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City of Palms Classic Notebook: Emery opts for LDS mission, Johnson cuts list


FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) point guard Nick Emery signed with BYU during the NCAA’s early signing period in November, but he won’t arrive on campus until the 2015-16 season.

Instead, Emery, a devout Mormon who is ranked No. 14 among point guards in the ESPN 100, will graduate early and leave for his Latter-day Saints mission in April.

“I’m so excited about my decision,” Emery said. “I’ve never debated whether I was gonna actually go on a mission. I’ve always wanted to go and preach the gospel so I can’t wait.”

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He won’t have to wait long to find out where his mission will take place. Emery said his mission call came in the mail since he’s been at the City of Palms Classic.

“I can’t wait to get back home to find out where I’ll be,” Emery said. “I’ll open it on Monday so the suspense is pretty crazy right now. It’s definitely what I’ve always wanted to do so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I won’t be playing much basketball during my mission, but basketball will always be there.”

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Emery scored 23 points to lead Lone Peak, ranked No. 7 in the Super 25, past No. 4 Chester (Chester, Pa.), 73-50, Thursday night in the quarterfinals. Lone Peak will face No. 12 Southwind (Memphis) tonight at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.

Johnson cuts his list to three

Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) center Dakari Johnson announced that he cut his list down to just three schools: Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse. That meant Kansas, Ohio State and Florida didn’t make the cut for Johnson, who is ranked No. 12 in the ESPN 100.

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Johnson scored nine points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the No. 2 Eagles’ 68-63 win over No. 14 Whitney Young (Chicago) Thursday night in the quarterfinals. The Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the Super 25, will face No. 5 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) tonight at 9:30 p.m. in the semifinals.

Lone Peak snaps Chester’s win streak

With Thursday’s big win, Lone Peak not only crushed Chester’s hopes of winning the City of Palms Classic title, it also crushed the Clippers’ 61-game win streak. Chester last lost nearly two years ago.

The Clippers will have a chance to avenge Thursday’s loss. They faceoff with the Knights on Jan. 12 at the Brandon Jennings Invitational.

Southwind has been dominant

As quiet as it’s kept Southwind has been the most dominant team at the City of Palms Classic thus far. The Clippers have won two games by an averages of 28 points per game.

First they knocked off Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) and Thursday they made easy work of Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.). Clippers guard JaJuan Johnson said that the Clippers “came here to make a statement.”

“This is probably the biggest tournament of the year,” said Johnson, a Marquette signee. “We know that if we can win this we can get closer to being at the top of the Super 25. We don’t care to the point that we’re talking about it all the time, but we want to be the No. 1 team in the country. That’s why we’re here.”

End of the world?

When the clock struck midnight Friday there were still six minutes left in regulation of the City of Palms Classic quarterfinals between Whitney Young and Montverde.

During a timeout, the tournament DJ played R.E.M.’s “End of the World” which seemed to spook some players and fans who quickly signaled for him to cut it off. The supposed end of the Mayan calendar has prompted doomsday speculation across the globe.

“Well, we’re still here,” yelled one fan as the Montverde bench nodded and smiled.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.

 

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