By Cam Huffman
The national contest that will include more than a dozen Division I basketball prospects is obviously the big draw for Saturday’s Scott Brown Memorial Classic. But the opening game, featuring the Class AA All-Stars against the Class A All-Stars, shouldn't be overlooked.
For starters, the game looks to be, at least on paper, a competitive contest. And with the Class A squad looking to prove it’s just as good as the bigger class and the bigger class not wanting to be embarrassed by “the little guy,” both teams will have plenty of motivation.
This won't be one of those NBA-style All-Star games where the defensive pressure is about as tight as it is during pregame layup drills. It will actually be basketball.
Then there's the talent, a lot of it local.
The C. Adam Toney Class A team features Greater Beckley's Keith Mullins — one of the area’s top 3-point shooters, who averaged more than 19 points per contest — as well as Greenbrier West's 6-foot-8 center Josh Martin, who averaged a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and his teammate, Colby Ennis, an All-State honorable mention pick who averaged 13 points per game.
Meadow Bridge’s Cody White was another honorable mention selection, averaging 11.8 points per game, as was Midland Trail’s Jake Grimmett, who averaged 13.5 points and knocked down 41 3-pointers on the year.
The contingent from out of the area is led by three Tug Valley seniors, who took their team to a Class AA championship in 2012 and a Class A title last month. Austin Brewer and Mikey Newsome were both first-team all-state honorees, and Aaron Muncy was an honorable mention pick who led all scorers in the state championship game with 21 points.
That’s a strong collection of talent, but the Jan-Care Class AA team will also be stacked.
Again, the best from the area are featured in the group, with Wyoming East's Brett Bowling — who averaged 16.9 points on his way to third-team all-state honors — leading the way. Independence's Shane Greco — who averaged a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds — and James Monroe’s Josh Gunnoe, a 6-foot-8 big man, will also be on the roster.
Webster County's Brett Morris should also be a big draw. The high-flying senior was a Class AA first-team all-state pick and averaged 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Three Polar Bears will make their home inside the Convention Center, as well, as Travon Horton, Shaquille Washington and Devante Waites will all make their way from the state runner-up team from Fairmont Senior. Horton was a first-team pick, averaging 18.5 points and seven rebounds per game, Washington was a third-team selection, who averaged 11.5 points and 9.8 rebounds and Waites was an honorable mention pick who averaged 12.6 points per game.
Also from the northern part of the state will be Bridgeport's Tyler Sprouse, a first-team all-stater, and Iziah Hill from Robert C. Byrd, a third-team pick who averaged 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Jack Null of Sissonville rounds out the team. He averaged 17.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.
If you're planning on making the trip to the Convocation Center Saturday — and if you're a basketball fan, I'm not sure why you wouldn't — plan on getting there early and taking in both games. You won't be sorry you did.
Tickets for Saturday's games — the Class A All-Stars will match up against the Class AA All-Stars at 4 p.m., followed by the national game at 6 p.m. — are still on sale at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, online at www.beckleyconventioncenter.com or by calling 1-888-695-0888.