When Golden Holt first was dreaming up the Great Western Shootout, his sights were set small he merely wanted a tournament that would showcase the best local high school basketball talent.
Three years into its existence, however, the Great Western Shootout, which Orem High School hosts, has morphed into an event with national significance.
This year, four out-of-state teams with national relevance will join four Utah teams Â Orem, Lone Peak, American Fork and Bingham in the tournament, which kicks off Thursday and finishes Saturday.
Highlighting those teams is national power Bishop O'Connell (Va.), which features guard Romelo Trimble, a Maryland commit ESPN ranked 37th in its list of top 2014 recruits in the country. Denver East (Colo.), Overland (Colo.) and Foothill (Nev.) also will participate.
Holt, Orem's coach and founder of the tournament, said he has been surprised by how quickly the tournament has risen to national prominence. But it turns out that when your tournament annually features one of the nation's best teams in Lone Peak, other top programs from around the country will flock to it.
"We've been smart to be friends with Lone Peak and build on their success," Holt said. "It's gotten big really fast. Good teams want to play good teams. When you make phone calls, and you've got Lone Peak in the tournament, people answer."
With the tournament continuing to grow, and the fan demand climbing along with it tickets to last year's Orem-Lone Peak matchup quickly sold out there have even been requests to move to a bigger venue, such as Utah Valley University. But for Holt, that would be antithetical to what the tournament does best: show off what makes high school basketball special.
"I love the high school gym," Holt said. "To keep it in the high school gym and that experience is just a dream come true."
Great Western Shootout schedule
For a schedule of this week's tournament at Orem High School, visit âº http://www.sltrib.com
Great Western Shootout
at Orem High School
3:30 p.m. • Brighton vs. Bishop O'Connell (Va.)
5 p.m. • Lone Peak vs. Overland (Colo.)
6:40 p.m. • Orem vs. Foothill (Nev.)
8:15 p.m. • American Fork vs. Denver East
2:15 p.m. • American Fork vs. Overland
3:45 p.m. • Bingham vs. Foothill
6 p.m. • Orem vs. Denver East
7:30 p.m. • Lone Peak vs. Bishop O'Connell
9:15 p.m. • Slam dunk contest and 3-point shootout
Game times • 2:15 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.