by: The Sports Fan Network   12/11/2007

The best in boys high school basketball is coming to Washington, D.C. as some of the premier programs in the country will compete in the 19th Annual Gonzaga DC Classic Basketball Tournament from December 14-16, 2007. Regionally ranked and All-Met players will be included among eight teams from California, New York, Pennsylvania, and the local Baltimore-Washington areas.

Now in its 19th year, the Tournament is sponsored by the Gonzaga Fathers' Club, with proceeds directly benefiting charitable efforts ranging from Washington, D.C. community service projects such as So Others Might Eat ("SOME") to service projects in Appalachia, Camden, NJ, at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Over the years the Tournament has raised almost $500,000 for these service projects which help to build “Men for Others” in the Jesuit tradition. The Gonzaga DC Classic theme is "great basketball supporting good works." For more information on the Tournament and Gonzaga Service Programs, see gonzagadcclassic.org or gonzaga.org and select Inside Gonzaga, then Campus Ministry and Service Programs.

The Tournament will be played at Gonzaga College High School’s Carmody Center on Friday, December 14 and at American University's Bender Arena on December 15-16.

Team Profiles:

Gonzaga College High School
Gonzaga went 20-9 last season and was ranked number 13 in the Washington Post Top Twenty Rankings at the end of the 2006-7 season. Gonzaga is coming off a 35-1 won-loss record this past summer in games played between the HBC Tournament at Catholic University, The Rock League (at High Point High School), the Kenner Pro City League at Georgetown, and Eastern Invitational, its only loss being a one-point, buzzer-beater at the hands of DeMatha in the Kenner League Finals. Among returning key players are two seniors who received All-WCAC honors as juniors who will figure as the foundation of the team, namely Cameron Johnson, who has accepted a football scholarship at the University of Virginia, and Max Kenyi, who has committed to Harvard.

All Hallows High School, Bronx, NY
Three players return from last year’s squad, namely Raphael ‘Red’ Rodas (Sr.), Juan Diaz (Jr.), and Kendell Donaldson also a junior, while three sophomores will move up from last year’s Freshman City Championship team. They are Devon Collier, Shane Southwell, and Tevin Williams. Joining these players are seven juniors who have moved up from the Junior Varsity team to the Varsity level. The 2007-8 starting lineup is expected to include Devon Collier, Shane Southwell, Jahrod Lide (Jr.), Rashawn Stores (Jr.), and Juan Diaz. Pushing them for playing time will be Tevin Williams (So.) and Kendell Donaldson (Jr.); while Keonte Carroll, a junior, and ‘Red’ Rodas are the key backups at the guard positions. Rounding out the team will be Wesley Meyers (Jr.), Zachary Basso (Jr.), Kwame Twumasi (Jr.), and Jordan Taylor (Jr.). While fairly talented and athletic, the team’s coach notes that the team’s difficult schedule and the squad’s “lack of varsity experience will make it a very challenging” season. There is optimism that the players, by gaining valuable playing experience early in the season, will make the team more competitive in the second half of the year.

Bishop Loughlin High School, Brooklyn, NY
The Bishop Loughlin Basketball team returns all five starters from last year. The 2007-8 squad will be led by two Division I committed players, senior guard James Johnson (Quinnipiac University) and senior forward Kevin Phillip (Drexel University). Loughlin also returns its leading scorer from last year, senior Devon Elliott. This core of returning seniors is complemented by 6’6" junior Trevon Hamlet, and sophomores 6’4" guard Doron Lamb and 6’6" forward JayVaughn Pinkston. All of this can be a nice blend for fifth year coach Khalid Green, who notes, “We have a little bit of everything, hopefully it will all blend together to spell success.”

Bishop McNamara High School, Forestville, MD
Bishop McNamara High School is coming off a successful 18-10 season campaign while competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Last year saw the Mustangs finish fourth in the ever-tough WCAC, place 3rd at the prestigious Gulf Shore Shootout in Naples, FL, and complete its season 10-8 in conference play and 8-2 in non-conference contests. The Mustangs return a wealth of experience in the form of six players each of who started 10 games or more last year. Senior point guard Marc Hill leads the contingent of returning players.

Hill averaged over 11 points per game (ppg) and more than 5 assists per game the past two seasons as a starter, and has signed to play next year at North Carolina A & T University. Fellow senior Daran Adams, a 6’3" guard, and Michael Walker, a 6’7" forward, return this season as past starters as well. Adams averaged 5 ppg as well as 4 rebounds per game (rpg). Walker averaged 3 ppg and 3 rpg in an injury-plagued season. Michael Holloway, Rashad Rich, and Alonzo Cooke will provide senior leadership from the guard and forward positions as well this season. Junior starters who return are 6’9" forward Talib Zanna from Kaduna, Nigeria, 6’3" guard Rashad Whack, and 6’2 guard Trask Ivey.

Coolidge High School, Washington, DC
The basketball history of Coolidge High School of Washington, DC includes two Washington, DC City titles and seven Interhigh League Championships. Last summer, Coolidge won the Kids First Summer League Championship and stands as one of the favorites to win the 2007-08 District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) title. Last season, the team was 2-19, but the addition of new Coach Vaughn Jones (former George Washington and DeMatha High School star) brings with it hopes that this Coolidge team will start the return to greatness.

The Colts return a veteran cast of players, including four transfers from Coach Jones’ last year’s MM Washington team. The four newcomers accounted for 47 points and 27 rebounds per game. One of Coolidge’s leading players will be Derrick Washington, a 6’0" junior guard all-league player who averaged 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assist per game. With two seasons yet to play, Washington is regarded by many as the top player in the DCIAA. He will be joined by last years leading scorer Derrell “T.O.” Person, a 6’3" junior forward who averaged 17 points per game, DaQuante Thompson, a 5’10" senior guard 10 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists, and Andre Mattison, a 6’6" junior power forward who collected 10 points and 9 rebounds last year. Another leading veteran is Steve Simms, a 6’5 senior wingman who averaged 10 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point range.

Fremont High School, Oakland, CA
Fremont High School, making its second consecutive appearance in the Gonzaga DC Classic tournament, has a long, proud basketball tradition. Freemont teams won the Northern California Championship in 1994, 1995 and in 1999, advancing each time to the state championship finals, and ultimately winning the California State Division 1 Championship in 1999. Last year, Fremont had a starting lineup consisting of four juniors (Gabe Kindred, Sergio Ruiz, James Albright, and Josh O’Neal) and one sophomore (Chris James), and played extremely well throughout 2006-07 season. The team was ranked #1 in Northern California for 12 weeks, and remained in the top 10 the entire season. After playing in the 2006 Gonzaga DC Classic, the team returned home to California and won eight straight games, and began league play rated as the top team in the East Bay area. Fremont posted a 6-4 record in the Oakland Athletic League, and finished the season with a 19-8 record overall. The “Mighty Tigers” advanced to the second round of the California State Championship playoffs where their season ended.

Fremont capped off its regular schedule with a win over ever-powerful McClymonds High School, a finalist in the California State Championship game. Fremont returns eight players, six of who were among the top eight scorers for the team last season, including four players whose combined scoring average was more than 63 points per game — James Albright, who averaged 22.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game; Chris James (10.7 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.2 steals); Josh O’Neal (17.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists); and Powell Lee (12.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.0 steals).

Roman Catholic High School, Philadelphia, PA
In the 2006-07 season, Roman had a record of 28-3. The team was ranked No. 1 in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and No. 12 among high school basketball teams across the country. Roman won both the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament and the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. This season the team’s projected starters are Courtney Stanley, a senior guard, already committed to Loyola of Chicago; Malik Wayns, a junior guard, committed to Villanova; Rakeem Brookins, a sophomore guard; Wes Kirkland, a senior forward; and either senior forward Will Kirkland, or Aaron Brown, a freshman forward. Roman has sent a number of its players to the NBA including Bob Schaefer, Matt Goukas, Mike Bantom, Marc Jackson, Rasual Butler, and Eddie Griffin.

Towson Catholic High School, Towson, MD
The Towson Catholic Owls had a very successful 2006-07 season. Last year’s record was 32 victories and just 6 losses. Starting this season, Towson Catholic stands as the Baltimore Catholic League (BCL) defending champions, as well as the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) champions. En route to these distinctions, Towson Catholic had undefeated records in both leagues last year. By year’s end, the Owls had completed their season as the top-ranked team in the Baltimore, Maryland region. This season, Towson returns two seniors, Larry Bastfield, a guard who has signed with Toledo University in Ohio, and Brandon Greene, another guard. Joining them is junior guard Leshon Edwards.

These and the remaining members of this year’s squad follow in the footsteps of notable Owls who have gone on to higher plateaus in the basketball world. These recent graduates from last year’s squad include Malcolm Delaney, enrolled at Virginia Tech, Donte Greene, playing for Syracuse University, and Josh Czerski, now at Penn State (York campus). Towson Catholic’s major basketball alumni include Gene Shue, University of Maryland and National Basketball Association player and coach; current NBA star Carmello Anthony, playing for the Denver Nuggets; and Syndey Johnson, Head Coach and Princeton University player alumnus.

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