The popular Newark National Invitational, sponsored jointly by The Star-Ledger and Prudential Center, is being held at The Rock for the fifth straight year on Friday, Feb. 1, beginning at 3:45 p.m. This year’s round of games will highlight a number of outstanding, top-ranked programs who have players looking to make a big impact this season at the high school level and beyond in their collegiate careers.
The NNI will features many NCAA Division 1 recruits, including St. Benedict’s Tyler Ennis (Sr. Guard, Syracuse) and Mike Young (Sr. Forward, Pittsburgh), Gill St. Bernard’s Austin Colbert (Sr. Forward, Illinois) and Jaren Sina (Sr. Guard, Northwestern), St. Anthony’s Josh Brown (Sr. Guard, Temple University) and Hallice Cooke (Sr. Guard, Oregon State) and Roselle Catholic’s Tyler Roberson (Sr. Forward, Syracuse). The Invitational will give fans the opportunity to see these future stars in action.
The tournament’s marquee match-up features St. Benedict’s Prep of Newark against St. Anthony of Jersey City. St. Benedict’s, the host school for the Newark National Invitational, is coming off a school-record 35 victories last year and has won every game it has played in the previous four NNI’s. The Gray Bees, ranked 13th in the nation by ESPN, will face its stiffest challenge to date in the Invitational when it tips off against the nation’s eighth-ranked team in St. Anthony, which came into the season riding a 65-game winning streak after winning its 27th state parochial championship and 12th Tournament of Champions title last winter. These two teams will take to the court at 8:15 p.m.
The Newark National Invitational has been a showcase for some of the best high school players in the nation, including top NCAA talent and future NBA stars. A number of current NBA players have participated in the NNI, including DeMarcus Cousins, who became a starter for the Sacramento Kings less than two years after playing for LeFlore High School (Ala.), and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (St. Patrick H.S.), who was the first player selected in 2011 NBA draft. They both participated in the inaugural Invitational at the Prudential Center.
The event will continue to benefit the Brian C. Doherty ’66 Scholarship Fund. Doherty was an avid supporter of St. Benedict’s and St. Anthony. After his death in 2001, the birth of the Brian Doherty Classic began to take shape and was formalized beginning in 2003-2004 season at St. Benedict’s. The tournament moved down the hill to “The Rock” and took on its current name five years ago.
The 2013 schedule welcomes four games to the Prudential Center, beginning at 3:45 p.m. with a Newark-focused game; the ladies of Malcom X Shabazz tipping off against University High School. Boys games featuring Gill St. Bernard’s School against Roselle Catholic at 5:15 p.m., as well as St. Peter’s Prep versus Plainfield High School at 6:45 p.m. round out this year’s schedule.
Tickets range from $50, $20, $12, $5 and went on sale Jan. 8 at the Prudential Center box office. Reserved seating tickets will also be available for purchase through Ticketmaster.com, Charge by Phone (800.745.3000) or any Ticketmaster outlet.
For more information, please visit the Newark National Invitational website here.
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