American Dream Will Host National High School Basketball Tournament

All eyes will be on Don Bosco Rutgers commit Dylan Harper Jr.

All eyes will be on Don Bosco Rutgers commit Dylan Harper Jr.

The ice rink at American Dream Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey will transition to a basketball court March 27-30 to host The Throne, a national high school basketball championship.

The NHL regulation size rink was recently used for the US Curling Championships. It’s also used for special events, open skating, and private parties.

Read more: Olympic Hopefuls Take to the Ice for Curling Championships at American Dream

The four-day single-elimination competition, now in its second year, includes a 16-team boys contest and an eight-team girls tournament. The bracket-style tournament is produced by Gold Level Sports & Entertainment and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

Aside from New Jersey, players are coming from Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York, Texas, Utah, California, Virgina, Georgia, and South Carolina. The brackets for all teams can be seen here.

By The Players, For The Players

Darren Duncan

Co-founded by professional basketball player Darren Duncan and three-time NBA champion Danny Green, The Throne has the support of NBA stars like Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, and Harrison Barnes. Its tagline is “By The Players, For the Players,” and aims to offer a March Madness style event  that gives players great exposure as well as “resources to help them become successful both on and off the court,” CEO Duncan said.

Danny Green

Duncan played at Christ the King in the 2000s before going on to be a Division II All-American at Merrimack College. He played professionally around the globe for eight years.

“Lately there’s been a craving from a lot of these NBA guys to get back into the grassroots space and have an influence and an impact and be able to give these kids their resources,” Duncan said in a statement last year.

The partnership with NBPA is a great avenue for those resources, he added.

Go New Jersey!

Rutgers commits Dylan Harper Jr. (Don Bosco) and Ace Bailey (McEachern High School, Georgia) are scheduled to play in the tournament. Mia Pauldo (Morris Catholic) is on the roster as well, SNY reported. 

Dylan and his mother Maria

A five-star recruit from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, Harper is considered among the top players in the class of 2024, according to recruiters and other reports. He was rated the number one overall recruit for the class of 2024 by ESPN.

He committed to Rutgers — where his brother, Roy Harper Jr. played — over offers from Duke, Kansas, Indiana, and Auburn. His brother played in the NBA for 15 years and has five championship rings. At Don Bosco, Dylan Harper is coached by his mother, Maria (née Pizarro). She is one of seven Varsity coaches for the Ironmen and was a Division I basketball player at the University of New Orleans.

About the Tournament

The tournament is open to NBA scouts as well as the public; tickets are available here. Prices start at $10 (Standing) to $1,200 (VIP Suite for 10 people, plus a $50 food voucher). There are prices in between for Levels 1, 2, 3, and Upper. 

Aside from the in-game action, players will be given the resources needed to further their professional skills alongside their athletic ones. As of now, these resources include financial literacy workshops led by JPMorgan Chase and health and wellness workshops led by the Hospital for Special Surgery, with both companies also being listed as sponsors for the tournament.

Last year’s competition took place in Atlanta at Morehouse College, and ended with Columbus, Florida beating North Carolina’s Central Cabarrus 65-57 in the finals, becoming the first-ever winners of The Throne.

Voted MVP for Columbus that year was Cameron Boozer, the country’s No.1 overall sophomore recruit and the 2023 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, who averaged 18.3 points and 12 rebounds in his 4 games at Morehouse, notching a double-double in the championship game by scoring 12 points and 12 rebounds for Columbus.

Postseason tournament play isn’t allowed by some state athletic associations but academies and independent schools from any state are allowed to compete.