LEE COUNTY, Fla.- In just a few hours, some of the best high school basketball teams in the country will face off right here in Southwest Florida.
The first game in the annual City of Palms Classic is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. at Bishop Verot High School.
The event features more than 30 teams from around the country, nearly a week of games and talent exhibitions. The Classic is now in its 40th year, and keeps getting bigger. Organizers are once again expecting a national spotlight here, and are feeling a lot of pressure and excitement. Over a year of planning and weeks of setting up have come down to this.
Soon, some of the best high school basketball players in the nation will take to the hardwood at Bishop Verot. It's a tournament that has modest beginnings, but has grown into the national spotlight, and has become a tradition for many families.
A full schedule of games is on the table for the rest of the week, with a big focus on the 16-team tournament. Bishop Verot will once again take part in that, and the head coach says players are very aware of what's at stake. That's because throughout the week, organizers expect drop-ins from scouts and coaches from all around.
"We played in it last year. A lot of these kids have grown up coming here a lot, and know a lot more of the history. They understand the magnitude of everything," said Matt Herting, Head Coach.
More than 500 players from this Classic have moved onto NCAA Division I. More than 60 players have gone on to the NBA. The first game starts at 3:00 p.m. Bishop Verot's first game is at 8:15 p.m.