Some top national high school basketball teams and players are coming to Raleigh in December as part of the annual John Wall Holiday Invitational, hosted by Broughton High School’s Holiday Gymnasium.
The Holiday Invitational announced its 16-team boys basketball field and its eight girls teams, with brackets and match-ups to follow in the coming weeks.
Seven local teams will compete: Broughton, Garner, Word of God, Panther Creek, defending champ Heritage, Kinston and Greenfield School. Wesleyan Christian in High Point, Christ School in Arden, Rocky River in Mint Hill, Trinity Christian in Fayetteville and Cannon School in Concord are also in this year’s field. Joining them are Florida’s Downey Christian, University School, IMG Academy and defending champ Arizona’s Hillcrest Prep.
9 players to know
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Vernon Carey Jr., University School: Carey has received scholarship offers from Duke and UNC. He is a 6-foot-9, 245-pound center ranked by 247sports as the No. 1 player in the 2019 class. His dad was a starting offensive linemen for the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.
Joey Baker, Trinity Christian: Baker, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound small forward is ranked No. 22 among juniors by 247sports, making him the top in-state prospect in his class.
Coby White, Greenfield School: White already has more than 2,000 points in his career, and the senior has committed to UNC. The 6-foot-3, 165-pound point guard is ranked No. 20 by ESPN and No. 26 by 247sports.
Jayden Gardner, Heritage: The double-double machine leads the Huskies back in defense of last year’s bracket title. Heritage was undefeated in the regular season last year.
Keyshaun and Kobe Langley, Wesleyan Christian: These twin brothers, both committed to Virginia Tech, helped Southwest Guilford bring home last year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship, defeating Leesville Road. Both are about 6-foot-1, 150 pounds, but wreak havoc in their on-ball defense.
Kyree Walker, Hillcrest Prep: The 6-foot-4, 210-pound shooting guard is ranked the No. 5 sophomore in the country by ESPN and has already committed to coach Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State program.
Justin McKoy, Panther Creek: McKoy is a 6-foot-7 small forward who averaged a double-double last year and is receiving interest from N.C. State and other ACC schools.
Anfernee Simons, IMG Academy: On a loaded team, Simons is the top name. The 6-foot-4, 177-pound shooting guard, ranked the No. 8 senior in the country by ESPN, is a Louisville recruit. He has two teammates who are also in the top-30.
The girls’ field is loaded, starting with two runner-up teams: Southeast Raleigh and Neuse Christian. Also back is Heritage, the defending Holiday Invitational champ.
Hillside and Cary round out the five local teams.
Wesleyan Christian in High Point and Mallard Creek in Charlotte join Downey Christian (Fla.) to fill out the rest of the bracket.