Hoop Group Showcase set for Sunday
It’s a spectacle that brings in not just some of the top players and teams from the state, but even nationally, together to compete on one stage.
The 2016 Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase has lived up to its expectation once again, as a eventful day of hoops is schedule for Sunday at Parkland High School that will feature some of the area’s and nation’s top talent.
Along with host Parkland, Allentown Central Catholic is the other local team that will suit up for Sunday’s four-game slate with teams from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts all taking the court throughout the day.
The Vikings of Central Catholic (11-4), newly ranked as the No. 10 team in Pennsylvania according to PennLive’s Class 3A list, take on a Chester (8-6) team from Delaware County that figures to be a solid measuring stick for head coach Dennis Csensits’ team. The Vikes are led by senior Zay Jennings, but Chester has a well-rounded group — led by Delaware State commit Maurice Henry — that has them as an honorable mention selection in the Class 4A field.
Tipoff for Central Catholic-Chester is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Parkland (12-3) caps the showcase against Imhotep Charter (14-2) of Philadelphia, and the crowd will be in for a treat as two of the top-ranked teams in PA of their respective classes will clash. The Trojans enter as the No. 5 ranked team in Class 4A, while Imhotep Charter holds down the No. 3 spot in the 3A rankings.
“We love hosting this tournament each year,” Parkland head coach Andy Stephens said. “We wanted to schedule as many upper tier teams in the state as possible this year, and this opponent certainly is one of the top teams in the state.”
Most Lehigh Valley fans know by now that Kyle Stout has committed to Lafayette to continue his career. But they’ll get another look at another Division I prospect in Jaekwon Carlyle, who has committed to Hampton, with tipoff set for 4 p.m.
Harrisburg (10-1), a Class AAAA honorable mention selection, opens the showcase against Bishop McNamara of Maryland at 11:30 a.m. Bishop McNamara’s Sam Green has committed to Drexel University and figures to be a name to watch in the first game on Sunday.
But perhaps the most exciting game of the showcase, if it lives up to its billing, will come at 2:30 p.m. when Westtown School and Cushing Academy of Massachusetts square off in a heavyweight battle that includes some of the nation’s top prospects.
“Each year this event brings some high caliber talent, and again we love being able to play against and see that kind of talent,” Stephens said. “We are optimistic that our game will be a really good game that fans will enjoy watching.”
Westtown is led by junior Mohamed Bamba, a 7-0, 210-pound power forward that is ranked No. 8 in the nation according to ESPN’s recruiting database. Cameron Reddish, a 6-7, 190-pound shooting guard, provides Westtown with a star-studded one-two punch. Reddish, just a sophomore, is ranked as the No. 7 prospect in his class according to ESPN. And don’t forget about senior Jair Bolden, who has committed to play hoops at George Washington University.
Cushing Academy has plenty star power of its own, led by junior point guard Makai Ashton-Langford (6-2, 180 pounds). He’s the No. 35 ranked player in the Class of 2017.