Early season tournaments continue to emerge and increase from a competition standpoint. Non-conference schedules have gotten tougher and college basketball fans prepare for premier match-ups and upsets even in November.
Let’s take a look at the Anaheim Classic.
Tournament Date(s): November 22, 23, & 25, 2012.
Tournament Location(s): Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim CA.
Tournament Summary: The Anaheim Classic features a slew of teams that have talent but need to really come together to have successful season. Pacific used to dominate the Big West, but that title has since been given to Long Beach State. They hope that Lorenzo McCloud, Ross Rivera, and Travis Fulton can all build off of their encouraging first years. Xavier is another team that used to be a mainstay in the Atlantic-10, but they’ve had their issues recently. Losing Dezmine Wells will have the Musketeers praying for success in 2012-13. Drexel, a team many thought should have made the NCAA tournament last year, will be back with a vengeance. They won 29 games last year and return four of their five starters. Saint Mary’s will miss Rob Jones, but Matthew Dellavedova is in for a big year. The Aussie may be a POY candidate and should run wild in the WCC. Rice was .500 last year in Conference-USA and improvement will be hard to come by this season. Tamir Jackson will try to establish success for the Owls. After dismissing Glen Rice Jr. last year, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech are just looking forward to a new season. Drake had its ups and downs last year, but could become a contender in the Missouri Valley Conference. Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons both averaged over 16 points per game last year. California enters the 2012-13 season in search of their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past five seasons.
Player to Watch: Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: This WCC Player of the Year candidate is undoubtedly the player to watch. A senior guard, Dellavedova averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.4 assists last year. He played on the Australian national team over the summer and should be in for a monstrous year. Dellavedova is a dynamic scorer and a great floor general who has a wide range of experience. His skills should on full display in Anaheim.