46th City of Palms brings top talent to SWFL

The City of Palms Classic is a showcase, and it’s a stepping stone for players who go from the tournament to play college and even pro basketball.

According to the tournament’s director, Donnie Wilkie, 14 percent of the entire NBA played in at least one City of Palms Classic.

“We’re the only place in America you can see them play outside of their local area,” Wilkie said.

MORE: Basketball players gear up at FSW for City of Palms Classic

Donnie Wilkie has been bringing the nation’s top-ranked high school basketball talent to Fort Myers for a while now. He takes pride in players coming through his Culligan City of Palms Classic, and where they go from here.

“There’s been enough McDonalds, All Americans here that have played in this tournament, to fill the McDonalds, All American game for six and a half years, both rosters, 155 kids,” he said.

He also says the talent is as high as ever in the tournament’s 46th year.

“There’s probably upwards of 30 plus players that are ranked in the top 30 or 40 of their classes.”

Because Wilkie wants the City of Palms to be about kids, about basketball and about family entertainment.

“You have so many families and so many people around here that this is what they do right before Christmas,” he said.

As exciting as those are, Wilkie says Suncoast Credit Arena is the most packed for the City of Palms championship games that conclude the tournament.

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