2008 Boys Basketball Classic Preview
Gonzaga College High School (Washington DC Catholic League). Champions of the WCAC this year with a record of 33 - 1. Finished the season ranked # 1 in the HoopsUSA.com national schools ranking and # 4 in the country in the ESPN poll. Returns four of top ten players from this year?s roster, including 2 starters. Leading scorer Ian Hummer (All-WCAC selection), a 6-foot-6 junior center who averaged 15 points, is being recruited by Princeton, where his father played with Bill Bradley. Junior guard Tyler Thornton has verbally committed to Duke University for the 2010 Recruiting Class.
Middletown High School (Ohio Division 1 - large schools). Finished the season 14 - 8. Coach Bob Ronai?s preview of next year: Bill Edwards (even though he missed a third of our season, he was named the conference Player of the Year, underclassman Player of the Year in District 15, All-Southwest Region, and Special Mention on the All-Ohio team and has offers on the table from DI schools. Allen Roberts and Tony Peters are being recruited by local DI schools, such as Toledo, Bowling Green, Miami, to list a few. Anthony Strouthers is already being recruited, as a freshman. Most of Middletown?s all-time individual records were set in the 1957 - 1958 era by Jerry Lucas who went on to Ohio State and New York Knick fame where he also played with Bill Bradley.
Hedgesville High School (Hedgesville, West Virginia) Over the past ten years Coach Kelly Church and his staff have used a disciplined and fundamental approach to build the Eagle program into one of the most respected in the state of West Virginia. A perennial top ten team in AAA (WV highest classification), Hedgesville played for the state championship in 2004.
In recent years the Eagles have become well traveled. They have appeared on NBC?s Today Show in New York City, won the prestigious Coal Classic (Beckley, WV) in 2006, also becoming the first WV team to defeat a national team (Mt. Zion National Team) in the tournament. In 2007 Hedgesville traveled to Anchorage, Alaska and won the Great Alaska Shoot-out, defeating traditional Alaska AAA power West Anchorage High School.
The Eagles also spent the majority of 2007 ranked #1 in the state of WV before being upset in the sectional final. Coach Church and the Eagles return four starters from last year?s squad including Duane Fleetwood, Maurice Newby, leading scorer and rebounder J.R. Mayles, along with three sport stand-out Jordan Reed.
Hedgesville is the home of former WVU head coach Gale Catlett. This year the Eagles also welcome the addition of former WVU hardwood hero, Kevin Pittsnogle to its already experienced and successful coaching staff.
Vance High School (Charlotte, North Carolina) Vance High School has established itself as having one of the top basketball programs in the state:
# Won State Championship in 2003
# Lost in state-semis in 2005-2006
# Lost in State Championship Game 2006-07
# Lost in state-semis in 2007-08
Coach Will Robinson in his third year at Vance has led this program to 3 consecutive State appearances. The "Cougars" are once again excited about another upcoming season. They will return 4 starters from the 07-08 team that finished 27-5 with 4- All Conference players. The cougars are still relatively young in that they started 2 freshmen and 2 sophmores. Here is a sneak preview of the Vance ?Cougars? that finished the season ranked 4th in the State.
Daryl Traynham 5 - 7 Soph. Gd. All-Conference being recruited by D1
Jacoby Davis 6 - 0 Fr. Gd. All-Conference being recruited by D1
Marquis Rankin 6 - 0 Fr. Gd. All-Conference being recruited by D1
Jay Jones 6 - 5 Jr. wing
O.J. Birch 6 - 5 Jr wing
Deandre Tillman 6 - 7 soph. forward
Marcus Scott 6 - 3 Jr. forward
Dechane Durante 6 - 3 soph. starter on 07-08 team
Montery Sayles 6 - 1 Gr Jr.
Miami Norland High School (Miami, Florida) Finished 26-6 and won 6A Florida State Championship after having taken the 2006 6A title. Coach Lawton Williams Returns one starter and six players from last year?s championship team and he also feels that he has two of the top freshmen in the county coming in to this year's Viking team.
Miami Northwestern High School (Miami, Florida) Finished 15-7 in 2007-08 which was Head Coach Maurice Troupe's rookie season. Northwestern makes its first appearance in the Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Coach Troupe thinks his young team is ready for the challenge this season. Returning players expected to lead this year's Bulls team are Vladimir Raymondvil (5'10" PG - 12 ppg, 6 apg, 3 spg), Thomas Addison (6'03" SF - 14 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 spg), and Tyron Bain (6'1" SG - 10 ppg, 4 apg) along with a lot of young athletic hungry players around them.
Coral Reef High School (Miami, Florida) Finished 16-8 in 2007-08; finished 3rd in 2007 Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Returns 4 starters and 10 players from last year?s team. Led by returning starters Jerron Granberry, Charles Hankerson, and 2007 JOB All-Tournament Team selection Steven Lopez.
LaSalle High School (Miami, Florida) The La Salle Boys Basketball team is not only blessed with a combination of size, speed, versatility and young talent, but also because of their two consecutive regional finals appearances, key experience in winning big playoff games. The team spent the summer further developing the talent of its emerging stars and preparing its returning stars for both another stellar season in 2008-2009 and for continuing their basketball excellence at the collegiate level.
Starting with the youth movement, La Salle?s dynamic sophomore class is led by one of the top sophomores in the state, Jonathan Holton who will play both forward positions for his team. With great speed, agility and shooting range, he is already on the radar of such top SEC and ACC teams as Miami, Ole Miss and two time national champion the Florida Gators. His classmate and returning captain Tyler Greensphan, who made a huge impact as a freshman, has a strong 6?2? frame and his versatility allows him to play almost any position on the court with ease. The sophomore class of emerging stars is rounded out by 6?9? forward Manny Pellot who has now added strength and more shooting range to his already impressive size.
The junior core of players is led by Sam Miller, a star two sport athlete who is a 2nd team all-State player in football and is already being recruited by the University of Alabama football team. Yet not only is Sam a star football player, but his speed, strength and perimeter shooting make him one of the top guards in Dade County and a sure top three scorer on the La Salle squad this year.
Rising to the top of the experience ladder, the senior players on the squad are led by four year player and dominant defensive force 6?8? center Christian Pellot who plays with a fierce intensity and is one of the top rebounders and shot blockers in South Florida. Christian is an excellent scholar and athlete who can play at the college level if he chooses to do so. His fellow senior and 6?7? center Felix Torres built upon his vast scoring surge at the end of last season and used to the to improve his shooting touch and defensive quickness. He is now receiving interest from some D-1 schools and will be a significant part of the Royal Lion?s success this season.
Coming off a 25-5 record last season, the La Salle Basketball team has both a track record of dominance and talent at its disposal. This pool of rising and existing stars and an excellent supporting cast are sure to guarantee another deep run into the playoffs for the Royal Lions