Michael and Jontay Porter faced BV Northwest in the memorable 810 Varsity Showcase in 2016. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)
Five years ago, the inaugural 810 Varsity basketball showcase was scheduled to tip off in late January at historic Municipal Auditorium.
Since then, why not add one per year? Five years later, 810 Varsity is now up to FIVE events during the 2018-19 basketball season.
The first of the five tips this Saturday at the 810 Varsity Tipoff Classic at Liberty High School. The five events collectively will feature different 52 different teams from the Kansas City and regional area - more if you count teams participating multiple times.
"The events are great matchups and run smoothly with good atmospheres," said Lee's Summit head coach Blake Little. "We've enjoyed the games and its good for Kansas City to have matchups from across the border, and schools from out of the area."
This year, 810 Varsity added a fifth event, as the long-time HyVee Shootout at Avila University - overseen for its history by Metro Sports/Time Warner Cable/Spectrum Sports - was relinquished last winter. But 810 Varsity quickly took the reins and looks to keep the tradition alive.
"The event has been such a fixture for Kansas City and being right on state line, has been a perfect site for the Kansas vs Missouri theme," said Blue Valley Northwest head coach Ed Fritz. "I know a lot of coaches and fans are glad it's continuing, and in great hands with 810 Varsity."
Among the games in the 810 Varsity Shootout at Avila will be the marquee matchup, defending Kansas Class 6A champ Blue Valley Northwest vs defending Missouri Class 4 champ Grandview. The two finished 1-2 in the final 810 Varsity Top 25 last year, and may be at 1 and 2 again by Saturday, December 15.
The full list of 810 Varsity events, spread around the city:
December 1: 810 Varsity Tipoff Classic (Liberty HS)
December 15: 810 Varsity Shootout (Avila University)
January 5: 810 Varsity Showcase, Session I (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
January 26: 810 Varsity Showcase, Session II (Lee's Summit HS)
February 16: 810 Varsity Sunflower Showcase (Free State HS)
Class 4A champ Bishop Miege and recent Villanova commit Jeremiah Robinson-Earl faced Class 6A runner-up Free State last year. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)
"For the longest time, Kansas City had just the HyVee Shootout for a showcase, and the Jewell Classic - and area tournaments. Meanwhile, St. Louis seemingly has showcase every weekend," said Liberty head coach Roger Stirtz. "Now Kansas City has a big one every few weeks, and gives teams options to play a team out of the league, across the border or across the state."
The events has featured many teams during their state championship or top seasons.The likes of top area players in Kevin Puryear, Drew Lock, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Jacob Gilyard, Elijah Childs to regional stars in Division I commits Michael Porter Jr, Jontay Porter, Courtney Ramey, Carteare Gordon and Iowa stars Patrick and Connor McCaffrey. Regional powerhouses like Chaminade, CBC, Webster Groves, Kickapoo and Iowa City West have played over the years.
"The lineup is about capped out for sure - heck, 810 Varsity may account for 10% of the Metro area games," quipped 810 Varsity's Chad Rader. "There are many ideas ahead to enchance the fun of the events, and to continue to have top matchups, teams and recruits to not water them down, but to have legitimately great events each year."
This year's events all have a collection of top boys and teams in the area facing off. Don't miss an 810 Varsity event near you!
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