ESPN RISE National High School Invitational: Teams and Brackets Announced

High School Sports

ESPN RISE National High School Invitational: Teams and Brackets Announced

Montverde, Winter Park, Dillard, Lake Mary, Christ School and Charlotte Christian to Play

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Boys and Girls Tournaments Live On ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU  

ESPN RISE, in conjunction with Paragon Marketing Group, announced today team selections and brackets for the second annual ESPN RISE National High School Invitational (NHSI) Thursday – Saturday, April 1-3 at Coppin State University’s Physical Education Complex in Baltimore. The tournaments will feature some of the country’s top boys and girls high school basketball teams, and ESPNU 100 and ESPNU Super 60 ranked players.  

ESPN RISE National High School Invitational Teams: 

ESPN RISE NHSI – 2010 Boys Tournament 

Seed High School State ‘09/’10 Record ESPN RISE FAB 50 Ranking


Montverde Academy



No. 9


Findlay Prep



No. 10


Oak Hill Academy



No. 12


Christ School



No. 13


Winter Park



No. 20


Mountain State Academy





Charlotte Christian





Montrose Christian





ESPN RISE NHSI – 2010 Girls Tournament 

Seed High School State ‘09/’10 Record ESPN RISE FAB 50 Ranking


Peddie School



No. 34





No. 39


Oak Hill Academy





Lake Mary



No. 40

For an analysis of tournament matchups please see: Bracket

The event will feature 10 games on the ESPN family of networks: ESPN (1 game), ESPN2 (3 games) and ESPNU (6 games); for a schedule of games please see: TV schedule 


1 Seed: ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 9 Montverde Academy (Fla.), 21-4

Coach: Kevin Sutton Standout Players: James Bell, Jamail Jones, Kaleb Clyburn, Papa Samba Ndao, Haukur Palsson, Ugo Okam

Montverde has been a dominant force in high school hoops since head coach Kevin Sutton took over the program seven years ago. During that span, Sutton has compiled a career record of 164-29.  The program’s success has led to 35 student athletes earning basketball scholarships.  This year is no different as Montverde is sending five players to D-1 universities. Villanova signee James Bell (No. 40 ESPNU 100) and Marquette signee Jamail Jones (No. 53 ESPNU 100) have led the Eagles to one of the best seasons in school history.  Kaleb Clyburn led the team in assists for the second straight year and was MVP of the Montverde Invitational. In its final week, Montverde recorded wins against Montrose Christian (Md.), Findlay Prep (Nev.) and The Sagemont School (Fla.). Other Division I recruits include: Haukur Palsson verbally committed to Maryland, Ugo Okam verbally committed to Harvard and Boston College signee Papa Samba Ndao. 

2 Seed: ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 10 Findlay Prep (Nev.), 29-2

Coach: Michael Peck Standout Players: Tristan Thompson , Cory Joseph, Nick Johnson

The defending National High School Invitational champions and mythical ESPN RISE FAB 50 national champions look to repeat last year’s success.  Coach Peck has proved that Findlay Prep can handle the pressure of winning while taking every team’s best shot night in and night out.  The Pilots’ most impressive victories came against St. Patrick (N.J.), Winter Park (Fla.), Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and Arlington Country Day (Fla.).  One loss was to NHSI participant Montverde Academy (Fla.) while the other was to Northland (Ohio), which is currently No. 1 in the FAB 50. Seniors Cory Joseph (No. 21 ESPNU 100) and fellow McDonald’s All-American Tristan Thompson, signed with Texas (No. 10 ESPNU) look to build off their experience in last year’s tournament.  Joined by Super 60 Junior Nick Johnson (No. 18 ESPNU Super 60), Findlay Prep has the talent to match up with any team in the country. 

3 Seed: ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 12 Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 29-3

Coach: Steve Smith Standout Players: Doron Lamb, Roscoe Smith, Pe’Shon Howard, Baye Moussa Keita, Juwan Staten

The Warriors have once again finished one of the toughest regular season schedules in the country.  Oak Hill has managed impressive wins against top teams, including St. Patrick (N.J.), Wheeler (Ga.) and Dudley (N.C.).  One of their losses was by just one point to current FAB 50 No. 1 ranked team Northland (Ohio). Once again, Oak Hill is loaded with Division I talent.  Led by McDonald’s All-American Doron Lamb (No. 25 ESPNU 100) and UCONN commit Roscoe Smith (No. 29 ESPNU 100), Oak Hill has its sights set on winning its first ESPN RISE NHSI Championship after finishing as the runner-up last year. Other Division I recruits include: Dayton signee Juwan Staten (No. 59 ESPNU 100 to Dayton), Syracuse signee Baye Moussa Keita and Pe’Shon Howard, who is verbally committed to Maryland. 

4 Seed: ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 13 Christ School (N.C.), 37-1

Coach: David Gaines Standout Players: Marshall Plumlee, Eric Smith

The Greenies are representing the best from North Carolina having recently won the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association championship for the fourth year in a row. Christ School, which is the highest ranked team from the Tar Heel State in the FAB 50 and has lost its only game to Findlay Prep (Nev.), will be looking to test itself against the best in the country. The school’s participation in the ESPN RISE NHSI also will mark the first time a high school team from North Carolina has appeared on the ESPN networks. Christ School is a young team with a strong junior class. But the Greenies are one of the deepest teams in the field and have a lot size that can cause match-up problems.  They are led by South Carolina signee Eric Smith and juniors Marshall Plumlee, DeMarcus Harrison and Tony Kimbro.  

5 Seed: ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 20 Winter Park (Fla.), 29-5

Coach: David Bailey Standout Players: Austin Rivers, Adam Jones, Brett Comer

The Wildcats are no strangers to big-time games and the national spotlight.  After winning the Class 6A Florida High School Activities Association championship and already appearing on the ESPN networks twice this year, Winter Park will be the first public high school sanctioned to play in the ESPN RISE NHSI.  The Wildcats are led by junior Austin Rivers and senior Fairfield signee Adam Jones. Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers, is verbally committed to Florida. He’s a lights out shooter and the #2 ranked player in the ESPNU Super 60.  Winter Park’s most impressive wins came against St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.), Montverde Academy (Fla.) and Gonzaga (D.C.). The Wildcats are the highest-ranked team in the country with five losses and would be much higher in the rankings if they hadn’t slipped up against lesser foes several times. 

6 Seed: Mountain State Academy (W.Va.), 21-3

Coach: Rodney Crawford Standout Players: Justin Martin, David Nyarsuk

First year Falcons’ head coach Rodney Crawford pushed his players this year by raising their strength of schedule. The Falcons endured just three tough losses this season, including a 44-43 decision against Oak Hill Academy (Va.). Mountain State used last year’s experience at the NHSI as a building block for this season. The team is led by Xavier commit Justin Martin (No. 46 ESPNU 100) and West Virginia commit David Nyarsuk.  

7 Seed: Charlotte Christian (N.C.), 29-4

Coach: Shonn Brown Standout Players: Akil Mitchell, Anthony Gill, Trent Walker

Charlotte Christian is coming off one of their most impressive seasons in recent years.  With 2 wins over both Ravenscroft (N.C.) and Charlotte Country Day (N.C.), the Knights rolled to the North Carolina Independent State Athletic Association Championships game where they lost to fellow ESPN Rise National High School Participant, Christ School (N.C.). While that score was 78-59, earlier in the year the Knights only lost to the Greenies, 60-57.  The talented duo of junior Anthony Gill (18.0 ppg), who has committed to South Carolina, and senior Akil Mitchell (12.9 ppg), headed to Virginia, create a formidable 1-2 scoring punch.  The Knights have the athletes and the toughness to give any team a run for their money. 

8 Seed: Montrose Christian (Md.), 16-5

Coach: Stu Vetter Standout Players: Joshua Hairston, Justin Anderson, Nazareth Long    

This has been a trying season for veteran coach Stu Vetter, but his club enters the NHSI with a newfound confidence and is a dangerous dark horse. Duke signee Joshua Hairston (No. 18 ESPNU 100) is averaging over a double-double and is Vetter’s go-to player. Justin Anderson (No. 9 ESPNU Terrific 25) is one of the best players nationally in his class and gives Montrose Christian a potent inside/outside combination. The Mustangs’ fortunes at the NHSI, however, may rest with unsung junior point guard Nazareth Long. He is one of the event’s key players because as he goes, so does his team. 


1 Seed: No. 34 Peddie School (N.J.), 23-2

Coach: Sean Casey Standout Players: Haley Peters, Alex Smith, Nekole Jackson

One of the top-ranked teams in the East all season, Peddie School won the NJSIAA Prep A state championship for the 14th straight year.  Led by McDonald’s All-American and New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year Haley Peters (No. 19 HoopGurlz 100), the Falcons had impressive wins against Germantown Academy (Pa.) and Trenton Catholic (N.J.). Both losses were to teams ranked higher in the FAB 50 and one of those was by one point.  With a strong supporting cast featuring Holy Cross signee Alex Smith and Bryant University commit Nekole Jackson, Peddie School will be hard to knock off. 

2 Seed: No. 39 Dillard (Fla.), 26-4

Coach: Marcia Pinder Standout Players: Dawnn Maye, Candace Parson

The Panthers won their fifth FHSAA championship in 2010 with a 53-44 victory over Boca Ciega (Gulfport), handing head coach Marcia Pinder her 757th win.  The Class 5A state champions are led by senior Dawn Maye (No. 32 HoopGurlz 100), a Georgia Tech commit who has been named the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year. Dillard successfully navigated a national schedule that took the team to the Nike Tournament of Champions and the Big 8 Tournament. Tough wins in those events against St. Mary’s (Ariz.) and South Broward (Fla.) came during a hot streak in which the Panthers won 20 of their last 21 games. 

3 Seed: Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 21-3

Coach: Mike Rodgers Standout Players: Ariel Johnson, Orzi Szesci, Alex Rodgers

One of the three losses by the Warriors was to Peddie School so it was decided not to match up the two again in the first round of the NHSI. Oak Hill’s other two losses were also to FAB 50-ranked opponents with the best win coming against Villa Maria Academy (Pa.). Ariel Johnson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore already committed to Georgia, and 6-foot-3 Orzi  Szesci, who is from Hungary, headline a very tall lineup. Starting guard Alex Rodgers is the daughter of head coach Mike Rodgers and has committed to Princeton. 

4 Seed: No. 40 Lake Mary (Fla.), 32-1

Coach: Rick Weyers Standout Players: Morgan Jones, Sarah Taylor, D.J. Irving, Shelbi Lindsey, Danielle White

Lake Mary comes into the ESPN RISE NHSI red hot, winners of 23 straight games and the FHSAA Class 6A championship.  The Rams won their semifinal over South Broward in dramatic fashion when Morgan Jones hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to break a 36-36 tie.  Jones, a junior, is ranked #18 overall on the HoopGurlz Super 60.  In addition to this year, the Rams won state championships in 1998 and 2006. 

Tournament teams were selected by ESPN RISE high school basketball experts and other leading evaluators based on their performance during the 2009/2010 high school basketball season and their ranking in the ESPN RISE FAB 50. Team eligibility criteria also included that participating schools must be four-year high schools, independent or public, and have their respective governing body’s permission to participate.  Teams with post-graduate students or re-classified fifth year seniors were not eligible for consideration for the ESPN RISE NHSI. 

This year’s event marks the first time that the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) and the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association have granted their member schools permission to participate in the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational. 

ESPN RISE National High School Invitational tickets are available now at and will be at the Coppin State University’s box office beginning March 19: $10 for adults and $5 for students. 

Media interested in credentials for the event should contact [email protected]

Visit for comprehensive pre and post event details. 

About ESPN RISE National High School Invitational

The ESPN RISE National High School Invitational was launched in 2009 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The inaugural tournament featured boys teams from Oak Hill Academy (Va.), Findlay Prep (Nev.), Montrose Christian (Md.), St. Benedict’s (N.J.), St. Frances Academy (Md.), Friends’ Central (Pa.), Mountain State Academy (W.Va.) and Pinewood Prep (S.C.) and girls teams from Riverdale Baptist (Md.), Seton Keough (Md.), Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and St. Frances Academy (Md.). The 2009 ESPN RISE National High School Invitational boys tournament was won by Findley Prep and the girls tournament was won by Seton Keough. 


ESPN RISE represents ESPN’s commitment to engage and elevate student athletes by providing them with recognition, resources, information and inspiration that can motivate them to improve their skills and achieve their goals on and off their fields of play.  ESPN RISE assets include ESPN RISE, GIRL, Hardwood and Gridiron magazines;; and more than 160 high school events including Elite 11, Boost Mobile Elite 24, ESPN RISE Games, ESPN RISE National High School Invitational, Faster to First, Area Code Baseball and Nike Combines/Nike SPARQ Mini Camps.  ESPN RISE is uniquely positioned to provide student athletes and the company’s core fans with compelling high school sports content across all ESPN platforms. 

For comprehensive information on the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational please see: Media Kit

For photos: LINK


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