The 2019 GEICO Nationals field has been set and will tip off this week beginning on Thursday April 4th at 12pm ET at Christ the King (NY) High School. The eight teams who have all been invited to compete in this year’s event include La Lumiere (IN), Montverde Academy (FL), IMG Academy (FL), Oak Hill Academy (VA), Wasatch Academy (UT), Sunrise Christian (KS), University School (FL), and Bishop Gorman (NV). Unfortunately, McEachern (GA), who were entering this tournament as the two seed, will not be making the trip despite finishing 32-0 and caputring their first state title. Powerhouse Bishop Gorman (NV) out of Las Vegas, Nevada will be taking their place and entering as the 8th seed.
The first round matchups have been set and include (6) Sunrise Christian (KS) versus (3) IMG Academy (FL), (7) University School (FL) versus (2) Montverde Academy (FL), (8) Bishop Gorman (NV) versus (1) La Lumiere (IN), and (5) Wasatch Academy (UT) versus (4) Oak Hill Academy (VA). Every game will be televised on the ESPN networks. The field, like every year, is filled with some of the top prospects in the country and that is only one reason why this tournament is so popular every season. Prospects like 2019 C Isaiah Stewart (Washington), 2019 C Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke), 2020 G Cade Cunningham, 2020 F Scottie Barnes, 2019 SG Josh Green (Arizona), 2020 SG Jaden Springer, 2019 PG Cole Anthony, 2020 C N’Faly Dante, and others are expected to compete for the national title. Let us preview each matchup.
12pm – Sunrise Christian (KS) v.s IMG Academy (FL) – Sunrise Christian (KS) and IMG Academy (FL) will get things going to start the loaded tournament at noon eastern time. These two programs have not met at all during the season but both have played national schedules and have a couple quality wins on their resume. This year’s IMG Academy (FL) team features three McDonald’s All Americans in the 2019 class. SG Josh Green (Arizona), F Armando Bacot Jr. (North Carolina), and F Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova). The Ascenders are coming in with a 27-1 overall record and with quality wins over DeMatha (MD), University School (FL), Huntington Prep (WV), and Oak Hill Academy (VA). They arguably have the best starting five in the country with junior guards Noah Farrakhan and Jaden Springer rounding out the starters.
Sunrise Christian (KS) will certainly matchup well with IMG Academy (FL). top-25 2020 C N’Faly Dante will be a force down low for the Buffaloes and will most likely be matched up with IMG’s Armando Bacot Jr. Sunrise Christian also features 2019 PG Grant Sherrfield, 2019 F Jordan Turner (Baylor), and 2019 SG Austin Crowley . The Buffaloes have quality wins over Guyer (TX), South Garland (TX), University School (FL), Findlay Prep (NV) and Imhotep Charter (PA). They have the length and athleticsim to defeat a very talented IMG squad and we should be in for a good one to start the day off.
2pm – University School (FL) v.s Montverde Academy (FL) – The second game of the day will feature two Florida powerhouse programs in University School (FL) and Montverde Academy (FL). This matchup will also be a rematch of last year’s GEICO Nationals championship and where Montverde Academy took home the title after defeating University School. The Eagles of Montverde will be looking to capture their 5th national championship and to make their 8th title game appearance. They are coming in with a 21-2 overall record with quality wins over Paul VI (VA), Sunrise Christian (KS), Norcross (GA), Sierra Canyon (CA), Rancho Christian (CA), Oak Hill Academy (VA), Ranney School (NJ), and Roselle Catholic (NJ) with both loses only coming to La Lumiere (IN).
This season the Eagles have been led by top-10 2020 G Cade Cunningham, who sits at 6-foot-6 running the point guard position. They also feature top prospects like 2019 F Precious Achiuwa, 2020 SG Moses Moody, 2019 G Harlond Beverly, 2019 F Balsa Korprivica (Florida State), 2019 F Omar Payne (Florida), 2022 G Dariq Whitehead, and 2022 PG Ryan Nembhard. As you can see this Montverde squad is loaded and will have a high chance to make a title run once again this year and defend their national title.
For University School (FL), the Sharks will be looking to make their 3rd title game appearance and top-10 2020 F Scottie Barnes and McDonald’s All American 2019 C Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke) will be looking to seek revenge against Montverde Academy. This will be the Sharks 3rd GEICO Nationals appearance since 2013. They will be entering the field with a 27-4 overall record with quality wins over Blanche Ely (FL), Vashon (MO), Gonzaga Prep (WA), Villages Charter (FL), and also capturing Florida’s class 5A state title in now back-to-back years. This season’s roster also features the Howard brothers, NBA pro Juwan Howard’s kids, in 2020 F Jace Howard and 2022 SG Jett Howard, one of the top freshman in the country.
4pm – Bishop Gorman (NV) v.s La Lumiere (IN) – The Bishop Gorman Gaels will be replacing McEachern (GA) as the number eight seed and making their first ever appearance in the GEICO Nationals tournament. They will be facing the number one overall seed in La Lumiere (IN), a team they already faced and lost to earlier in the year. The Gaels are coming in with a 28-4 overall record with quality wins over Gonzaga Prep (WA), Orange Lutheran (CA), Sheldon (CA), Rancho Christian (CA), Findlay Prep (NV), Chino Hills (CA), and capturing their 8th straight state championship. Junior forward Isaiah Cottrell leads the pack this season for the Gaels, alongside 2021 SG Will McLendon and 2020 SG Noah Taitz. For those who do not know, Bishop Gorman is the same school that produced guys like Shabazz Muhammad, Stephen Zimmerman, Zach Collins, Chase Jeters, and others.
La Lumiere (IN) will be coming into the GEICO Nationals with a dominating 28-0 overall record. Their quality wins include Montverde Academy (FL) twice, Findlay Prep (NV), Bishop Gorman (NV), Wasatch Academy (UT), and Sunrise Christian (KS). The Lakers will be making their 7th GEICO National appearance, winning it in 2017, and will be looking to make the championship game for the 3rd time in the last four years. This season they have been led by five star C Isaiah Stewart (Washington) and five star F Keion Brooks Jr. (Kentucky). They also feature 2019 F Gerald Drumgoole (Pittsburgh) and 2020 PG Wendell Green Jr. La Lumiere will have a chance to prove they are the best team in the country and back up their 28-0 overall record.
6pm – Wasatch Academy (UT) v.s Oak Hill Academy (VA) – The last game of the day will feature the number 5 and 4 seeds with Wasatch Academy (UT) against Oak Hill Academy (VA). The Oak Hill Warriors are making their 10th appearance, winning it in 2016, in the GEICO Nationals while Wasatch Academy is only making their 3rd appearance. Oak Hill will be coming with a 22-4 overall record with quality wins over Dorman (SC), Olive Branch (MS), West Oaks Academy (FL), and West Charlotte (NC). Their leader and top-5 2019 PG Cole Anthony, will be making his return home to New York and will be looking to lead his Oak Hill squad to another national title. 2019 C Kofi Cockburn (Illinois) will also making his return home to New York and the tournament will be played at his former high school of Christ the King (NY).
Other top prospects on this year’s Oak Hill squad include 2020 SG Cameron Thomas, 2019 F Christian Brown (Georgia), and 2020 C Dylan Cardwell. Wasatch Academy out of Mount Pleasant, Utah will definitely give Oak Hill Academy a run for their money. This year’s squad will be coming in with an impressive 26-3 overall record with quality wins over Legacy Charter (SC), Meadowcreek (GA), Richland (VA), Santa Margarita (CA), West Oaks Academy (FL), Wheeler (GA), Clark (NV), Villages Charter (FL), and Bishop Walsh (MD). This year’s squad has been led by 2019 SG Marvin “Tre” Williams (Minnesota) and top-50 2020 C Mady Sissoko. They also feature 2020 PG Mike Saunders, 2020 SG Richie Saunders, and 2019 F Tristian Enaruna. This game should be a pretty even matchup and will certainly draw a much bigger crowd than the others in my opinion.