At least now Craig Brownson knows his team should be a crowd favorite when it comes from Texas to play in the Marshall County Hoop Fest¿Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Benton.
That’s because his two star players, twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, at Travis High School have verbally committed to play at the University of Kentucky.
“But I think it will be a great atmosphere for all our kids. Aaron and Andrew will get to play in Rupp Arena, but for the rest of our kids to get an experience like going to the Hoop Fest is going to be special. We made the state championship game last year and played in front of 14,000 fans. I hope experiences like this will make us a little more comfortable in front of that type crowd if we get there again.
“This will be a great experience for us. Last year we went to Missouri to play and had a couple of kids that had never flown before. But with the Harrisons going to Kentucky, I think the Hoop Fest could be even a more special experience.”
The Texas team will face Louisville Ballard on Nov. 30 at 10 p.m. CST in the final game on Nov. 30 and play Madison Central at 6 p.m. CST on Dec. 1. Ballard features Quentin Snider, a 2014 Louisville commit.
Browning knows UK fans are going to want a chance to interact withe Harrisons — both top five players nationally — whether it is getting autographs, taking pictures or just talking to the future Wildcats.
“I want to let them have fun,” Brownson said. “This is part of their journey. Sure, we want to win the games in Kentucky, but they don’t go toward determining what happens with our season down the road. An experience like this is an important part of life. We are there to try and win games, but we also want to enjoy the trip and make the most of it. I want fans to be able to be around the twins so they can see what great kids they are.”
Kentucky fans will have plenty of other reasons to come to the tournament as well.
Huntington (W.Va.) Prep plays Memphis East at 7 p.m. CST Nov. 30 and Briarcrest Christian at 9 p.m. CST Dec. 1. Huntington Prep features UK¿target Andrew Wiggins, the top-ranked player in the 2014 recruiting class who is still considering re-classifying to the 2013 class, along with possible UK targets Dominic Woodson, a senior center, and sophomore forward Montaque Gill-Caesar. Huntington Prep also has Arkansas commit Moses Kingsley and Tennessee commit Travon Landry. Memphis East has Nick King, a Memphis commitment, and Briarcrest Christian has highly regarded senior power forward Austin Nichols.
Another Kentucky commit, Bullitt East forward Derek Willis, will play against Hopkinsville at 2:30 p.m. CST Dec. 1.
Another big-time UK target playing will be Chicago Curie junior center Cliff Alexander. His team will face Oak Hill Academy at 8:30 p.m. CST Nov. 30 and Memphis Southwind at 7:30 p.m. CST Dec. 1. Oak Hill has former UK¿target and current Louisville target Troy Williams, a small forward.
Hoop Fest tickets are available by calling 270-527-6714.