Nation's elite set for Mike Miller Classic
The wrapping paper has been torn, the carols have been sung and the family portraits have been taken. This means one thing for sports fans in Mitchell.
It’s time for the Mike Miller Classic at the Corn Palace.
The fourth annual event put together by the Mike Miller Foundation, has brought back some familiar faces and new talent to one of the top high school basketball arenas in the country.
“The Corn Palace is pretty special,” La Lumiere coach Alan Huss said. “From the exterior to the way it is set up, it’s fan friendly and a great place to play.”
La Lumiere, from La Porte, Ind., brings a 12-1 record and the No. 20 national ranking, according to USA Today, and will play the hometown Mitchell Kernels at 6 p.m. Friday.
It will be the third appearance for the Lakers at the Mike Miller Classic and this year will be their first opportunity to play the host team.
“In the past we were lucky to have some of the local fan support, but I don’t expect that to be the case this time around when we play the Kernels,” Huss said jokingly.
La Lumiere is led by 6-foot-7 forward Sam Logwood, who is verbally committed to play for Auburn University next year. Against Watertown in 2012, Logwood scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Lakers.
La Lumiere guard Jalen Colmen is one of the top juniors expected for the event. He is the No. 34 prospect in the country for the 2015 class, according to Rivals.com, and has offers from Michigan, Indiana and Arizona just to name a few.
The Lakers went 2-0 at the event last year, topping Watertown 76-59 and routing Sioux Falls Washington 91-27. In addition to playing the Kernels this year, La Lumiere will play West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) (12-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Kernels (1-3) will have their hands full dealing with the size of the Lakers, who have four players 6-foot-6 or taller and no starter under 6-foot-2. The Kernels’ tallest player stands 6-foot-4.
Mitchell, which is coming off two losses in Rapid City last weekend, also plays Sioux Falls O’Gorman in the event’s penultimate game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“They have done a nice job of bringing in talent to the tournament from across the country,” O’Gorman coach Derek Robey said. “It is nice to get away from the normal grind of playing teams in the state and our kids enjoy playing against these talented teams.”
O’Gorman has taken part on the classic each of the four years.
Best of the best
The schedule saves the best matchup for last, as Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) takes on De La Salle (Minneapolis, Minn.) at 8:45 p.m. Saturday in the classic finale.
Findlay Prep in the No. 1 high school team in the country and boosts four McDonald’s All-American nominees, including five-star prospects, Rashad Vaughn and Kelly Oubre.
Vaughn is currently rated by Rivals as the No. 7 senior in the country and holds offers from Arizona, North Carolina and Kansas among many others. Oubre, is the No. 12 recruit according to Rivals and has committed to playing for Kansas next season.
Findlay, 15-3 on the season, also brings Arizona commit Craig Victor and future UCLA Bruin forward Jonah Bolden.
De La Salle’s returns with star Reid Travis, who lit up the classic a year ago and has since committed to playing for Stanford next season. Travis is the No. 40 prospect in the country, according to Rivals and in a game last year against Our Savior New American, the 6-foot-8 forward scored 34 points.
Geno Crandall, a North Dakota commit, and James Lawson, a Sioux Falls commit, figure to play key roles for De La Salle (4-1) as well.
Golden Eagles added
For the first time, both high schools in Mitchell will be represented in the Mike Miller Classic, as Mitchell Christian School will participate in the event for the first time.
“Our kids are really looking forward to the opportunity,” Mitchell Christian coach Dennis Martin said. “The bigger the arena, the bigger the stage. This will be the first time playing at the Corn Palace for a lot of our kids.”
The Golden Eagles (2-1) play Patrick Henry (Minneapolis, Minn.) in the opening game of the Saturday session at 1:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry is a five-time state champion in Minnesota and will be at the Classic for the first time under new coach Jeremy Miller.
“There have been a lot of great teams at the event over the years,” Miller said. “It is a top-flight event and has great national recognition. We have only heard great things about playing at the Corn Palace.”
Notes: Other teams participating in the Mike Miller Classic include Sioux Falls Washington, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Flora Macdonald (Red Springs, N.C.)…… The event is put together by Mike Miller’s childhood friend and president of the Mike Miller Foundation Ernie Kuyper…. The classic was moved back to a two-day format for 2013, after taking place over a three-day span last year for the first time…. Mike Miller will not be in attendance for the classic, as the Memphis Grizzlies forward has games scheduled for today and Saturday. Miller’s last appearance at the event was 2011.