South/East/West/North Xtra: Talent aplenty to take the floor in Roundball Classic
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Allen Deep is the vice president of sales for a luggage company and enjoys his work, but for about six weeks out of every year it is his "other" job that gives him the most pleasure.
Deep, who lives in the Riverside School District in Beaver County, is one of the directors for the annual Roundball Classic that will be played Saturday at Geneva College's Metheny Fieldhouse in Beaver Falls.
The four-pack of high school all-star games has the best senior players in Western Pennsylvania guided by many of the district's top high school coaches. The games will get underway at 2 p.m. with the girls Class AA team against the Class A squad.
The boys games will be at 6 and 8 p.m. with the Class A all-stars taking on the Class AAAA all-stars in the nightcap. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $6 for students.
This is the 11th year the games will be played at Geneva and the 11th year Deep has been involved in lining up the talent. When asked if he thought the event would blossom into an annual who's who of high school talent, Deep just laughed.
"It's not how big it has become," he said. "It's the quality of the people that I've met. It's a pleasure for me to ask the players to participate in what we do and see how excited they are. There's nothing better."
The Roundball Classic has grown to the point where the top senior players in Western Pennsylvania want to play in one of the games. This year's group is arguably the most talented one Deep has been able to put together.
In the boys Class AAA vs. Class AA game, Highlands High School sharpshooter Micah Mason will be on the Class AAA squad with Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter on the other. Mason is a Drake recruit, while Jeter is still weighing his Division I college options.
Other standouts on the Class AA team are Demetrious Cox of Jeannette, Jon Girvin of Northgate and P.J. McLaughlin of Greensburgh Central Catholic. Some notables on the Class AAA team are New Castle's Corey Eggleston, West Allegheny's Dylan Bongiorni, Montour's Dillon Buechel, Keystone Oak's Rocco Contristano and Uniontown's Marcus Thomas.
In the Class A vs. the Class AAAA contest the marquee matchup has 6-10 Devontae Watson from Lincoln Park, who is headed for Temple, going against 6-10 Barnett Harris of Gateway. Also on the Class AAAA team are Butler's Nate Snodgrass, who is headed for the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and Plum's Nolan Cressler, a Cornell recruit.
Wayne Capers of Chartiers Valley, Tyler Scott of Gateway, Lincoln Davis of Central Catholic, and Mt. Lebanon's Luke Hagy and Kamic Anyang are some of the others on the Class AAAA squad.
Joining Watson on the Class A team are Chris Koryak of Vincentian, Andrew Orie of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Brandon Camic of Serra Catholic, Carrington Motley of Sewickley Academy, Ben Mickens of Allderdice and 6-11 Jon LeGrande and Brandt Gribbin of North Catholic.
"We got just about everybody," Deep said. "The only disappointment is Syracuse won't allow Dontez Ford [a football recruit from Sto-Rox] to play."
Deep said that when the Roundball Classic started at Geneva 11 years ago there was something of a problem getting big-name high school coaches to guide the teams. Not any more.
Gateway's Mitch Adams will coach the Class AAAA boys team, Cornell's Bill Sacco the Class A team, Beaver Falls' Doug Biega the Class AA squad and New Castle's Ralph Blundo the Class AAA team.
"They want to be a part of something that's a quality event," Deep said. "Mitch Adams will be doing it for the second straight year and I told him -- we always asked the coaches from the WPIAL champions -- that I would understand if he didn't want to do it again this year. He said coaching in the game last year was a great experience for him and that he still keeps in touch with a few of the guys from that team.
"That's what it's all about."
The coaches for the girls teams will be Oakland Catholic's Shannon Boyle (Class AAAA), Hopewell's Jeff Homziak (Class AAA), Keystone Oaks Nikki Presto (Class AA) and Vincentian's Ron Moncrief (Class A).
"I think the Class A vs. the Class AAAA boys game is really going to be something with all the talent on both of those squads, and the other game will have Micah Mason going against Sheldon Jeter," Deep said. "I think we've got all of the top seniors in the games."
First Published April 19, 2012 12:00 am