Holiday Invitational

Nationally ranked Wheeler in Holiday Invitational field

Posted December 25, 2013

Wheeler's  KEJUAN JOHNSON (#0) blocks a shot as Kinston defeats Wheeler 59 to 51 during the 2011 Holiday Invitational  tournament Wednesday December 28, 2011.

For the second time in program history — but the second time in three years —Wheeler High School out of Marietta, Ga., makes an appearance in the Holiday Invitational.

The Wildcats’ only other trip to Raleigh came in 2011 where they finished in a tie for seventh after dropping their first two games of the tournament.

The outlook for Wheeler should be a promising one this week as Wheeler entered the season ranked in the top 20 of two major national polls, checking in at No. 17 in the poll and No. 10 in the StudentSportsFab50 poll.

Coming off a Georgia 5A Regional Championship and a trip to the Georgia Final Four, the Wildcats return a load of experience featuring a pair of juniors who promise to dazzle fans at this year’s tournament.

Daniel Giddens and Jaylen Brown are both highly sought after recruits and rank in the top 30 in the nation, according to

Giddens is the No. 5 center in the Class of 2015 and the No. 26 overall player, as ranked by ESPN. Listed at 6-foot-9, Giddens is currently listed as a four-star prospect and has offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee, just to name a few.

The front line for the Wildcats gets even stronger when fans see Giddens standing beside Brown, a 6-foot-6 small forward. ESPN has listed Brown (also a four-star player) as No. 6 at his position and the 27th best overall in the class of 2015.

North Carolina State has already come calling for Brown; however, he has garnered offers from other schools such as Arizona, Florida State, Kansas Louisville and UCLA.

Fans of SEC football will have something to cheer about as they watch Elijah Staley step to the court. The 6-foot-7 senior, who spent the last four seasons playing quarterback for the Wildcats, will line up on the gridiron next fall wearing Mississippi State colors.

Wheeler also returns 11 letter-winners from last year’s squad and lost only three players to graduation from a team that was 19-9 last season. The Wildcats are still new to the 2013-14 season, having played just four games before arriving in Raleigh for what they hope is a much different experience than the last time they played in Holliday Gym.


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