Lone Peak point guard Frank Jackson made the All-Tournament team last year as a sophomore at the FreeTaxUSA.com Shootout so imagine what he could do this year.
He was just getting warmed up.
Jackson will be one of the tournament’s biggest draws when it tips off on Dec. 11-13 at Orem High School.
The tournament announced that Lone Peak will be one of five teams from Utah participating in the 10-team tournament. The other four teams include Orem, Timpview, Jordan and Wasatch Academy.
Each team will play three games with the exception of Lone Peak, which can only play two games due to another national tournament commitment.
Timpanogos High will fill in for Lone Peak for one game.
“What we’re most excited about is the demand that we’ve had. We now have teams calling us and wanting to be part of the tournament,” said Orem coach Golden Holt, who is the tournament director. “The tournament has a bright future. Our partnership with FreeTaxUSA.com has allowed us to brand the tournament and become an event teams from all over the country want to play in.”
This will be the fourth year of the tournament that began when Holt decided to show the rest of the country just how good basketball is in Utah. It started as the Great Western Shootout and was changed to the FreeTaxUSA.com Shootout last year.
The five out-of-state schools include; Overland (Colorado), Richland (Washington), Kahuku (Hawaii) and Redemption Christian Academy (Massachusetts)
“This is one of the best tournaments in the west and Golden and his staff continue to bring in high quality out-of-state teams year after year,” said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. “This year offers some really fun diversity with teams from Hawaii, Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington state. I think that makes it really interesting.”
Lone Peak has won four straight 5A state titles, and if the Knights want to add one for the thumb, they will need a monster year from Jackson, who appears to be headed for a breakout season.
He played against three of the top teams in the nation at the MPAC International tournament in Dubai in June and led the tournament in scoring with 32 points per game.
“Sometimes when you play with guys like TJ Haws and Zach Frampton, people don’t know just how good a player you are because you are playing with such high-caliber players,” Lewis said. “Last year (Jackson) played with some really good players, and now that they are gone he’s stepping it up and showing what he’s capable of.”
Jackson, a 6-foot-3 junior, has already committed to play at BYU and is ranked as the 53rd best player in the country for the Class of 2016.
He may be the best guard in the state, but the best big man in Utah just may be Orem’s Richard Harward, a 6-10 senior center who is on the verge of having a monster year.
Another local player to watch will be Timpview’s Gavin Baxter, a 6-6 junior who is getting Division I interest and will be a force to be reckoned with this year.
The top out-of-state player is Overland High School’s De’Ron Davis, who is a 6-9, 245-pound junior center with a 7-2 wingspan. He is ranked 14th by ESPN (2016). Indiana, Colorado, Arkansas and Arizona have all offered Davis a scholarship.
Lone Peak and Overland should be the teams to beat, since both schools could be ranked in the top 25 nationally when the preseason rankings are released.
“One of the reasons we started the tournament was to show the rest of the country how much basketball talent there is in Utah and I think this event will help people realize how high of a level of basketball we play here," Holt said. “We’re very excited to have a partnership with FreeTaxUSA.com. They are a great company with a national brand. They see the Shootout as something they want to be part of in the future.”
All games will be held at Orem High School. Sportz Filmz, who will offer a premium package that will include interviews with the coaches and top players, will also stream the tournament. Sportz Filmz premium world wide streaming package with interviews of top players and coaches for fans.