Dec 26, 2012
In 1997, Hampton head coach Walter Brower and future-UNC two sport athlete Ronald Curry played in the school’s first Holiday Invitational. The team won the tournament championship and Curry was named Invitational MVP.
This year, Brower returns with Virginia’s best player, N.C. State signee Anthony Barber, to try and do it all over again.
“These guys know about us going down with Ronald Curry and we did well,” Brower said. “They’re ready, because we’ve talked about it.”
The Crabbers return four starters, along with a fifth player who started half the season, from last year’s Virginia 3A state championship team. However, Brower, a 30-year coaching veteran, doesn’t believe the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational will be an easy task.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “The times I’ve been down (for the Holiday Invitational) it was real tough; it’s one of the top tournaments in the country.”
Along with point guard Barber, who is ESPN’s 14th ranked player in the nation, Hampton also starts senior shooting guard Jordan Baker. Baker has signed to play at Old Dominion next year.
“Having those guys mean a lot,” Brower said. “They are guys that play well consistently and we’re going to depend on them.”
He added his team must rely on its speed and defense prowess, rather than size, in order to have success during this week’s Holiday Invitational.
“We’re not that large, we’re just quick. We use that quickness and play good defense,” Brower said. “We figure that playing in the tournament can only help us in district play, hopefully.”
The Crabbers, which are making their third overall appearance in the Holiday Invitational, including a visit in the 1998 tournament, plan to approach the three games in Raleigh just as they would any other.
“We’re just working hard every day,” Brower said. “We prepare like we would for any game; we’re not doing anything special.”
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