The ripple effects of an upset-filled 46th annual Culligan City of Palms are still being felt throughout the country. After more than 13,000 people watched the six-day event at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, a top-three attendance figure in tournament history, the national rankings have taken on a much different look.
Every team in both the USA Today Super 25 and MaxPreps Top 25 moved up or down by at least one spot in the first rankings issued by the respective polls after the City of Palms. By contrast, the top 11 teams in the MaxPreps poll issued Jan. 3 remained in the precise order from the week before, despite a full slate of holiday tournament action. That was also true of the top 12 teams in the Jan. 2 USA Today Super 25.
“There’s a reason so many people come from all across the country to watch the Culligan City of Palms Classic: No tournament has nearly as much impact on the national scene,” said John Naylor, the event’s executive director.
A few teams moved up or down by a single spot in the Jan. 7 USA Today Super 25, but 11 of the top 12 teams are the same. Nine of the top 10 teams in the Jan. 7 MaxPreps remain from last week.
The rankings prove the value of wearing the City of Palms crown. McEachern (Powder Springs, Georgia) rose from No. 7 to No. 1 in the MaxPreps rankings and from No. 10 to No. 2 in the USA Today poll after winning the title. University School (Fort Lauderdale) plummeted all the way out of the MaxPreps poll from No. 5 after failing to defend its championship. USA Today had University School at No. 23 going into the City of Palms and hasn’t ranked the Sharks since.
Tournament organizers have already begun planning to make even more of an impact next time, when the event returns to a Wednesday-through-Monday format. The 47th annual Culligan City of Palms Classic will take place from Dec. 18-Dec. 23, 2019 at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
By then, many of the players from the just-completed event will be starring for top-flight college teams. The 46th annual Culligan City of Palms Classic All-Tournament team includes players committed to Duke (Vernon Carey Jr., University School), North Carolina (Armando Bacot, IMG Academy), Villanova (Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, IMG Academy), Syracuse (Joseph Girard III, Glens Falls), Auburn (Isaac Okoro, McEachern), Maryland (Donta Scott, Imhotep and Makhi Mitchell, Woodrow Wilson), Northwestern (Jared Jones, McEachern), and Memphis (D.J. Jeffries, Olive Branch).
Also making the all-tournament team were Cole Anthony (Oak Hill), Sharife Cooper (McEachern), Cam’Ron Fletcher, (Vashon), Elijah Hutchins-Everett, (Immaculate Conception), Kahlil Robinson, (Gray Collegiate Academy), Trendon Watford (Mountain Brook) and Malachi Wideman (Sarasota Riverview).
Other awards handed out include:
- Hustle Award – Paulie Stramaglia, Mountain Brook (Mountain Brook, Ala.)
- Hometown Hero (essay contest winner) – Elijah Taylor, Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia)
- Steve Bumm Coach’s Award – Tom Massolio, Charlotte (Punta Gorda)
- Team Sportsmanship – Paul VI, (Fairfax, Va.)
Visit cityofpalmsclassic.com to see tournament results and stats.