2022 PG Bruce Thornton of Milton (GA) photo by HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
The GEICO Nationals is long ways away and the 2021-2022 high school season has not even begun just yet. We are in the month of October and the 2021-2022 high school season will begin late this month for a few teams.
The 2022 GEICO Nationals is expected to take place once again at the end of the season in late March, early April. The elite tournament will possibly return to Fort Myers, Florida, as it was last season, but specific dates have not been determined just yet. Here we will take a look at which programs outside the NIBC will be looking to secure a spot in the field.
Programs outside the NIBC like AZ Compass Prep (AZ), Prolific Prep (CA), Milton (GA), and Pace Academy (GA) made the GEICO Nationals field last season. There will be a few others trying to secure a spot in the field this upcoming season and it has yet to be confirmed whether they will go back to the 8-team field or 12-team field like they did for 2020-2021.
NIBC programs this season include Montverde Academy (FL), Oak Hill Academy (VA), IMG Academy (FL), Sunrise Christian (KS), La Lumiere (IN), Wasatch Academy (UT), Bishop Walsh (MD), and Legacy Early College (SC).
AZ Compass Prep (AZ)
Last Season Record: 31-2
AZ Compass Prep is currently ranked as the number one team in the country in our latest preseason top-25 national rankings. The Dragons had a breakout season last year winning the Grind Session World Championships while playing a national schedule. They will obviously be one of the favorites coming into the 2021-2022 high school season to win the national title and have rebuild their roster with elite talent. The Dragons will arguably have the toughest schedule in America. They are expected to face multiple NIBC programs outside of the Grind Session and will be put in a plethora of top tier national events this upcoming season.
Prolific Prep (CA)
Last Season Record: 31-5
Prolific Prep made back-to-back GEICO Nationals appearances and will most likely make it three straight by the end of this season. The Crew finished the 2020-2021 high school season with a 31-5 overall record and should be one of the best teams in the Grind Session once again this year. They have acquired multiple pieces for this year's squad and will be playing a major schedule during the 2021-2022 high school season. Outside the NIBC, Prolific Prep should be apart of the 2022 GEICO Nationals field, especially once they get a few quality wins over the course of the year.
Link Academy (MO)
Last Season Record: N/A
Link Academy will make their high school team debut during the 2021-2022 high school season and will be coming in ranked in the top-10 nationally. The Lions have the talent and schedule to make themselves GEICO Nationals worthy but will just have to win the right quality games to try and secure them a spot. Link Academy is expected to play in multiple national events throughout the high school season which include stops at the Battle Rock, Les Schwab Invitational, Spalding Hoophall Classic, and others.
Hillcrest Prep (AZ)
Last Season Record: N/A
Like other programs, Hillcrest Prep did not really have a full organized season last year due to the COVID-19 effect. The Bruins have not really been considered by the GEICO Nationals committee since really maybe DeAndre Ayton was there but could this year be different for the program? Hillcrest Prep has a very elite roster coming into the 2021-2022 high school season, and like always, will play a tough national schedule. As long as the Bruins win the quality games and have a nice looking resume, the GEICO Nationals committee could consider them to be apart of the field.
DeMatha Catholic (MD)
Last Season Record: 11-0
DeMatha Catholic, the defending WCAC champions and no tournament last season due to COVID-19, has been considered to be apart of the GEICO Nationals the last 2-3 years. The powerhouse school in Maryland has had their chances but just decided not to participate due to other reasons. The Stags could possibly secure themselves a spot in the 2021-2022 GEICO Nationals field if they can get the quality wins needed and once again win the tough WCAC. Although they lost their legendary head coach Mike Jones, DeMatha still comes in as one of the best teams in the nation and are currently ranked in the preseason top-25 nationally.
Southern California Academy
Last Season Record: 16-3
One of the top teams in the country coming into to the 2021-2022 high school season will be Southern California Academy. The Rams have played in the tough Grind Session league the last couple seasons and have built up a national team full of some of the top prospects for this season. They will certainly try to make their first ever GEICO National debut at the end of March, beginning of April and if so, they will be the second California team to make an appearance behind Prolific Prep. Southern California Academy will be playing in national events like the Holiday Hoopsgiving, Battle in the Bluff, Flyin to the Hoop, and others.
Dr. Phillips (FL)
Last Season Record: 24-3
Dr. Phillips captured the FHSAA class 7A state championship last season and finishing with a 24-3 overall record. The Panthers will return their big three to their starting lineup and will be playing a much tougher national schedule for the 2021-2022 high school season. Florida's class 7A state champion has been considered a few times in the past by the GEICO Nationals committee and Dr. Phillips could be one of the few public schools to ever appear in the elite tournament if they can secure them a spot and accept the invitation if they receive one. They are playing in national events like the City of Palms Classic, Arby's Classic, and Montverde Invitational.
Combine Academy (NC)
Last Season Record: 28-3
Last season, Combine Academy should have definitely been considered a spot in the GEICO Nationals after the type of year they had and finishing ranked in the top-10 nationally. It is still unclear if Combine Academy is going to be eligible to compete in the GEICO Nationals once again after the end of this season, if they were to be invited. The Goats have been one of the top rising national programs under head coach Jeff Mcinnis for the last three years now and will have themselves another top-25 caliber squad coming in this season. Combine Academy will be play another tough national schedule and as long as they get the quality wins needed, they should be in consideration to secure a spot in the field.
Last Season Record: 28-3
The defending GHSA class 7A state champions Milton High School will be looking to make back-to-back appearances in the GEICO Nationals after this season. The Eagles are one of the top public schools coming into this high school season and are also apart of the national top-25. They are expected to play an extremely tough schedule and are one of the favorites to repeat as state champions. The GEICO Nationals committee always gives the GHSA 7A state champion a chance to secure a spot in their field as the 7A class in the Peach State is one of the toughest classifications in the country.
Real Salt Lake (UT)
Last Season Record: 30-3
The Griffins are a team most of the nation does not know as much about just yet. Real Salt Lake Academy, located in Herriman, Utah, will begin the season ranked in the top-25 nationally and lead by head coach David Evans, who took Lone Peak (UT) and Wasatch Academy (UT) to the GEICO Nationals in the past. The Griffins have a solid and disciplined overall team coming into the 2021-2022 high school season. They will be playing a national schedule which will include stops at the Holiday Hoopsgiving, Quincy Shootout, Beach Ball Classic, and others.
Calvary Christian (FL)
Last Season Record: 17-7
The defending FHSAA class 3A state champions will be looking to do more than just win another state championship at the end of this season. They will be looking to appear in the GEICO Nationals field at the end of March, beginning of April. Calvary Christian is ranked in the top-25 currently and has the talent and schedule to secure a bid in the GEICO Nationals field. The Eagles faced off against a few NIBC teams last season and although they lost, they were competitive to the end and could do the same this season. They are the favorites to repeat as state champions in the FHSAA 3A classification.
Other Non-NIBC Teams:
Orlando Christian Prep (FL)
Greensboro Day (NC)
Huntington Prep (WV)
Bishop Gorman (NV)
Pace Academy (GA)
St. Frances Academy (MD)