HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A pair of exciting men's basketball classics featuring some of the top teams in NCAA Divisions II and III are coming to Honolulu during the holidays as College Tournaments Hawaii LLC. presents the Hoops In Hawaii Thanksgiving Classic and the Hoops In Hawaii Holiday Classic.
In its third year of existence the Classics have grown to a field of 16 teams, including sponsoring school Hawaii Pacific University playing in both Classics. The Sharks finished last season ranked #4 in the final poll prior to the NCAA tournament, in which they advanced to the second round. Head Coach, Darren Vorderbruegge, was honored as DII National Coach of the Year. "The Hoops in Hawaii Classics have become an exciting event for Oahu. Julian [Nakanishi, tournament director] has taken this collegiate basketball experience to a new level," said Vorderbruegge.
University of Hawaii at Hilo will join the Holiday Classic. The other 14 teams come from all over the country with a plethora of top talent. Featured will be NCAA DII, 22nd ranked, Western Washington (WA), as well as DIII's, 12th ranked, North Central College (IL) and perennial power Whitworth University (WA), ranked in the top 5 for most of last season. The Pirates sit just outside of the recently released D3hoops preseason top 25. Head Coach Matt Logie inserted himself into the NCAA men's basketball record books in his first six seasons as head coach at Whitworth University. Coming off of a 23-5 campaign in 2016-17, Logie's career record guiding the Pirates is 149-25, a winning percentage of .856, which ranks at the top of the list of active NCAA Division III coaches with at least five years at the helm. "We couldn't be more excited for the Hoops in Hawaii Classic this season. The opportunity to showcase our program to our many alumni in Hawaii as well as compete with two top flight programs in North Central and Arcadia will be a tremendous experience!"
Moanalua High School, one of Hawaii's top high school facilities that also serves as HPU's alternate home venue, will once again host the Thanksgiving Classic, November 22-25. The Hawaii Convention Center will host its first ever NCAA athletic event when the Holiday Classic takes center stage December 16-19. Last year the Hawaii Convention Center purchased over a million dollars worth of courts, including one NBA and NCAA approved wooden court, to hold large sporting events. The Los Angeles Clippers recently held a Fan Fest night there, and earlier this year, AAU youth Volleyball and Basketball events were also held at the Convention Center. "We are excited to welcome the Hoops in Hawai'i Holiday Classic to the Hawai'i Convention Center. This is a great opportunity for collegiate teams to participate in tournaments here in Hawai'i and we are proud to be part of this event," said Hawaii Convention Center General Manager, Teri Orton.
In an effort to promote collegiate basketball to Hawaii youth, all Hawaii High School (and younger) students, with school ID, will be let in free of charge.