Young players prepare for showdown at combine

Young players prepare for showdown at combine
March 12
00:00 2015
(Above: Photo by Charles E. Leftwich- Kobe Young, Parkland)

The high school basketball season ends early for freshmen and sophomores that don’t play varsity. Ninth grade and junior varsity teams are usually done for the season by early February.

To help fill that void, Next Level Youth Development of Winston-Salem will present the first annual Top 24 Rising Stars Basketball Combine on tomorrow (Friday, March 13) at 6 p.m. The site for the combine is Woodland Gym, popularly known as the “Eagles Nest,” located at 200 Frampton St., near the old Woodland Baptist Church on Patterson Ave.

The Rising Stars Showdown game figures to be the combine’s centerpiece.  The competition between East and West teams will feature many of the area’s top up-and-coming 9th and 10th-grade non-varsity basketball players. Area coaches selected the players for the combine.

Prior to the game, athletes at the combine will take part in a skill development workout, followed by a two-hour combine session. Players will be evaluated for speed, lateral quickness and agility.

The Showdown game will tip-off around 8 p.m. The East team is made up of players from Glenn, East Forsyth, Winston-Salem Prep, Atkins and Parkland. The West team is comprised of players from Carver, Mount Tabor, Reagan, West Forsyth and Reynolds.

The Showdown game should be fast-paced from start to finish. Scoring points isn’t likely to be an issue.

The East squad has one of top low-post players in Connor Sparrow, who has blossomed as inside force at both ends of the floor. Sparrow will get plenty of assistance from perimeter shooters Josh Jenkins, Caleb Burgess and Kobe Young.

The West team will counter with T.J. Stevens, a rugged post player who excels as a gritty defender and rebounder. De’Sean Harrell has a knack for breaking down defenders off the dribble. Harrell’s ability to get to the basket and score or find open teammates will help keep the West team in contention.

Maverick LaRue, a swing player who has excellent range from 3-point distance, could play a pivotal role. But there’s more to LaRue’s game than being an outside shooter. He’s a skilled enough ball-handler to get to the basket and he has the size to post-up and score.

The game’s final outcome could come down to which team can put together a decisive flurry in the closing minutes.

At halftime of the game, there will be a 3-Point Shooting Contest and a Skills and Drills competition.

Disc jockey Waleed of 102 JAMZ will provide the music. Admission is $5. For details, call Coach Foster at 336-695-3212.

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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