Findlay Prep, one of the top prep basketball programs in the nation, is returning to South Dakota to compete in the fourth annual Mike Miller Classic on Dec. 27-28 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
The Las Vegas-based powerhouse, ranked No. 3 in the nation at the end of last season, participated at the event in 2010 and 2011 but was not in last year’s field.
This time around, Findlay Prep will play in the featured game against DeLaSalle of Minneapolis, led by four-star 6-foot-8 senior power forward Reid Travis, who is considering Minnesota, UCLA, Michigan State, Stanford and Gonzaga, among other schools.
Findlay Prep will counter with five-star recruits Rashad Vaughn (6-6, shoot guard) and Kelly Oubre (6-7, small forward) as the Pilots try to build on their 193-9 record over the last six years.
Vaughn has offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Connecticut, UCLA and Georgetown (among others), while Oubre has offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Louisville and more.
“We’re excited to be coming back to the Mike Miller Classic,” said Findlay Prep program director and associate head coach Andy Johnson, whose players typically travel 30,000 miles a year while taking classes and preparing for college at the private Henderson International School.
“The fans in South Dakota are always great and the level of competition is strong. We’re looking forward to it.”
As in past years, the event offers South Dakota teams a chanced to face off against powerhouse programs from five different states. Other out-of-state teams include Patrick Henry (Minn.), La Lumiere (Ind.), West Oaks Academy (Fla.) and Flora Macdonald (N.C.).
The tradition started in 2010, with NBA veteran and Mitchell native Miller envisioning a way to showcase high school basketball on the prairie.
"That’s the whole reason Mike wanted to do it – to see where South Dakota really stands," said tournament director Ernie Kuyper. “It’s an opportunity to show the nation what teams around here are made of, and we’ve got national teams calling us to get involved.”
South Dakota teams involved this year are Roosevelt, Mitchell, O’Gorman, Lincoln, Washington and Mitchell Christian.
So far the local teams have fared well, with Roosevelt knocking off The Rock out of Gainesville (Fla.) last year. In 2011, Lincoln upset DeLaSalle and O’Gorman came within a point of knocking off nationally ranked La Lumiere.
“These teams have been given an opportunity and they have responded,” said Kuyper. “That’s really good to see.”
Tickets for the Mike Miller Classic go on sale Oct. 1, with general admission seats $6 for students and $12 for adults per session. Limited reserved seats are available for $20 per session. Call the Corn Palace box office at 605-995-8430 or go to cornpalace.org
Friday, Dec. 27
3 p.m. – O’Gorman vs. Patrick Henry (Minn.)
4:30 p.m. – Washington vs. DeLaSalle (Minn.)
6 p.m. – Mitchell vs. La Lumiere (Ind.)
7:30 p.m. – Lincoln vs. West Oaks Academy (Fla.)
9 p.m. – Roosevelt vs. Flora Macdonald (N.C.)
Saturday, Dec. 28
1:30 p.m. – Mitchell Christian vs. Patrick Henry (Minn.)
3:30 p.m. – La Lumiere (Ind.) vs. West Oaks Academy (Fla.)
5:15 p.m. – Washington vs. Flora Macdonald (N.C.)
7 p.m. – Mitchell vs. O’Gorman
8:45 p.m. – Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. DeLaSalle (Minn.)