The 55th annual Whataburger Basketball Tournament will open play Dec. 27 with 48 teams from the area and across the country set to play in three divisions.
The Orange Division will feature area standouts Arlington Martin, North Crowley, Fort Worth Trimble Tech and 10 other Texas teams against defending champion Little Rock (Ark.) Parkview and two other out-of-state programs.
Orange Division Teams
Bullitt East (Kentucky)
FW Trimble Tech
Little Rock Parkview (Arkansas)
Long Beach Poly (California)
Blue Boys' Teams
Fort Worth Christian
Tuscola Jim Ned
Blue Girls' Teams
Lake Country Christian
Tuscola Jim Ned
This will be Tech's first invitation since 2008 and coach Wendell Ivory said it's a testament to Bulldogs' success of the recent past. Tech went 29-5 and advanced to the Class 4A regional semifinals.
"It's not just our players from this year's roster," said Ivory, whose current squad is 5-4." It's about the players we've had and the things they've done to help us with the program. Let's be honest, only the very best teams get the invitation."
Mississippi State signee Imara Ready returns this season after scoring 32 points to lead Parkview over Milwaukee Rufus King in last season's title game. It was the first time an out of state team won the tournament since 1992.
The Dec. 27-29 takes place at three venues: the Orange Division will play at the newly renovated 5,000-seat Birdville school district's W.G. Thomas Coliseum, the Blue Boys Division will play at the 1,700-seat Chisholm Trail High School arena and the Blue Girls Division will play at the 2,200-seat Saginaw High School arena.
The tournament began in 1957 with only eight teams competing. Originally, the tournament was a small fundraiser for Fort Worth's West Side chapter of the Lions Club; today several players who have participated in the tournament have gone on to professional careers in the NBA and NFL. College scouts and coaches from across the nation will be present at the tournament.
Last year, Whataburger began a new tradition of awarding scholarships to the winning team's high school in each division, and that tradition will continue this year with each winning team's school receiving a $500 scholarship.
In addition to Parkview other Orange Division out-of-state teams are California's Long Beach Poly and Mt. Washington (Ky.) Bullitt East, near Louisville.
"We are looking forward to the Whataburger Basketball Tournament because it's always a great learning experience for the kids," said Bullitt East coach Troy Barr from Kentucky. "The tournament atmosphere gives the team a different feeling from regular season games and gives us an opportunity to see where our strengths and weaknesses are so we can improve as a team."
Tickets are available at the tournament's three venues. Tickets are $7 for Dec. 27, and $8 daily for Dec. 28-29. Fans can also purchase a ticket for all three days at the same venue for $20, or $28 for all games and venues throughout the tournament.
For additional information including brackets, rankings and specific player statistics please visit www.whataburger-bbt.org. During the tournament, updated scores and game schedules will be posted in real time on Facebook at and Twitter @WhataburgerBBT.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.