Mark Anderson is certainly familiar with the Joe Machens Great 8 Classic. He just hasn't been a head coach during the annual event at Fleming Fieldhouse.
"Really looking forward to it," the Jays' first-year coach said Wednesday during a media conference. "Of course, I was involved in it in other capacities as an assistant or helping set up things and practice times for gyms and things like that.
"To be back as a head coach is really exciting. It's an event that I've come to scout and just watch as an innocent bystander. Obviously one of the premier events in Mid-Missouri and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."
The Jays, who are off to their second straight 3-0 start, will take on Craigmont out of Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 28 in the first round. The game will be the third of the day in the tournament, with tip-off at about 7 p.m.
"They are a load, but I think every body in the tournament is a load," Anderson said. "Certainly Helias and Tolton and Raytown South are really good. Then all of the out of state teams are good, too. There's no easy pickins this year."
Raytown South and Hyde Park out of Chicago will get the tournament started at 4 p.m. Helias and Owasso (Okla.) will tip at 5:30 p.m. The final first-round game pairs Father Tolton with Upper Arlington out of Columbus, Ohio.
Jefferson City entered last year's tournament at 4-2, but went 0-3 with losses to Western (Ky.), Father Tolton and Oxford (Miss.).
The Jays will also participate in the Capital City Shootout on Saturday, Dec. 16. Jefferson City will take on district foe Battle at 7 p.m. to wrap up the seven-game event.
"It's a huge game for us because it's the only time we'll see them before district play," Anderson said. "Being in the same district kind of magnifies that game. They've got a great team. Trey Meny is a heck of a player. Alex Smith and all kinds of guys that can really score the ball."