Officials of The Culligan City of Palms Classic and Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) today announced an agreement to move the beloved 43-year-old boy’s high school basketball tournament from its 22-year home at Bishop Verot Catholic High School to the Suncoast Credit Union Arena at FSW in 2016. The new 75,000-square-foot, 3,300-seat Suncoast Credit Union Arena, which is currently under construction and is slated for completion in the fall of 2016, was chosen for its ability to accommodate the growing tournament well into the future. In the meantime, basketball fans can purchase tickets for the 2015 Classic, to be held at Bishop Verot, starting Oct. 1 at cityofpalmsclassic.com.
Tournament President Bill Pollock said, “We value the hospitality and wonderful memories Verot has afforded us, and we cannot overstate how instrumental our partnership has been in the success of the Classic over the last couple of decades. The school and administration has had a large hand in building the tournament to the point where we needed to seek out a new venue that will offer the facilities and space needed to ensure a great experience for players and fans far into the future.”
FSW President Dr. Jeff Allbritten said, “FSW is very pleased to host this prestigious event in our Suncoast Credit Union Arena starting in 2016. The City of Palms Classic is a long-standing tradition in Fort Myers, which has set the standard when it comes to attracting exceptionally talented high school teams from around the country. Hundreds of these players have gone on to Division I teams and the NBA. It speaks volumes for the organizers of this event because of the caliber of teams that compete, and that such nationally recognized coaches and players like Mike Krzyzewski, Larry Bird and Doc Rivers have attended.”
FSW (then Edison Community College) hosted the City of Palms Classic from 1973-83 and then again in 1990 and 1993.
Bishop Verot Principal Denny Dennison said, “Verot administration, students, alumni, parents and volunteers should be proud of their contributions to the success of the Classic. As the tournament continues to build its excellent legacy into the future, I’m proud that we have had the privilege of seeing it become the standard by which all other basketball tournaments are judged. And I know the Black & Gold family will continue its generous support of the tournament even after it’s in its new home.”
Culligan returns for its third year as Title Sponsor, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car is Presenting Sponsor for the second year. Official apparel & game ball provider, Nike, has given the Culligan City of Palms Classic its blessing to integrate its iconic “swoosh” into the tournament’s elegant new logo.
The 2015 Culligan City of Palms Classic runs December 18 through 23 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School. No fees are collected from players and teams, and Classic Basketball Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that acts as a foundation for the tournament, covers all expenses for the players. For many of the players, the tournament represents their first opportunity to travel outside their own city.
More than 530 Culligan City of Palms players have advanced to NCAA Division I competition, with more than 60 advancing to play professionally in the NBA. Hundreds of coaches and scouts at every level use this venue for recruiting.
Visit cityofpalmsclassic.com for all the information on this not-for-profit tournament featuring the top-ranked players and teams, including visitor information, ticket sales, schedule, team information, history, sponsors and sponsorship opportunities, eNewsletter signup, a tournament bracket, scores and stats, information on how to lend financial support as a Friend of the Classic, and much more.
City of Palms Classic | Historical Highlights
· More than 530 players have advanced to NCAA Division I competition
· More than 60 players have advanced to play professionally in the National Basketball Association, including:
o 2010 NBA 1st Overall Pick John Wall
o Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson
o 2014 NBA 1st Overall Pick and 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins
o 2015 NBA 2nd Overall Pick Jahlil Okafor
o Three-time All-NBA selection and four-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge
· Seventy-eight players have played in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game at the end of their senior seasons, including 14 in each of the past five seasons.
· The 2008 tournament was labeled: “The best field in the history of high school basketball” by national recruiting guru Clark Francis of HoopScoop Magazine.
· Hundreds of coaches and scouts at every level use this venue for recruiting. Here are some of the top NCAA Division I coaches that have attended past tournaments.
o Roy Williams
o Mike Krzyzewski
o Billy Donovan
o John Calipari
· Many other top NBA celebrities have attended past tournaments including:
o Larry Bird – NBA Hall of Fame Member
o Doc Rivers – Head Coach of the Los Angeles Clippers
o Donnie Walsh – Former President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers
About Suncoast Credit Union Arena
Suncoast Credit Union Arena, which is set to be completed in Fall 2016, will be approximately 75,000 square feet and will host the FSW Buccaneers’ basketball and volleyball teams, and a student athletic center. The arena will seat approximately 3,300 fans and include six skyboxes, a hospitality event center, competition courts that convert into recreational courts, athletic office space, student, faculty and staff wellness, and an athletic center with a fitness pavilion, men’s and women’s locker rooms and a weight training area.
Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving more than 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW will debut its intercollegiate athletics program in the fall 2015. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information. For more information about FSW Athletics, visit www.FSWBUCS.com.
About the Culligan City of Palms Classic
Founded in 1973, the City of Palms tournament began, like so many tournaments today, as a simple, local, holiday basketball tournament. Over the years, the tournament grew and expanded its scope to include the nation’s finest athletes and teams, and over the past 22 years, has set the standard by which all tournaments are compared. Classic Basketball Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation created for the purpose of managing the Culligan City of Palms Classic. For more information and to sign up for the eNewsletter, visit cityofpalmsclassic.com.