Bishop Gorman boys basketball coach Grant Rice was working late Tuesday, taking care of the final details for the Tarkanian Classic.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort in,” said Rice, who also is the tournament’s co-director. “It’s all worth it.”
The fifth annual Tarkanian Classic, which has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent holiday basketball events, opens Thursday with 12 showcase games at Bishop Gorman.
This year’s tournament features five 16-team boys brackets — up from 60 total teams last year — along with an expanded 23-team girls bracket and the prep school boys division. More than 30 local boys and girls teams are expected to participate.
The title game for the boys Platinum Division is scheduled for 6:20 p.m. Tuesday at Gorman. The full tournament schedule includes games at Desert Oasis, Faith Lutheran, Heinrich YMCA and Orleans Arena and can be found at Nevadapreps.com.
“I really didn’t make a big effort to make it grow,” Rice said. “I guess word of mouth has spread that this is a really good tournament. We’re just trying to honor Coach (Jerry) Tarkanian and everything he did for the city.”
Host Gorman will participate in the Platinum Division along with locals Clark and Desert Pines. That bracket also features Chino Hills (California), the reigning mythical national champion and the hottest act in high school basketball.
The Huskies open against Clark at 2:40 p.m. Friday at Gorman.
“They’re like the Golden State Warriors,” Rice said of Chino Hills, which averaged 100.3 points through its first six games. “They have kids that are rock stars right now. I’m excited to have them out here and add to the hype of the tournament.”
Also entered in the Platinum Division is Crossroads (California), which is led by former Clark coach Chad Beeten and includes junior forward Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal.
The girls bracket includes 11 local teams, with powers Gorman, Liberty and Spring Valley part of the field.
“I’m really proud there’s so many local teams,” Rice said. “We want to provide the local teams with a great venue, play great competition and be seen by college coaches.”
BUCHMAN HITS MILESTONE
Adelson School senior Jake Buchman went over the 1,000-point mark for his career during the Lions’ 60-26 victory over Spring Mountain on Thursday.
Buchman had 13 points to give him 1,001 career points entering Tuesday’s Class 2A Southern League game against The Meadows.
■ Agassi Prep senior Zeivaun Ned to Southern Utah for football.
■ Coronado senior Preston Judd to Sacramento State for men’s soccer.
■ Desert Oasis senior Nick Benham to Weber State for men’s track and field.
■ Centennial senior Karina Haymore to Brigham Young for women’s track and field.
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.