Let the Madness begin! The NCAA Tournament begins in earnest today, and the only thing more plentiful than upsets will be City of Palms alumni. A whopping 67 of them will take the court today and tomorrow. Keep this region-by-region guide to City of Palms players handy alongside your bracket to follow all the talent.
Prestige meets prestige. City of Palms alumni make up more than a third of the rosters for the 2018 Jordan Brand Classic, set for  3:30 p.m.   April 8  at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Eight players who've appeared at the City of Palms received selection to the elite showcase. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and other future Hall of Famers have played in the Jordan Brand Classic, now in its 17th year.
R.J. Barrett dazzled at the City of Palms, and soon he'll be doing the same for Duke. It's no surprise he's been named the 2018 Naismith National High School Boys Player of the Year. The 6-foot-7 swingman from three-time City of Palms champion Montverde Academy (Mississauga, Ontario) headlines the 2018 Naismith Trophy High School Boys All-America Team, which includes 12 City of Palms alumni and three of Barrett's future teammates at Duke.
With the 2017 tournament in the rearview mirror and preparation for the 2018 tournament yet to be underway we thought we would dive a little more into the tournament officiating side. Stay tuned next month when we dive into situations and how they are handled.  

Q. This year, a referee from Florida worked the championship game, which involved a team from Florida. Would you have made the assignment differently, in hindsight??
A.  We follow the NCAA Tournament model and assign referees to work each game of the tournament before the tournament even begins. In this case, we didn't have any idea which teams would be in the final when we determined the referees for the game. Our decisions aren't made on a day-to-day, game-by-game basis. That way, the referees can plan and we don't get caught in a situation where we have to scramble to find someone at the last minute. The referees who worked the final are among the best in the business, by design, and I have full confidence in their judgment.  

Q. The City of Palms has players of elite skill. Do you have to referee differently than you would if you were working the average high school game?
A. These are future NCAA and NBA players and should be reffed as such. We have mostly  college refs working the tournament, as that is the style of ball that these players play.  Since they're playing, in essence, college-level ball, we expect a sophistication of play and understanding of the rules more typical of college players. So there is a difference, but we still abide by high school rules and the framework of the high school game, like no shot clock and four quarters instead of two halves. 
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