The 2016 Chick-Fil-A Classic saw #2 La Lumiere (IN) and Wheeler (GA) taking home tournament championships, however they were overshadowed by what quickly became the Zion Williamson show. The 2018 superstar was a man amongst boys, at the age of 16 years old. He finished with a tournament record 53 points and 16 rebounds, going 25-28 from the field in his opening night performance. This year may have been the first year for the Chick-Fil-A Classic slam dunk contest, but Williamson overshadowed the competition putting on his own in-game dunk contest finishing with monster tomahawk slams, posterizing defenders, and throwing down a windmill and 360-dunk in transition that blew the roof off Lower Richland High School. Standing room only was an understatement when he was on the court, as the event sold out each day he played, hours before he took the court.
The 16-year old highlight reel wasn’t the only player to shine at the event as many other high-major individuals put on a show in Columbia, SC as well. Jarius Hamilton went off for 31 second half points in a losing effort to Wheeler, catching fire in the second half, hitting transition three’s and throwing down a few big-time jams. On the other side, Wheeler may have been the most exciting team to watch at the event, led by their balanced high-powered offensive attack. 2018 Auburn-commit EJ Montgomery was dominant in the paint, showing off his ability to protect the rim on defense, and stretch his offense to the three point line. Dynamic guard duo Jordan Usher (USC) and Darius Perry (Louisville) were the playmakers for Wheeler’s offense, dishing out assists and throwing down a few memorable dunks. Wheeler tied the event record for points in a game, scoring 95 against Cannon, and running the table at the event, finishing 3-0 and winning the American division with a championship win over John Carroll (MD).
The most dominant team in the event was surely La Lumiere whose intensity on both ends of the court was unmatched by their opponents, knocking off Oldsmar Christian (FL), Hamilton Heights (TN), and Keenan (SC) en route to an National division championship. They were led by dominant Michigan-State commit Jaren Jackson who displayed his offensive repertoire finishing strong around the rim, stretching his shot out to the three point line, and playing the role of a deterrent around the rim. Floor general Tyger Campbell was flawless running the point for the national powerhouse, using his quickness, vision, and game management skills to dominate the opposition. Top-10 senior Brian Bowen was their leading scorer in the event, averaging 000 ppg and displaying numerous finishing moves and a strong fadeaway jumper from the mid-range. The La Lumiere Lakers are going to be extremely tough to beat this season and have a deep and talented roster littered with high-major division one talent.
Although Zion Williamson was the headliner, his teammates couldn’t step up in their semifinal game against Keenan as their star was double, triple, and even quadruple teamed all night, finishing with just 19 points and 15 rebounds, well under his season average of 38 points per game going into the contest. In the auxiliary gym, Jalek Felton (North Carolina) put on a show of his own, finishing with 42 points in a tight 74-70 win over AC Flora (SC). Other notable performances came from Chuma Okeke (Auburn) who finished with 21 points and 23 rebounds in a Westlake (GA) loss to Lafayette Christian (LA) and Jaren Jackson Jr (Michigan State) who finished with 9 blocks against Oldsmar Christian (FL), tying him for third in event history with Jeff Withey.
2018 6’ 7” SF Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson completely dominated the competition at the Chick-Fil-A Classic. Although his team went just 1-2 at the event, his tournament record 53 points left a lasting impact on his legacy as a high school basketball legend. He averaged 35.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, and shot a staggering 78% from the field. Williamson is clearly a special talent that is built for the next level and attacks the rim like a young LeBron.
2017 6’ 10” PF Jaren Jackson Jr: (Michigan State)
Jaren Jackson Jr was the most impressive player for the best team at the event as he led La Lumiere to a National Division title, averaging 19.3 points, 9 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game. Jackson showed off his versatility driving to the basket and finishing at the rim, stepping out and hitting the three, and handling to ball in the backcourt at times.
2017 6’ 4” PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: (Kentucky)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a model of consistency at the Chick-Fil-A Classic with totals of 15 points and 8 rebounds, 20 points and 10 rebounds, and 20 points in 8 rebounds in his three matchups, averaging 18.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Although he didn’t have a great shooting percentage from the field he impacted the game in a multitude of ways with his leadership and athleticism on the court.
2018 6’ 9” PF EJ Montgomery: (Auburn)
EJ Montgomery was one of the most impressive prospects at the event, capturing the American Division MVP, averaging 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per contest. EJ Montgomery was a monster in the paint, altering shots on defense and finishing strong with his signature baby hook on the offensive end. Montgomery has developed well as he has transitioned into a more traditional post player, with the ability to stretch his game out to the three point line.
2017 6’ 2” PG Darius Perry: (Louisville)
Darius Perry is the floor general for a very talented Wheeler team and he put on a show at the Chick-Fil-A Classic. Finishing with flashy spin moves and powerful dunks at the basket and throwing plenty of alley-oops and behind the back assists to his teammates. The quick guard averaged 16.3 points, 6 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per contest and went 21-27 from the field and 6-8 from beyond the arc. He was more than impressive in his three outings.
2017 6’ 2” PG Devon Dotson
Devon Dotson averaged 26.7 points, 9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2 steals per game filling up the stat sheet throughout the elite event. Although his team went just 1-2, he was impressive throughout, finishing strong at the rim, battling against the taller defenders around the rim, and providing a spark whenever his team needed it. Dotson is great at getting into the lane and finishing amongst the big men, using his deceptive quickness to slice through the defense.
2018 6’ 4” SG Montez Mathis
Montez Mathis led John Carroll to the championship game in the American Division before falling to a very talented Wheeler team. Mathis averaged 23.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest and displayed his elite athleticism soaring to the rim and finishing strong in traffic. Mathis will need to improve his consistency on his outside shot before moving up to the next level, however with his strength and finishing ability he is a very intriguing young prospect.
2018 6’ 8” SF Jarius Hamilton
Jarius Hamilton put on a show at the Chick-Fil-A Classic leading his team to a 2-1 finish, averaging 31.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Hamilton needs to work on hitting his outside shot with more consistency, however when he has a full head of steam toward the rim he is unstoppable. Hamilton is a powerful finisher who is already built for the next level.
2017 6’ 7” SF Jordan Tucker
Jordan Tucker is one of the best catch and shoot prospects in the country, knocking down 7 three’s and averaging 15 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Tucker scored in a variety of ways, finishing with a couple ferocious dunks around the rim, hitting in the mid-range, and knocking down open looks from beyond the arc. Tucker is a high-level scorer who provides a consistent scoring punch to a stacked Wheeler offense.
2017 6’ 7” SF Brian Bowen
Brian Bowen won the MVP of the National Division, averaging 19 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He was a vital part of La Lumiere’s championship run as was a consistent scorer in each of their three games. Bowen is a strong outside shooter and has a great mid-range fadeaway jumper that he hits over shorter defenders. Bowen is a top-10 prospect nationally and will continue to make his mark with a tough upcoming schedule for the national power.
First Round Matchups:
#2 La Lumiere (IN) over Oldsmar Christian (FL) 86-63
Hamilton Heights Christian (TN) over #16 Greensboro Day (NC) 56-53
Keenan (SC) over AC Flora (SC) 62-55
Spartansburg Day (SC) over Gray Collegiate (SC) 73-53
#2 La Lumiere (IN) over Keenan (SC) 77-58
3rd Place Game:
Hamilton Heights (TN) over Spartanburg Day (SC) 91-68
#16 Greensboro Day (NC) over Oldsmar Christian (FL) 66-24
Gray Collegiate (SC) over AC Flora (SC) 74-70
Oldsmar Christian (FL) over AC Flora 64-59
#16 Greensboro Day (NC) over Gray Collegiate (SC) 54-49
First Round Matchups:
John Carroll (MD) over Lafayette Christian (LA) 60-44
Wheeler (GA) over Blythewood (SC) 79-61
Wheeler (GA) over John Carroll (MD) 64-53
3rd Place Game:
Blythewood (SC) over Lafayette Christian (LA) 67-51