FORT MYERS, Fla. – Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) was sporting a green caterpillar on the back of their jerseys during the City of Palms Classic.
The symbol was inspired by Connor Cruse, an 8-year-old boy who died of cancer in 2009. TeamConnor.org introduced “Connor the Caterpillar” last year.
“Connor was a part of the school and the church and he impacted a lot of the kids there,” said Prestonwood Christian coach Chris Mayberry. “It’s just something we wanted to do to get the message out about cancer awareness.”
Championships are set
Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), ranked No. 2 in the Super 25, knocked off No. 5 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), 76-51, in the City of Palms Classic semifinals Friday night to earn a trip to tonight’s championship game.
The Eagles will face No. 7 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) at 9 p.m. The Knights rolled past No. 12 Southwind (Memphis), 67-52.
Montverde coach Kevin Boyle last won the City of Palms Classic in 2010 when he was the head coach at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.).
In the City of Palms Classic's Signature Series finals, No. 3 Huntington (W.Va.) Prep will face Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) at 7 p.m.
3-point and Dunk champions
Lone Peak point guard Nick Emery, a BYU signee, drained 19 3-pointers in the final round to win the 3-point contest. ESPN color commentator Dick Vitale presented Emery with his trophy.
Emery’s teammate Eric Mika, a forward who is also signed to BYU, took home the slam dunk title after Emery threw Mika a lob off the back of the backboard which he caught from out of bounds and dunked. That earned Mika a perfect score of 70 and the coveted trophy.
Greene seizes golden opportunity to recruit Randle
Tifton County (Tifton, Ga.) shooting guard Brannen Greene thinks that there’s a “solid” chance that Prestonwood Christian forward Julius Randle could join him at Kansas next season.
Still, Greene wanted to upgrade that to probable.
Imagine his excitement when he bumped into Randle, who is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals150, in the lobby of his hotel on the first day of the City of Palms Classic.
“Julius is my boy so I definitely want him to come play with me next year,” said Greene, who signed with the Jayhawks in November. “I was working on him this week so hopefully that will help. You just never know though. But hey having him in my hotel couldn’t hurt, right.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.