Since he started the Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular six years ago, tournament director Jorge Calienes has been longing to give it more of a national flavor.
The tournament has always attracted most of the top high school teams in Southern California.
But with the addition of national powers Christ the King of New York and Anchorage East of Alaska this year, Calienes said the tournament is finally headed in the direction he had originally mapped out.
"It adds a lot to the tournament and it puts it in the perspective of being a national tournament," he said. "We almost had a team from Florida, but they backed out at the last minute."
If nothing else, the sixth annual Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular from Monday through July 24 at Bosco Tech in Rosemead and East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park will be a coast-to-coast affair, and Calienes said there could be even more teams from the Midwest and East next season.
"We're barely scraping at the national scene," he says. "By getting teams from New York and Alaska it's something to start with, but we think we can get even more teams to come next year.
"There's a lot of interest from teams but they said they had made commitments to other places."
Calienes hopes to have two teams from Florida next season along with teams from Tennessee, Detroit, Kentucky and New York.
The key, he said, to the growth of the tournament on the national level is television coverage.
"I spoke with people from ESPN and they said they would have been interested in covering it if we could get at least four teams from the East," Calienes said.
"If we can get television backing (funds to help the schools pay expenses), we can get as many teams as we want to get out here. It's not my unwillingness to put this together. It's more of a financial thing, and it's the same for the other teams.
"I think next year there's a very good chance that we can have six instead of two (from outside of California), and I'm not just talking about teams from Oregon and Washington."
But the addition of teams from New York and Alaska is not the only way this year's tournament is expanding.
After having 38 teams in last year's tournament, there will be 50 this time. It's a number that Calienes had been pointing toward.
"That's what I was trying to shoot for (originally)," he said. "I could expand to 64, but that would be the maximum we would want to have. Next year I'm looking to go to either 48 or 64. Those numbers are a little easier to work with in terms of working out pairings."
The tournament is not only expanding, it is moving out of the cozy confines of the Bosco Tech gym.
Calienes, who was basketball coach of Bosco Tech for 11 years, was recently named coach at East Los Angeles College and will be taking the tournament with him. This year's tournament will split games between the two sites, with the finals at Bosco Tech, and next year's tournament will be played at the college and called the East Los Angeles Summer Hoop Spectacular.
Calienes said the decision to change the location was mutually agreed upon by him and Bill Nuanes, the new basketball coach and athletic director at Bosco Tech.
"Bill Nuanes has said that he does not want to take over the tournament at this time with all the other things he's doing, so I'm going to take it over there," Calienes said.
Wherever the tournament is played, there is no question about the caliber of teams that are competing.
This year's edition is headed by top-seeded Westchester, which may be the team to beat for the CIF L.A. City Section title, and second-seeded Christ the King, a perennial power in New York City.
Westchester, which won the 128-team L.A. Games tournament in June after finishing with a 20-6 record last season, is led by 5-9 All-City guard Sam Crawford and 6-7 All-City forward Zan Mason. Crawford was selected most valuable player of the L.A. Games, and Mason was named the state's top junior by Cal-Hi Sports News of Sacramento last season.
Among other top-seeded teams are Orange County powers Ocean View at No. 3 and Mater Dei at No. 4, Rolling Hills at No. 5, Glendora at No. 6, Dominguez at No. 7 and defending state Division I champion Manual Arts at No. 8.
Ocean View, which has been impressive in summer leagues and finished third against a strong field in the Mater Dei Summer Tournament, features 6-7 forward Todd Norman and 6-1 guard Mike Frohn.
Mater Dei is rebuilding after winning its fourth straight CIF 5-A title last season, but the Monarchs have an outstanding guard in 6-2 senior Dylan Rigdon and a surplus of size with front-line players Mark Moneypenny (6-10), Derek Stone (6-9) and Charlie Andres (6-7).
Rolling Hills has an outstanding player in 6-6 center John Hardy and Dominguez has an excellent shooter in guard Dijon Bernard (6-2).
All the more reason why the tournament is also a haven for college recruiters from throughout the nation.
"For the college recruiters, it's a perfect situation," Calienes said. "We're showcasing these players in one place instead of them having to go all over town to watch them."
One of the most watched players figures to be Glendora's Tracy Murray, a 6-7 senior who averaged 31.5 points and 11 rebounds in leading his team to a 28-1 record last season. Murray, an All-CIF 4-A selection, was also named the top junior in the state by USA Today last season.
Glendora heads the 11 San Gabriel Valley teams that will compete in the tournament. The others are Alhambra, Bishop Amat, Blair, Bosco Tech, Damien, Muir, Pasadena, Pasadena Poly, Pomona and West Covina.
The Glendora Tartans, who have a first-round bye, will meet the winner of Tuesday's Blair-Palos Verdes game in the second round at 12:15 p.m. July 21. The Blair-Palos Verdes game is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Other first-round games include Pasadena vs. Eisenhower at 12:15 p.m. Monday, Pasadena Poly vs. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks at 1:30 Monday, Alhambra vs. Palisades at 2:45 Monday, Damien vs. Redlands at 4 Monday, Bosco Tech vs. El Camino of Oceanside at 4 Tuesday and Muir vs. St. Paul at 12:15 Wednesday.
Bishop Amat and Pomona have drawn first-round byes. Bishop Amat, which finished second in the CIF 5-A last season, will play the winner of Wednesday's Fairfax-Bell first-round match-up in its opening game at 1:15 p.m. July 21, and Pomona meets the winner of Monday's Huntington Beach-Rio Mesa game in its opener at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
All valley teams, except Bishop Amat at East Los Angeles, will open play at Bosco Tech.
The championship game of the double-elimination tournament will be at 9 p.m. July 24 at Bosco. Santa Barbara defeated Bishop Amat for the title last year.