By Brandon Speck
When Vince Overholt and Gary Caveness started talking about the possibility of this week’s Lighthouse Thanksgiving Classic, they figured it would take as much time to do something small as it would to start big.
“Let’s start it something really big and see how big we can take it after that,” said Overholt, board vice president for the Corinth Christian non-profit.
Nice start. The 13-game event Friday and Saturday at Corinth High School features four players in the ESPN 100 and the No. 1-ranked players from Mississippi (Moss Point’s Devin Booker, a Kentucky commit) and Tennessee (White Station’s LeRon Black, an Illinois commit). Black’s teammate Chris Chiozza (Florida) is considered the top player by some outlets. Wenonah, Ala.’s Justin Coleman is the No. 2 player in Alabama, an Alabama commit.
White Station is the top-team in Tennessee and will play Texas’ No. 2 public school DeSoto Saturday at 8 p.m. Tupelo and 1A champ Biggersville open the tournament Friday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for come-and-go, $5 for kids.
Class 4A contender Corinth will take on Booker and Moss Point Friday at 6:30 p.m. DeSoto will face Louisiana’s Madison Prep at 8 p.m. Prep features Brandon Sampson, Louisiana’s top junior, with offers from Alabama, Baylor, Louisville, LSU and Vanderbilt.
Madison Prep and Wenonah, Alabama’s top team, face off Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
“There’s not a lot of tournaments, especially this time of year, where they can say they’ve got one game where they have five guys on the court that are major DI signees,” Overholt said. “We believe our classic is one of the best early-season ones anywhere.”
That game is White Station vs. DeSoto. White Station is No. 12 in the country. Along with Black (a 6-foot-7 PF) and the 5-foot-11 PG Chiozza, SG Davell Roby has committed to Saint Louis.
DeSoto boasts two commits, 6-foot-7 post players Terry Maston (Baylor) and Devin Wyatt (Loyola Marymount). Those are just the players already committed.
“It was important for us to involve the local teams, but at the same time bring in for this geographical reason, top, top talent,” Overholt said. “I believe we’ll see a minimum of two kids in this tournament that will eventually be in the NBA.”