Holiday Invitational

HCYA team features UNC recruit Justin Jackson

Posted December 24, 2013
Updated December 25, 2013

The Holiday Invitational has always given an opportunity to the best public and private schools to square for basketball supremacy.

This year, the tournament will add home schools to the list vying for a tournament championship. Homeschool Christian Youth Association, based out of Spring, Texas (near Houston), will come to the tournament led by UNC recruit Justin Jackson — ESPN’s No. 1 small forward (No. 8 overall).

Although the Warriors have consistently been ranked near the top of the home school ranks for the last several years, coach Mike Decker admits his team will be tested during this week. He added HCYA team only has the opportunity to practice about twice a week, a stark contrast to most of the teams in the field.

“Hopefully, we can manage to play some good basketball while we are (here),” Decker said. “We have a very short roster. But one of the advantages of coaching a homeschool team is that we typically get very high character kids.”

With a limited bench, Jackson will be looked upon to lead the Warriors during the Holiday Invitational. Decker called the 6-foot 7-inch senior the heart of the team.

“He is great competitor, teammate and leader and he’s just a good kid,” he said.

Scouts have called Jackson a “threat to go coast to coast” after any defensive rebound.

According to Decker, he will be supported by Joshua Hughes, a 6-foot, 3-inch wing player that has the ability to crash the boards. Additionally, he believes Joshua Decker and Elijah Lee may impress some fans, who had only previously heard of Jackson, by tournament end.

Decker said playing in the HSOT is an honor for his squad. Since his team is a home school association without a home court, the players are accustomed to playing on the road.

“I’ve heard really good things about the tournament,” Decker said. “We have a home school family in the association who recently moved from (the Triangle). He was so excited (when we were invited to the tournament) he could barely contain himself; he said it was a very big deal.

“Our seniors have played in the National (Christian Homeschool Basketball) Championships, pretty much since they were 10. I suspect there will be large crowds, lots of pressure bright lights (at the Holiday Invitational). Hopefully, we can overcome some of that and have a successful (showing).”


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