Men’s basketball selected for Hall of Fame tourney

Irish will join Connersville, Homestead and Westfield

The+men%27s+basketball+team%2C+shown+in+action+during+the+first+game+of+the+Sectional%2C+will+play+in+the+Hall+of+Fame+Classic+at+New+Castle+next+season.+

Dejah Jones-Moore

The men’s basketball team, shown in action during the first game of the Sectional, will play in the Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle next season.

Luke Spencer, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team has been selected to play in the 45th Raymond James Hall of Fame Classic tournament in the 2021-2022 season. An annual event, the classic is made up of four of the top teams in the state, and next season, the Irish will compete alongside Connersville, Fort Wayne Homestead and Westfield. 

The men’s tournament will be played on Dec. 30 at New Castle High School in the biggest high school gym in the world. The women’s tournament will be played the day before, with Franklin, South Bend Washington, Washington and Westfield in the women’s tournament, 

The men’s tournament will start at 11 a.m. with Connersville playing Westfield. Cathedral will face off against Homestead immediately following. The consolation game featuring the two losers will be played that same day at 6 p.m., followed by the championship game. 

Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney says he looks forward to the opportunity to have the Irish take part in the Classic. He said, “To be able to play in this and be selected, especially with the history of everyone that has played in it, it’s a really cool experience for our program.” 

The first matchup for the Irish against Homestead will be a rematch of last year’s double-overtime loss during the regular season. The Spartans will be led by Purdue commit Foster Loyer, a Mr. Basketball candidate. The Irish will return starters junior Tayshaun Comer, junior Jaxon Edwards and sophomore Jake Davis. Delaney said, “It’s a big matchup for us.” 

Just being selected to play in this event is an honor. Delaney said, “You have to have really good talent, you have to be a good program, and they look at you bringing in fans as well.” 

This top talent needed to participate has been a constant in the 45 years that the tournament has been played. Thirty-two members of men’s teams who have played in the tournament have gone on to win Mr. Basketball, 26 have been McDonald’s all-Americans and 19 have been NBA draft selections. Delaney said, “You have to be really good to play in this as a program, and so we’re really excited to be selected to do this.” 

Being tabbed for this tournament is not a new experience for Cathedral or for Delaney. The Irish have made four appearances in the Hall of Fame Classic, including winning the 1982 and 2006 events. Cathedral also came in second in 2012, losing to Arsenal Tech, which was coached by Delaney. His Arsenal Tech team included future Kentucky star and NBA Top 15 pick Trey Lyles. Delaney said, “It’s really difficult to be selected to even play in (the event), so for it to be the fourth time is pretty special.”