FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Prestonwood Christian’s (Plano, Texas) 62-42 romping of Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) Wednesday night at Bishop Verot High School here ended the City of Palms Classic. It gave Texas its first-ever City of Palms title.
Here are some notes on what went on behind the scenes all week.
Early Monday morning, just after midnight, two days after Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) dropped its second-straight game, this time a 59-55 loss to Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), Wolverines forward Brandon Morris was out in the parking lot of his hotel running suicides prepping for their next game.
Morris ran for more than 30 minutes and walked into the lobby drenched with sweat.
“We’ve got to work harder,” Morris said. “That’s something that I want to get better with.”
Given most of the capacity crowd at the City of Palms came to see Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) swingman Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, but Wilbraham Monson (Wilbraham, Mass.) center Mark Overdevest was easily the second most popular player in attendance. But it had nothing to do with his play on the court.
Overdevest is 7-foot-3, which meant he had to duck down every time he walked into the gym. That was fascinating to spectators.
Overdevest, who is unranked, took more pictures and signed more autographs than most of the top players.
“It’s something you’ve got to remember,” Overdevest said of ducking down before walking into the gym. “It takes some getting used to.”
Fort Myers (Fort Myers, Fla.) marksmen Garrison Free took home the City of Palms three-point contest title, knocking down 20 treys in the semifinals and 17 in the finals.
Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) guard Je'lon Hornbeak won the dunk contest.
Roughly a week before he made the cross-country trip to the City of Palms, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) forward Freddie Tagaloa, who doubles as an offensive tackle on the Pride’s football team, ended his recruitment picking California over Stanford, Southern Cal and Oregon.
“It was a load off,” Tagaloa said. “I definitely came here with no worries and I didn’t have to think about college anymore. It definitely allowed me to relax a lot more.”
Tagaloa averaged five points and five rebounds at the City of Palms.
No Need To Panic
Miller Grove isn’t worried one bit about its four-game skid, which included losses to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 34 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), No. 6 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).
The Wolverines opened the season ranked No. 2, but the four losses will inevitably drop them in next week’s poll.
“We’re not dwelling on that at all,” Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. “We’ve got to focus on what’s in front of us. We’ll learn from it and get better. We’ve got probably the toughest schedule in the country, and we’ll have opportunities to get back to where we want to be.”
The Wolverines, who have won three-straight state titles, still have big games against St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) and top-ranked Simeon (Chicago).
Out Of Commission
Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) guard Kasey Hill had to watch the Eagles first two games at the City of Palms from the bench after being suspended by the Florida High School Athletic Association for receiving two technical fouls and getting ejected from Montverde’s 64-50 win over Olympia on Dec. 10.
The two-game suspension is the minimum penalty for an ejection under FHSAA rules.