On Tuesday, the Delaware Sports Commission announced the four Delaware schools that will participate in this December’s Slam Dunk to the Beach, including the defending Division I DIAA State Champion Smyrna Eagles, state runner-up a year ago in Caravel Academy, Howard and host school Cape Henlopen.
This year’s tournament is set for Dec. 27-29, presented by Grotto Pizza. Back for its fourth consecutive year, the tournament has drawn more than 30,000 fans, players and participants.
“In year four, Slam Dunk to the Beach has become the event we aspired it to be,” said Chairman of the Delaware Sports Commission, Dr. Matthew Robinson. “With national recognition, top-tier talent and support from the local community, Slam Dunk to the Beach will continue to provide positive economic impact to Sussex County. This could not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, local businesses and community leaders.”
Over the years, Slam Dunk to the Beach has hosted some of the nation’s premier players, including LeBron James (2001), Kevin Durant (2003) and Carmelo Anthony (2000), but recent participants are already making their presence felt in the world of hoops. Cheick Diallo (2014) is the newest Slam Dunk alm to make the NBA, now in his second season with the New Orleans Pelicans. In college basketball, Mohamed Bamba (2015, 2016) will make his debut for the Texas Longhorns this fall after ranking as the No. 4 prospect in the 2017 class by ESPN.
Howard High School joins the tournament, led by returning all-state standout Lamar Woody. A playoff team a season ago, the Wildcats and Head Coach Rahsaan Matthews look to take another step forward in 2017.
Smyrna’s opponent in last year’s state title game, Caravel Academy, is led by all-state guard O’Koye Parker who helped take the Bucs from the No. 19 seed all the way to the championship game. Head Coach Mark Tobin and Caravel hope another trip to the state title game is in their future.
With Smyrna participating, the tournament has now featured the reigning state champion four years in a row. Coach Mears and the Eagles bring a talented squad back to the hardwood this year including returning all-state selections Caleb Matthews and Jaymeir Garnett.
Host school, Cape Henlopen, is led by two returning seniors in Ian Robertson and Randy Rickards. Head Coach Steve Re and the Vikings advanced to the second round of the DIAA State Tournament last season and look for more growth this year.