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November 24, 2004
Rumble on the Ridge to feature top players
The 2004 "Rumble on the Ridge" Tournament will feature three of Rivals.com's national Top 12 players in the Class of 2005, and a number of highly-rated underclassmen, making this well-organized eight-team event in Forrest City, Ark., one of the nation's premier Thanksgiving holiday tournaments.
High school basketball fans who can make it to Forrest City, Ark., should not miss the 2004 "Rumble on the Ridge" Thanksgiving Tournament at the new state-of-the-art Mustang Arena at Forrest City High School. This established event directed by Bill Baxter will include twelve competitive games beginning on Thanksgiving Day, continuing on Friday, November 26, and concluding with the finals on Saturday, November 27.
Top players include North Carolina signee, 6-foot-9 power forward Tyler Hansbrough, Poplar Bluff, Mo., High School, rated No. 8, and in the 8:00 p.m. game on "Turkey Day," he will face No. 11 rated 6-foot-7 power forward, L.S.U.-bound, Tasmin Mitchell, Denham Springs, LA, Denham Springs High School. This is a classic matchup that I would love to see, between two very physical players, destined to become immediate impact players at their respective future colleges.
In 6:30 p.m. game on Thursday, No. 9 rated 6-foot-4 combo guard Monta Ellis, Mississippi State's blue-chip recruit, and his Jackson, Miss., Lanier High School team will face "host," Forrest City, Ark., High School. Lanier High also has outstanding 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Al Graham. The top prospect at Forrest City High is 6-foot-3 senior guard/forward Chris Williams. The winner of this game, (Lanier is heavily favored), will play the winner of the Poplar Bluff-Denham Springs game in the semi-finals at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 26.
In Thursday's opening game at 3:30 p.m. two teams with sensational junior point guards are paired. High-powered La Place, La., Reserve Christian School, reportedly, now averaging 113 points per game, will play Bolivar, Tenn., Bolivar Central High School. Reserve Christian is led by 5-10 junior point guard Demond Carter; and Bolivar Central's stellar floorleader and defensive "stopper" is 6-2 junior point guard Willie Kemp. Reserve Christian has a deep, talented roster that also includes soph sensation, 6-foot-5 forward Kevin Branch, and 6-foot-5 junior forward Justin Porter.
Other top performers for Bolivar Central High are rugged 6-foot-9 junior center Wayne Chism, and 6-foot-7 senior power forward Olajuwon Kemp.
The Thanksgiving Day 5:00 game will match Monroe, La., Richwood High School versus Monette, Ark., Buffalo Island Central High School. Richwood High has a true "dynamic duo," No. 43 rated 6-foot-6 guard/forward Terry Martin Jr., the top recruit for Coach Bob Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders; and Oklahoma State's talented future big man, 6-foot-10, 245-pound center Kenneth Cooper, rated No. 66 by Rivals.com. The top player for Buffalo Island is Arkansas State signee, 6-foot-4 senior guard/forward Brandon Ballard.
The winners of Thursday's 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. games will play at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 26 in the semi-finals.
On Saturday, November 27, the seventh place game will be played at 3:30 p.m.; the fifth place contest at 5:00 p.m.; the third place matchup at 6:30 p.m., and the championship game at 8:00 p.m.
I want to wish all of the Rivals.com members a most blessed, warm, and happy Thanksgiving. We all have much to be thankful for, including this very interesting beginning of the 2004-05 basketball season. And, I am especially thankful to have become a member of this great organization. Travel safely, take good care of yourself, and do not eat too much of mom's pumpkin pie.
All the best,