WILMINGTON – High school basketball in the Port City between Christmas and New Years Day has been a tradition over the decades and this holiday season will be no different. After months of planning, the inaugural Joe Miller Phenom Hoops Holiday Tournament was announced this week. It has been set for Dec. 27-30 at historic Brogden Hall on the campus of New Hanover High School.
While teams for the tournament have not yet been announced, some of the top 100 Division 1 prospects from across eight states within the southeastern part of the country are expected to compete during the four-day, 16-team event. The bracket will feature a true winner’s bracket to crown a champion, while a flex schedule will be put in place for teams that fall into the loser’s bracket.
The idea to honor legendary coach Joe Miller, along with hosting the highest level of competition ever seen in Wilmington during the high school basketball season, was an idea first discussed between New Hanover Coach Kirk Angel and Phenom Hoops partner Jamie Shaw.
Shaw, co-owner of Phenom Hoops Report, has helped develop one the premiere sources for high school basketball exposure in the region. In his three years of running the organization alongside founder Rick Lewis, over 125 college coaches have subscribed to the Phenom Hoops scouting service. Lewis is a 20 year coaching veteran from Huntersville and began the service 13 years ago with the Phenon 150 camps. The group recently concluded its summer session where 70 percent of division one college coaches attended at least one of three different Phenom Hoops tournaments during the month of July. The organization has helped hundreds of high school basketball players turn their dream of playing college hoops into reality.
Angel wanted to pay respect to Joe Miller, who spent nearly 40 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He passed away in 2014 as a member of the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame and North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
While Miller was known for his work on the football field and as a state champion softball coach, his family coaching tree is deep rooted on the hardwood. His brother John Miller is an icon within his own right in western Pennsylvania, while John’s two sons, Sean Miller and Archie Miller, have both made names for themselves at the Division 1 level as head coaches at the University of Arizona and Dayton University, respectively. Joe Miller and John Miller’s cousin is also John Calipari, head coach at the University of Kentucky.
Over the next few weeks and months, Shaw and Angel will be hard at work securing necessary sponsorships for the tournament and accommodations for teams expected to be coming in from as far as Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Because of the announcement, the annual Leon Brogden Holiday Basketball Tournament has been bumped up to the week before Christmas after typically being held the days following Dec. 25. Other changes to the Brogden Tournament this year also include a change of venue as New Hanover and Ashley High Schools will host the event. The tournament was held at UNCW’s Trask Coliseum for the last number of years. Once Laney and Hoggard High School’s get their new gymnasiums it’s expected they will rotate as hosts of the Brogden.
Below is video from Shaw’s most recent trip to Wilmington as he talks about the first ever Joe Miller Phenom Hoops Holiday Basketball Tournament.
— Joe Catenacci (@JoeCats19) August 3, 2016