Niceville, FL---Big time Division One college basketball is coming to our area this November.
A company called Global Sports announcing the first ever Emerald Coast Classic that will be top 20 caliber college hoops to the Arena at Northwest Florida Thanksgiving weekend.
The inaugural Classic will feature 8 teams including Cincinnati, Creighton, Mississippi and Middle Tennessee, currently coached by former Chipola head coach Kermit Davis.
The teams will play first and second round games on their own campuses November 20th through the 25th, then head to Niceville for the third round and championship rounds the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.
Cincinnati and Creighton were ranked Nos. 15 and 16, respectively, in the final Associated Press poll.
"We have assembled a great field in this inaugural year of the event and we hope to make this one of the top preseason college basketball events annually," said tournament director Maury Hanks, who is also chief executive officer for Global Sports.
Coaches of the participating team are unanimous in expressing their excitement for the inaugural tournament.
"We are extremely excited about being in the Emerald Coast Classic next November," said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin. "We have been in a number of multi team events with Global Sports in the past and I am sure that Maury and his staff will put together a tremendous event."
"The Emerald Coast Classic has a fantastic field and an unbelievable venue alongside the most beautiful beaches in America!" said Middle Tennessee State coach Kermit Davis. "Everyone in college basketball will be trying to get their spot in this event in upcoming years."
"We look forward to playing in the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic,"
Creighton head coach Greg McDermott added. "We have participated in Maury's events in the past and have been impressed with the organization and high level of competition."
"We are ecstatic about hosting the Emerald Coast Classic at Northwest Florida State College," said Ramsey Ross, director of athletics at Northwest Florida. "The Arena is a fantastic facility that will serve as the perfect venue for the first ever Division 1 basketball event in our area.
Global Sports has produced 25 multi team college basketball tournaments in the past seven years with four more coming during the 2014-15 season.