City Of Palms Classic kicks off in Fort Myers
City Of Palms Classic kicks off in Fort Myers Video by fox4now.comvideo
FORT MYERS - One of the biggest High School events in the nation kicked off at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers Tuesday.
The 40th annual City of Palms Classic basketball tournament showcases the best high school players from across the country, generating "in excess of $1 million" for the local economy, officials said.
More than 30 teams from across the country hit the hardwood Tuesday for the opening day of the tournament.
"There's no bigger showcase," said organizer Ron Riley. "If you're a high school player this is the place to be."
Coaches and scouts are seeking out the next big star during the week-long tournament. Since it began, more than 60 players have gone on to the NBA.
"This tournament is tremendous," said a fan. "We have great teams and we have great players. There's never a dull game."
While there's sure to be pressure for the players, the tournament also puts a national spotlight on Fort Myers and provides a layup for nearby businesses.
"We have a lot of players come here, families," said Catherine Flynn, the assistant general manager at the Hurricane Bar and Grill restaurant, which is close to the school.
She says a lot of people stay at nearby hotels and the games have been good for their bottom line.
"A lot of business for us," said Flynn. "And hopefully for Fort Myers as well."
The tournament generates "in excess of $1 million" for the local economy each year during what is typically a slow period, according to organizers.
"It's huge," said Riley. "We track about 3000 hotel rooms for the tournament."
A tournament that showcases the country's top student athletes while helping the community.
"It's very good for all the service industry people right now," said Flynn. "Definitely."
The tournament wraps up Saturday. Tickets are $15 per day.