Four Years Running, Event Produces An Early Entry
First there was Al Harrington. Jonathan Bender followed and DeShawn Stevenson followed him. Last year, Tyson Chandler and Ousmane Cisse skipped college for the NBA.
If you're keeping score at home, the past four years the Slam Dunk To The Beach has produced an early entrant into the NBA Draft. A young man who was highly enough regarded that just six months after playing high school basketball at a tournament in tiny Lewes, Del., he would leap directly to the NBA. It's happened four years running. Can we make it five in a row?
Sure, there's a possibility. Inglewood (CA) High power forward DeAngelo Collins just might be the guy who tests the NBA waters, thus keeping the Slam Streak alive. Aside from Collins, there really isn't a guy in the SENIOR class capable of drawing enough interest from the scouts to make a wise decision to skip school.
Notice we said senior class? The best player at The Slam Dunk To The Beach is St. Vincent-St. Mary's junior swingman Lebron James. In fact, he's the best player in every tournament he enters. He's the best high school talent in the country, period. It's not even close.
So, while Jacobs' streak rests on Collins this year, there's no reason to think he can't begin a new streak next season. James will almost certainly bolt high school and head straight to the pros.
The fact that we're having a discussion like this goes to show you the kind of event Jacobs runs. There are always players at the Slam. There are always good matchups. It's just a great way to head to the beach (Ok, so it's a little chilly) and watch some post-holiday basketball.
Some of the top teams participating this year include All Hallows (2nd at the City of Palms), Amityville (showcasing SR. Jason Fraser), Cedar Hill (Michigan-bound guard Daniel Horton), Christ The King, Inglewood (with the aforementioned Collins), Germantown Academy (3 D-I signees), Rainer Beach (the flying Stewart Twins), Sanford (the top team in the state of Delaware), Stroud (future Olympian Kevin Bookout), Tabor Academy (great run in Fort Myers) and Winton Woods (undefeated so far this year). And that's just a partial list.
To read more about The National Tournament, check out the event's website.
Our coverage of the tournament begins on Dec. 26!