The Bass Pro Tournament of Champions gets going on Jan. 12. The championship is on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. prior to the nationally televised third place and championship games.
Here is what you need to know.
This field is loaded. Here is a rundown of the teams and their rankings.
Sierra Canyon (Calif.) – MaxPreps National #3, USA Today #2
Montverde (Fla.) – MaxPreps Independent #3, USA Today #4
Findlay Prep (Nev.) – MaxPreps Independent #2, USA Today #8
Memphis East (Tenn.) – MaxPreps National #6,
Greenforest (Ga.) – MaxPreps National #22
Madison Prep (La.) – MaxPreps Louisiana #1
Note: MaxPreps divides its National Rankings between Independent schools that are not affiliated with a state organization and those that are. Montverde and Findlay Prep fall into the Independent categories.
Kickapoo and Republic are the local teams that round out the field.
That is four nationally ranked Top 10 teams, another Top 25 and the final that is No. 1 in the state of Louisiana. The opening round game between Memphis East and Greenforest has to be one of the best in terms of rankings in the tournament’s history.
THE TOP PLAYERS
All of the teams are loaded with talent as evidenced by their high national rankings. Here we will look at the top players ranked in their class by both Rivals and ESPN.
Marvin Bagley (Sierra Canyon Junior)
RANKINGS: ESPN #1, Rivals #1
COLLEGE INTEREST: Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, Alabama, Baylor, Connecticut, Louisville, Oregon, North Carolina
Bagley just missed out on playing in this tournament last year after he was ruled ineligible due to transfer rules. He is the consensus No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018. He will get to pick his college and likely be a one-and-done when his time comes. Through five games he is averaging 26.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
R.J. Barrett (Montverde Sophomore)
RANKINGS: ESPN #1, Rivals #2
COLLEGE INTEREST: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Mizzou
If it wasn’t for Michael Porter Jr. transferring, this year’s tournament could have had three No. 1 players. Alas, Porter Jr. is tearing it up at Nathan Hale in Washington. Barrett, who is Canadian born, already stands at 6’7, 185 pounds as just a sophomore. His is a name that will only continue to blow up.
Andrew Nembhard (Montverde Sophomore)
RANKINGS: ESPN #15, Rivals #17
COLLEGE INTEREST: Baylor, Florida, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Stanford, USC, Villanova, Virginia Tech
The future of Canadian basketball is bright with Montverde’s two stars. Also a sophomore, Nembhard is a 6’3, 160-pound point guard that should supply highlights for those who enjoy ball handling and passing.
P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep Senior)
RANKINGS: ESPN #16, Rivals #17
COMMITTED TO KENTUCKY
A highly rated recruit going to Kentucky? You know his ceiling is high. Washington is the top ranked senior in the field and one of the most likely to give the area those highlight-reel dunks people come out for. He is a 6’8, 229-pound point-forward who plays his AAU ball for former Orlando Magic great Penny Hardaway. Hardaway coincidentally is coaching in this tournament as the head man for Memphis East. He does a little bit of everything for Findlay as he averages 19.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.3 blocks per game.
Chandler Lawson (Memphis East Sophomore)
RANKINGS: ESPN #18, Rivals #27
COLLEGE INTEREST: Florida
Lawson is another in a long line of highly touted sophomores in this field. He stands at 6’8 and is 180 pounds. This type of tournament is big for his profile with the chance to go up against some of the best in the nation in his own class.
Rechon Black (Montverde Junior)
RANKINGS: ESPN #32, Rivals #39
COMMITTED TO NORTH CAROLINA
Montverde’s first year here saw D’Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons, Dakari Johnson and more take the floor. Ben Simmons was a junior when he played here, so he hadn’t quite blown up to the level he would. That could be the case with much of Montverde’s top stars. There is a lot of youth, but they will be the faces of college basketball programs in just a couple years.
Cody Riley (Sierra Canyon Senior)
RANKINGS: Rivals #34, ESPN #44
COMMITTED TO UCLA
Cody Riley was a star in last year Tournament of Champions, as he averaged 20 points per game. That included a line of 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in the championship loss to Oak Hill. This year he is averaging 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds through five games.
T.J. Moss (Memphis East Junior)
RANKINGS: Rivals #53, ESPN #59
COLLEGE INTEREST: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia Tech
Moss is a 6’3 combo-guard that does a little bit of everything for Penny Hardaway’s Memphis East team.
Josh Anderson (Madison Prep Senior)
RANKINGS: Rivals #43, ESPN #71
COMMITTED TO WESTERN KENTUCKY
Anderson is a 6’4, 174-pound senior going to Western Kentucky. Don’t let the small school he is going to throw you off. Western Kentucky also signed the No. 9 player in the Class of 2017. He had offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, LSU, North Carolina State and Texas A&M that he turned down to join Western Kentucky.
Ike Obiagu (Greenforest Senior)
RANKINGS: ESPN #41, Rivals #74
COMMITTED TO FLORIDA STATE
If you want big time blocks, Ike Obiagu will be your man. He stands at 7’0 tall weighing 230 pounds. Obiagu is a rare case of a top player who isn’t his team’s best scorer. In fact he is fifth on Greenforest at 7.8 points per game. What he is doing is blocking shots while averaging and astounding 7.5 blocks per game. The Florida State commit is the only major prospect in the tournament that cracks the seven-foot barrier.
Other players to watch
In addition to the 10 players listed above, there are 23 more players that either have signed or are getting interest from Division I programs.
Jake Betlow (6’0, 165-pound Sophomore) – OFFER FROM: Stony Brook
Marcus Carr (6’2, 170-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Pittsburg — 247: #139
Cameron Healy (6’3 Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Albany
Sandro Mamukelashvili (6’11, 230-pound Senior) – OFFERS FROM: Boston College, Louisville, Seton Hall, SMU, USC, Vanderbilt — 247: #107
Sean Mobley (6’9, 225-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: VCU — 247: #152
Reggie Chaney (6’7, 215-pound Junior) – INTEREST FROM: Kansas — RIVALS: #99, 247: #143
Chris Giles (6’3, 175-pound Senior) – OFFERS FROM: Houston, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M — 247: #224
Justin Roberts (5’11, 155-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: DePaul – 247: #227
Donnie Tillman (6’7, 225-pound Senior) – OFFERS FROM: Utah, Boston College, Cleveland State, Creighton, Iowa State, Marquette, San Diego State, UNLV, USC, Virginia Tech — 247: #239
Mohammed Abdulsalem (6’9, 250-pound Junior) – OFFERS FROM: Georgia Tech, Providence, UAB — 247: #210
Victor Enoh (6’8, 229-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Memphis — 247: #167
Justin Forrest (6’2, 175-pound Senior) – OFFERS FROM: Jacksonville, New Hampshire, Tennessee-Martin, Troy
Abayomi Iyiola (6’8, 215-pound Senior) – OFFERS FROM: Alcorn State, College of Charleston, SMU
Marcus Bagley (6’6, 185-pound Freshman) – OFFERS FROM: Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA
Remy Martin (5’11, 170-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Arizona State — RIVALS: #130, 247: #140
Adam Seiko (6’0, 175-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: San Diego State
Antavion Collum (6’5, 200-pound Sophomore) – OFFER FROM: Tennessee-Martin
Malcolm Dandridge (6’8, 200-pound Sophomore) – OFFER FROM: Memphis
Alex Lomax (5’11, 189-pound Junior) – OFFERS FROM: Memphis, California, Florida, LSU, Massachusetts — RIVALS: #127, 247: #121
Kobe Julien (6’5, 185-pound Junior) – OFFER FROM: Louisiana-Lafayette
Josh LeBlanc (6’5, 180-pound Junior) – RIVALS: #111, 247: #106
Cameron Davis (6’0, 170-pound Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Navy
Jared Ridder (Senior) – COMMITTED TO: Xavier — RIVALS: #133, 247: #176