I can taste the AAU season right around the corner - a phenomenon which I have a heavy love/hate relationship with - but high school basketball isn't quite over yet. That's because the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational is still around, and actually kicks off tomorrow.
Why is this relevant? Well, two reasons, really. The first: it's being played at Coppin St. in Baltimore, so if you reside in the Charm City, you might want to consider trying to get tickets to catch a game or two over the next couple days. The second: two Maryland commitments, Pe'Shon Howard and Haukur Palsson, will be playing in the tournament. Luckily enough for those of you that don't live in Balmer, all the games will be nationally televised on ESPNU, ESPN2, and ESPN.
Howard's Oak Hill Academy squad, which has been on national television quite a bit this year, is the tournament's #3 seed, and will play Mountain St. Academy (WV) in the first round, and has a potential second round match-up with powerhouse Findlay Prep in the second round. He and OHA will play on ESPNU on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Palsson and his #1 seed Montverde team have a slightly more intriguing path. They start off the tournament against Montrose Christian, the local star-studded (usually) team coached by pro-Terp Stu Vetter. Montrose, of course, was home of Terrence Ross until he transferred away in mid-season. Even with Ross out of the fold, the player of most interest in this game might not be Palsson, but instead Montrose swingman, Justin Anderson (from my hometown of The Burg). Anderson is in the class of 2012, so it's early in his recruitment, but he should unquestionably be the top target on the staff's radar. Of course, I'll be rooting for Palsson's squad more than Anderson, but I'm intrigued to see both of them in action.
That game goes down at 2 p.m. tomorrow on ESPNU. The winner will play the victor of the Christ School (most notable for possession of yet another Plumlee) and Winter Park (most notable for possession of Austin Rivers and an honorable Terp fan of a teacher).
I'll probably have an impressions post of Howard, Anderson, and Palsson after all the games go down, which will double as an open thread for impressions. It'll be a nice three days of high school basketball, that's for sure.
To purchase tickets, visit the NSHI website (link is in the bottom right hand corner of the page). Tickets run $10 a pop, which isn't that bad.