this all to important task.

Q. What is the process for selecting the COP officials?
A. The process begins during the previous year's tournament when officials begin to inquire about officiating for the next year.  However, not all officials are able to return year after year. As such, each summer I travel the the state of Florida visiting a number of summer camps and tournaments to scout various officials. With connections in the NBA and NCAA officiating circles new talent is always being presented for assessment.   

Q. What are you looking for when evaluating a potential official?
A. Their are a variety of elements one could review when assessing officials. I tend to focus my attention evaluating their control of the game while on the court, understanding of the rules and experience officiating. Good officiating comes from years of confident judgment and presence of mind in stressful situations. 

Q. What is the biggest challenge in recruiting officials?
A. The biggest challenge is two-fold. First, the tournament's close proximity to the holiday season can cause scheduling issues. Second, the City of Palms is an official FHSAA tournament which means each referee must be registered with the state. These two factors often weigh on an official's ability to attend the COP. Despite these hurdles we continue to provide the best officiating in the country for the COP. 

Check out next month's newsletter when we discuss the history of officiating at the Culligan City of Palms Classic.

Be a part of something BIG! Become a COP sponsor
Entertain your clients in class
Follett Hospitality Pavilion

Enjoy one of the dynamic features Suncoast Credit Union Arena has to offer. This
1649 square foot glass-walled venue overlooks the basketball court from the south end. Entertain clients or relax with friends as you take in all the tournament action. A wide variety of food options are available from FSW Catering  as well as beverage service from Professional Facilities Management.
Pavilion rental includes

  • Use of the pavilion (your choice of set up)
  • Forty (40) reserved seats (good all day)
  • Twenty (20) VIP parking passes
  • Complimentary admission for you staff working the event
  • Your company or organization name and logo on the LED ribbon board
  • Mention of your company or organization by the arena announcer 
For more information please contact John Naylor at:
Phone: (239) 489-1085 

Tickets are now on sale!

Caribbean inspired food, handcrafted tropical drinks, and a vibrant island atmosphere lets you feel a million miles from home, any day of the week. Here, you can explore island flavors, discover legendary cocktails, and feel the energy of live music. Like sunshine on your face, it's warm and welcoming. A place to gather with friends and share a tasty plate or two or five. No worries. You'll find your favorite dishes here, but our chef delights in introducing you to tropical tastes and new recipes. And don't we love to see his smile? Almost as much as we enjoy seeing yours.

Don't miss the nation's No. 1  high school basketball tournament!

45th Annual Culligan City of Palms Classic
FSW - Suncoast Credit Union Arena 

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