DUKE, GEORGETOWN, TEXAS, AND CALIFORNIA FEATURED IN THE 2019 EMPIRE CLASSIC BENEFITING WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
March 11, 2019
PRINCETON, N.J. – National collegiate basketball powers Duke, Georgetown, Texas and California headline the 25th annual Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (formerly the 2K Classic) which returns to Madison Square Garden this coming November.
General public tickets for the Empire Classic (@empireclassicbb) Championship Rounds presented by Continental Tire go on sale at noon (ET) on Wednesday, March 13, and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through Ticketmaster.com.
In addition to playing in the Championship Rounds presented by Continental Tire at the World’s Most Famous Arena on Nov. 21-22, Duke, Georgetown, Texas, and Cal will host a pair of regional round games on campus. The four regional round hosts combine for 126 NCAA appearances, 25 Final Fours, and seven National Championships.
The complete field and schedule will be announced at a later date.
Duke (Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, Atlantic Coast Conference) – Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in college basketball history, is in his 39th season at Duke and has the Blue Devils ranked No. 4 with a 25-4 record heading into the ACC Tournament this week…this season, Duke features what may go down as the best freshman class ever, led by the presumptive top two picks in the NBA Draft, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett…next season, Duke welcomes a Top 5 recruiting class led by the nation’s No. 3 recruit, center Vernon Carey, Jr…the Blue Devils are making their fourth appearance in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (1999, 2008, 2015)…they won the 2008 title and the 2015 title with an 86-84 win over Georgetown.
Georgetown (Head Coach: Patrick Ewing, Big East Conference) – After a Hall of Fame playing career, Patrick Ewing is in his second season as the head coach at his alma mater, Georgetown…after winning 15 games during his first season, Ewing has already guided the Hoyas to 18 wins this season as Georgetown heads into this week’s Big East Tournament…10 of the 14 players on this year’s roster are expected to return next season, led by a trio of freshmen who rank among the team’s top four scorers – Mac McClung (13.0 ppg), James Akinjo (12.9 ppg, team-high 154 assists and 30 steals), and Josh LeBlanc (9.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 31 blocks)…joining this group will be N.C. State transfer Omer Yurtseven, who averaged 13.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg a year ago…this is their third appearance in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (1998, 2015).
Texas (Head Coach: Shaka Smart, Big 12 Conference) – In three years, Shaka Smart has led Texas to two NCAA Tournaments and has guided the Longhorns to 16 wins this season despite playing the eighth most difficult schedule in the country…the Longhorns are expected to return four starters next season, including sophomore guards Matt Coleman (10.1 ppg, team-high 112 assists) and Jase Febres (9.0 ppg), as well as freshman Jaxson Hayes, who averages 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds a game…they will be joined by the No. 12 ranked recruiting class in the country, per ESPN.com…the Longhorns are playing in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project for the sixth time (1997, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), having won the 2006 and 2014 events…Texas beat Cal, 71-55, to capture the 2014 Classic.
California (Head Coach: Wyking Jones, Pac-12 Conference) – With no seniors on the 15-man roster, head coach Wyking Jones is guiding Cal through a transition period…but youth is being served as sophomore forward Justice Sueing leads the Bears in scoring (14.7 ppg), rebounding (6.0 rpg), and steals (48)…classmate Darius McNeill averages 11.6 points and is second to Sueing with 42 thefts…junior point guard Paris Austin nets 11.6 ppg and has handed out a team-best 120 assists…Cal is making its fourth appearance in the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (2004, 2009, 2014).
In the 2018 Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, Iowa led for virtually the entire game and by as many as 25 in earning the title with a 91-72 win over Connecticut. Luka Garza scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds in claiming the tournament MVP award. The Hawkeyes advanced to the title game after upsetting No. 13 Oregon, 77-69. Oregon rebounded to beat No. 15 Syracuse, 80-65, in the consolation game.
About the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project
First played in 1995, the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is acclaimed as college basketball’s premier early-season tournament. Featuring teams from across the nation, the Empire Classic annually attracts the top programs in the sport. Four teams from the most prestigious conferences in the country host a pair of games at home in addition to playing the Championship Rounds at the World’s Most Famous Arena – New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project (@wwp) is the beneficiary of the Empire Classic. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
About the Gazelle Group
The Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the Sunshine Slam, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.
About the Northeast Conference
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is the sponsoring conference of the Legends Classic. Now in its 38th season, the NEC is a NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. For more information on the NEC, visit the official website at www.northeastconference.org or follow on Twitter @NECsports.
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