Emerald Coast Classic returns to Panhandle


Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com

Edward Bunch III

Happy Thanksgiving Argos! If you’re in need of activities and events once the turkey and stuffing has settled, the annual Emerald Coast Classic is happening at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida.

The Emerald Coast Classic is an annual tournament—begun in 2014—comprising a rotation of eight Division I basketball programs. The universities participating this year are: TCU, Iowa, Southern, Loyola-Maryland, Cal, ULM and Omaha.

Northwest Floridians may not be able to see their local teams competing every year, but the tournament provides a bit of insight into future professional athletes from across the nation.

In the 2021 competition, Tari Eason won the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) Award as he led LSU to the championship. Eason then went on to be drafted into the NBA the following year by the Houston Rockets with pick 17.

In the 2019 competition Florida State won the championship led by Dean Vassell, who was also awarded the MOP honors.
Devin Vassell—of Florida State as well—would later be drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the following years’ draft at pick 11.

Other notable NBA players who participated in/won awards at the Emerald Coast Classic include: Desmond Bane, Monte Morris (MOP), Kennrich Williams (MOP) and Kendrick Nunn.

The tournament’s first round of competition has already concluded with Clemson, TCU, Southern and Iowa winning their matchups at games that took place across the country.

The schedule for the next round of games on Nov. 25 is:

  • Loyola-Maryland vs Southern at 11:00 a.m.
  • Louisiana Monroe vs Nebraska Omaha at 1:30 p.m.
  • Iowa vs Clemson at 6:00 p.m.
  • Cal vs TCU at 8:30 p.m.

The lineup for the championship round will be determined by the winners and losers of the second round. Matchups should be updated at the end of the day and the championship round will be played on Nov. 26.