Any high school basketball fan in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex who doesn't already have plans to be in Waxahachie this weekend should go ahead and cancel whatever it is you thought you were doing.
Over two dozen of the top high school boys hoopers in the country are set to descend on Mike Turner Gymnasium for seven battles on the hardwood in the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest Dallas. It is the first-ever time for Waxahachie to host the two-day showcase and Runnin' Indians head coach Greg Gober has already labeled it as the biggest basketball event to ever be hosted in the city.
According to its website, the National Hoopfest was initially established in 2011 as the Penny Hardaway Classic. The organization has hosted more than one dozen tournaments in the seven years since in cities such as Memphis, Las Vegas, Tampa and, soon, Waxahachie.
"Our 2015 game featuring Oak Hill Academy vs. Hamilton High School (Memphis, TN) was ESPN’s highest-rated high school game of the year, reaching almost six million viewers," the site states. "We continue to draw the best national and local high school talent, having had over 100 D1 scholarship athletes participate in the event, including five NBA lottery picks."
The National Hoopfest tour also benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. According to its history tab on the website, the mission of St. Jude is to "advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay."
The two-day showcase tournament is sponsored by Groove Creative, Nike, ARS Rescue Rooter, ESPN, MaxPreps, Cinemark, BallerTV and Three Point Search.
The Runnin' Indians fell to nationally-ranked Chicago Simeon last season, 66-59, in the National Hoopfest Dallas held at Lancaster High School.
Waxahachie will enter the weekend with an 8-2 record.
Tickets are $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday and available at go.nationalhoopfest.com/tickets.
6:30 p.m. Desoto vs. IMG Academy (FL)
8 p.m. Waxahachie vs. Huntington Prep (WV)
2 p.m. Chicago Simeon vs. JJ Pierce
3:30 p.m. Huntington Prep (WV) vs. Lancaster
5 p.m. South Garland vs. Sunrise Christian (KS)
6:30 p.m. Dematha (MD) vs. Denton-Guyer
8 p.m. IMG Academy (FL) vs. Waxahachie