The inaugural Tournament of Champions was conducted in December, 1997 in Santa Barbara, CA as a 32-team high school girls’ basketball event. After showcasing the eventual USA TodayNational Champions in consecutive years (New York Christ the King in 1997 and Copperas Cove, Texas in 1998), the event rapidly grew into the nation’s premier prep basketball tournament, attracting the majority of the preseason top 20 teams in the United States each year and being heralded by the national news media as “unparalleled” and “staggering” (USA Todayand ESPN).
By 1999 the Tournament of Champions was widely regarded as the de facto championship for American girls’ basketball, and since that time the event has produced 10 of the last 12 consensus national champions (USA Today, ESPN).
After being hosted by DePaul and Northwestern Universities in Chicago in 2000, the Tournament of Champions moved to the Phoenix Metro area in December, 2001, where it is now one of the largest interscholastic sporting events in the nation, showcasing at least 120 basketball teams annually from more than 20 states and every region of the country. Since its inception the Tournament has hosted more than 16,000 student athletes from 41 states and Canada.
The first affiliated club basketball event was conducted in 1999 in the Chicagoland area and was then known as the Nike USA Cup. The tournament began with 24 teams at two venues in Des Plaines, IL; it doubled in size in 2000 and again in 2001 when it was renamed the Summer Showcase; today it is the largest age-specific NCAA-certified club basketball event for girls in the United States, with 280 teams and almost 4,000 student athletes from 44 states competing. Considered by most analysts and collegiate basketball coaches to be the nation’s most competitive and prestigious event, the Showcase hosted a record 511 collegiate coaches in 2008.
The Tournament of Champions will expand in 2009 to host its first ever event in girls’ volleyball.