Les Schwab Invitational tips off 22nd season in front of NBA sta - KPTV - FOX 12

Les Schwab Invitational tips off 22nd season in front of NBA star

Posted: Updated:
(KPTV/Nick Krupke) (KPTV/Nick Krupke)

The 22nd season of the Les Schwab Invitational (LSI) kicked off on Wednesday at Liberty High School where future NBA stars have played and current stars in the league want to be.

From the Liberty Bell to Liberty High, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers had to pop in while in the Portland area.

"Great memories here. It wasn't long ago that I was here playing," said Simmons.

Simmons was the MVP of the Les Schwab Invitational in 2014.

"I saw Dame Lillard watching me play, so it's crazy how things work out. I love to come back and watch the young talent come through," Simmons said.

Out of sight, out of mind for Barlow High School's Jesse White.

"He was there? I didn't even know. I was so focused on the game," said White.

Of the 16 teams in the four-day tournament, three were from out of town including nationally ranked Mater Dei High School from Santa Ana and Oak Hill Academy, making it's eighth trip west to the LSI out of Virginia.

"We actually have a waiting list. Teams want to come and play here," said LSI President John McCallum. "They hear about the atmosphere, they understand that there is actually great talent here in Oregon to play against."

Oregon's Dana Altman was in the Falcons' nest to watch Oak Hill Academy players like Ducks signee, Will Richardson.

"It helps me a lot playing with other Division I talents and playing in front of big crowds. Where I come from we sell out the gym but the gym's not that big and not really crowds like this, so yeah, it's preparing me," said Richardson.

For the Portland are schools invited to the tournament, it's pretty surreal.

"Look at us, look where we are, it's pretty cool," said Sam Handley, from Jesuit High School.

"Just having a great experience, being able to say when they are 30, 'I played against that guy in high school,'" said McCallum.

Making memories and buckets for bucks.

"We are up to $1.5 million. That goes back to schools that are participating in the event. The money that is raised through all of the pass sales here go directly to the schools," McCallum said.

"This one is different. The fans here are great. They show a lot of love and I think that's what makes it a great tournament," said Simmons.

The Les Schwab Invitational continues through the Championship on Saturday. Friday's semifinals also feature the Slam Dunk Contest.

For more information visit http://lesschwabinvitational.com/index.htm

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.