- HIGHSCHOOL - Slam Dunk to the Beach Preview

Wednesday, July 16
Slam Dunk to the Beach Preview

Check in each day of the tournament for up-to-date information, including a daily notebook, from senior writer Jeff Goodman. You can e-mail Jeff at for any questions you'd like to ask the players.

The 36-team field at the 2000 Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament (Lewes, Del.) is so stacked that coaches are calling it the best group of high school basketball teams ever assembled in one place. There are seven teams from's Top 25 National Poll, and the event also features a first-round matchup between two of the country's top big men.
St. Jude High (Ala.) center Ousmane Cisse is still undecided about whether to jump straight to the NBA.

Second-ranked Willowridge High (Sugar Land, Texas) will try to defend its title and show that it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Va.), which is coming off a win over No. 3 Mater Dei (Calif.) in the final of the Holiday Prep Classic (Las Vegas).

Other top 25 squads include No. 10 Southern High (Baltimore, Md.), No. 12 Midwest City High (Midwest City, Okla.), No. 13 Berkmar High (Lilburn, Ga.), No. 16 St. Patrick's (Elizabeth, N.J.), No. 21 Dominguez High (Compton, Calif.) and No. 22 Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.).

The finals will take place Saturday at 9:15 p.m. ET.

"There has never been anything in history that could even compare to this field," Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament director Bobby Jacobs told "There will be over 200 college coaches, 21 or 22 NBA scouts and more than 300 members of the media."

The tournament begins on Tuesday with games going from 8 a.m. until about 11 p.m. (click here for a complete event schedule), but the much-anticipated first-round showdown between Dominguez High's 6-foot-11 center Tyson Chandler and Montgomery St. Jude's (Ala.) 6-foot-9 big man Ousmane Cisse takes place Thursday at 8 p.m.

It will be a rematch Chandler has been looking forward to for a while since Cisse got the best of him in the Nike All American Camp last summer. Both players are considering jumping straight to the NBA.

Immediately following the Chandler-Cisse matchup will be a game featuring a pair of's top teams. Willowridge, led by unselfish point guard T.J. Ford (Texas) and sharpshooter Daniel Ewing (Duke), will go up against No. 10 Southern, which is led by North Carolina-bound gunner Melvin Scott (19.5 ppg).

"This field is just loaded," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "We saw Willowridge last year in this tournament and they're a year older, wiser and better."

The field is so talented that No. 22 Germantown will face Saint Edward High (Ohio) and its star forward, Jawad Williams (North Carolina), in the lesser bracket of the tournament.

"This is the third time we've been to this tournament and we've also been to the one in Myrtle Beach (S.C.)," said Lakewood coach Eric Flannery. "People you talk to just can't believe the amount of talent this year. We're in the second bracket and could still end up playing two top 25 teams."

Other top players in the tournament include Lakewood Mayfair High's (Calif.) Josh Childress (Stanford), Coatesville High's (Pa.) John Allen (Seton Hall), Murrah High (Miss.) Maurice Williams (Alabama), East Greenbush Columbia's (N.Y.) 7-foot center Craig Forth (Syracuse), Midwest City junior standouts Shelden Williams and DeAngelo Alexander, Rice High (N.Y.) 7-foot-2 junior Shagari Alleyne and the nation's top freshman, Abraham Lincoln High's (N.Y.) Sebastian Telfair.

St. Patrick's will also try to win its third Slam Dunk to the Beach crown, but may have to do it without its top player, 6-foot-9 Marcus Austin (Villanova). Austin is out indefinitely with mononucleosis and his status for the tournament is still uncertain.

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