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Monday, December 6, 2021

High School Boys Basketball: NorCal Tip-Off Classic Division I Filled With Possibilities

Some of the Bay Area’s best high school basketball teams and potential Division I players will convene Saturday at Dublin High School for the NorCal Tip-Off Classic.

An evening match between Dublin and Campolindo, the two powerhouse teams, headlined the eight-game tournament – for its 14th year back a year from the pandemic – which included Dougherty Valley, Woodside Priory, Clayton Valley, De La Salle, Bishop O’s are also included. ‘Dowd, Riordan and Oakland Tech.

Plenty of scouts and coaches from Division 1 and Division II events and junior college programs will be in attendance to watch the tournament, including Arizona State, St. Mary’s, University of San Francisco, San Jose State University, University of the Pacific, Hawaii, Long Island, and the University of California. Beach State, San Diego State, San Francisco State, Fresno State, Academy of Art, San Francisco City College and Chabot College said tournament coordinator Gerry Freitas.

Freitas made scouts and coaches aware of participating teams with potential high-dominance and low-key players.

There are good players in every square, even in all sections of the board.

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“I told someone halfway through, jokingly, the other day that all the teams in the event are good teams. Why would I invite a chump?” Former coach and scout Freitas said about the tournament.

Here are some local players to watch:

Dublin vs Campolindo

Among the headliners is Campolindo, who went 15–0 in the spring, and 11–3 in Dublin. Both teams have a handful of Division I-bound players.

Campolindo senior Aidan Mahane has committed to St Mary’s under coach Randy Bennett, who has known his future player for years. Cade Bennett, Randy’s son, and Mahane is a senior teammate at Campo. Chase Bennett graduated from school in the spring.

Dublin also has a pair of prospects in the form of guards Courtney Anderson Jr. and Donovan Cook. The Stanford coach has visited the Open Gym in Dublin three times to watch Anderson Jr. play. Dublin coach Tom Costello said several colleges had come to see him and Cook.

“What’s going to drive him over the hump is his coachability,” Costello said. “They are coachable, you tell them something once and they implement it. It augurs well for them in the future. They are great with the ball in their hands, they are great with the ball. Can shoot it, physical and mentally tough.”

Scout Freitas for 25 years says he can see Anderson Jr. “He’s going to be a high key signing somewhere,” he said.

Dougherty Valley vs Priory

Dougherty Valley enters the 2021–22 season, which follows a promising spring season in which the Wildcats finished the season on the back of an eight-game win streak, a 9–5 overall record in league play, 6–2. ended with Highlighting the Wildcats roster is junior guard Ryan Beasley, who portrays Freitas as “a fighter and a competitor” and a Division I prospect despite his 5-foot-10 stature. The Priory is coming off a 14-2 season and features Steven Emenecke, whom head coach David Moseley said could be high-heads-bound according to Freitas.

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Lincoln (Stockton) vs Clayton Valley

The Clayton Valley Ugly Eagles are coming out of the year 12-3 (6-1) in 2020/21, their only losses being back-to-back against Monte Vista and Campolindo. Senior Wing Jeremiah Dargan is a name to behold.

“Will he play D1 somewhere, it’s just a question,” Freitas said. “He is a scoring wing who has really improved as a marksman and he will definitely sign on to Division 1.

Sophomore guard James Moore could also be a Division I-bound prospect.

De La Salle vs Elk Grove

De La Salle will begin the NorCal Tip-Off Classic against Elk Grove under new head coach Marcus Schroeder, with Justin Argenal moving on to Dominican University as head coach. The Spartans were 10-6 last season, 6-1 in league play. His team will look a little different with new forward Alec Blair coming in.

“I’m glad (De La Salle) is in it and people can watch (Blair),” Freitas said.

Bishop O’Dowd vs Inderkam (Sacramento)

O’Dowd Jr. Jalen Lewis made history as the youngest basketball player in the country to go pro, for two years, after inking a $1.2 million deal with the Overtime Elite—deterring his college eligibility. except, and therefore their high school eligibility. But he is ranked as a top prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft class. As a sophomore, Lewis helped guide O’Dowd to 9-4 and 7-0 on aggregate in league play last season.

Without them this year, others would be shed light. Including sophomore guard Tobias Asian.

“I would say he is a less prominent prospect,” Freitas said. “With young people, this can change over time.”

Riordan vs. Grant (Sacramento)

Archbishop Riordan entered the season in the Central Coast Section Open Division Boys Basketball Championship last June with an overtime loss to Archbishop Mitty and set a 14–4 (5–1) record. One of their stars, King-Jihsani Wilhite, returns for his junior year.

Oakland Tech vs Vanden (Fairfield)

Oakland Tech played a short season last year, going 6-4 and would return with a standout transfer in Ahmari Muhammad, who changed his name from Ahmari McCullough. Muhammad moved from St. Joseph’s Notre Dame to Oakland Tech this year.

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