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Les Schwab Invitational 2023 welcomes 5 state champions, numerous top prospects after 2022 event put Oregon ‘on the map’

There's no Bronny James, but this year's field might be even stronger top to bottom
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West Linn’s extraordinary run to the 2022 Les Schwab Invitational title did more than captivate fans across the Portland area. 

It also put Oregon high school boys basketball back on the map nationally.

Kevin Love of Lake Oswego and South Medford’s Kyle Singler brought plenty of eyeballs and respect to the LSI and Oregon basketball, but the two NBAers scored their final high school points in 2007. A decade and a half later, Jackson Shelstad and the Lions provided a similar spark for one of the premier high school basketball tournaments in the country.

“Coming off the epic year we had, there really is a whole other realm of excitement,” said John McCallum, president of Prime Time Sports, the LSI’s organizer. “From talking to the likes of Columbus (High School), they knew all about us from down in Miami, Florida, and really pinpointed us as a place they wanted to go play.

“It’s the same for the other big schools. The way they talk about the tournament is on a huge, respectful level that says everything about the quality of basketball in Oregon.”

The 27th edition of the Les Schwab Invitational will run Dec. 26-30 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Twelve Beaver State schools will compete in the 16-team tournament along with out-of-state powers Christopher Columbus (Florida), Harvard-Westlake (California), Mt. Spokane (Washington) and Perry (Arizona). Oregon’s representatives include defending LSI champion West Linn and Tualatin, winner of the past two Class 6A titles

The 2023 bracket features five reigning state champions for the first time in tournament history: Columbus (Florida 7A), Harvard-Westlake (California Open Division), Perry (Arizona Open Division), Tualatin and Cascade Christian (Oregon 3A). Summit (5A) and West Linn (6A) were runners-up in Oregon, and Mt. Spokane placed third in Washington Class 3A.

“All of these state champions wanted to come play here,” McCallum said. “Sometimes people think Oregon is just that place stuck between California and Washington, but now it’s on the map.”

The 2022 LSI might have had a bit more pizzazz with the likes of Shelstad (University of Oregon), Sierra Canyon’s Bronny James (USC) and Duncanville’s Ron Holland (G League Ignite and projected No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft), but there will be plenty of firepower for this year’s edition. 

Columbus is led by a set of five-star junior twins in Cameron and Cayden Boozer, the sons of former All-NBA forward Carlos Boozer. Cameron, a 6-foot-9 forward, is the nation’s No. 2 class of 2025 prospect while Cayden, a 6-3 point guard, checks in at No. 14.

Perry forward Koa Peat is rated the No. 4 junior prospect in the country. The 6-foot-8 Peat, a two-time gold medalist for Team USA, was recently named USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Harvard-Westlake has two top-100 senior guards in Trent Perry (USC) and Robert Hinton (Harvard).

“There is a really good balance of power,” McCallum said. “Columbus has the Boozer twins and the Richardson brothers (Jase and Jaxon). There’s Koa Peat, and Harvard-Westlake has four starters back from their Open Division title team, which is huge. And then you’re going to throw in Oregon teams like Central Catholic, Barlow, West Linn and Tualatin; there’s no place to hide.”

Led by junior Oregon commit Isaac Carr, Central Catholic could be the best bet for a home-state Cinderella run. Barlow is also dangerous with reigning Mt. Hood Conference player of the year Jalen Atkins — another junior — and Tualatin’s strong lineup is headlined by four-star Colorado State signee Jaden Steppe, a 6-foot-8 wing.

McCallum believes the sleeper team could be Southridge, a high-flying offensive outfit that returned all five starters from a season ago. The Skyhawks made 20 3-pointers in an early-season 116-65 win over South Eugene. 

“If you start shooting and hitting, things can happen,” McCallum said. “We saw it happen last year with West Linn. They would get down early, then jump in front and get teams to start playing out of their style. … If Southridge can get rebounds and hit a lot of 3s, they’re dangerous.” 

One of the most interesting teams in the field is Class 3A power Cascade Christian, which boasts the state’s No. 1 senior prospect in 7-foot center Austin Maurer. Maurer, the son of former Oregon State tight end Marty Maurer, is a four-star Grand Canyon signee.

McCallum said Cascade Christian is the third 3A school to receive an LSI invite, joining Dayton and Horizon Christian.

“I feel like they’re going to come in and compete very hard,” McCallum said. “Sometimes the levels get overrated in the game of basketball when you only have five guys on the court.”

With five reigning state champions, McCallum believes the 2023 LSI could feature one of the deepest fields in memory. 

Last year’s event was a game-changer for the tournament, and McCallum hopes to continue the momentum into the 27th edition and beyond. 

“A Florida state champion and the California and Arizona open division champions all wanted to come and play here,” McCallum. “We’re extremely excited.”


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