Senior staff writer
Get ready for more blockbuster high school basketball talent to invade the Southside Thursday and Friday.
Manual High School will host a six-game girls holiday tournament and a 10-game boys extravaganza that puts some of the nation’s top players on display at historic Cummins Gymnasium, named in honor of Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame coach Dick Cummins.
“This is big for fans of Hoosier Hysteria and for college scouts, who will see many top prospects in action,” Manual athletic director Aaron Sembly said. “This is the best holiday showcase of high school basketball talent in the Midwest.”
The inaugural Shavonte Zellous Girls Basketball Holiday Jam unfolds Thursday with the Redskins meeting Gary Lighthouse at 11:30 a.m. Games continue through 7:30 p.m.
The tournament is named in honor of event supporter and former Indiana Fever guard Shavonte Zellous, who played last season for the New York Liberty and is a human rights spokesperson.
Five of the state’s top 45 girls teams will be in action. The jam is a showcase for several stars, including seniors Destiny Perkins, Mya Parker and Kaley Jones of Lawrence North; Chyna Anthony and Earlean Davis of New Albany; and Tindley’s one-two junior punch of Kendall Fisher and Skye Williams.
The boys games will feature a phenomenal lineup of talent from 20 teams representing four states, including Manual’s 6-5 standout guard Courvoisier McCauley as the Redskins take on Fort Wayne Luers at 9:30 p.m. Friday. McCauley averages 31.8 points per game.
Sembly figures that more than 30 NCAA Division 1 prospects will be in action Friday.
Spectators and college coaches will see: 6-5 Kris Wilkes, North Central; 6-9 Manny Patterson, Chicago Kenwood; 6-5 Aaron Henry, Ben Davis; 6-8 Ram Kepedi, Lawrence North; 6-8 Keion Brooks and 6-11 Jaylen Buttz, Fort Wayne North; 6-9 towers Greg Eboigbodin and Ike Eke, Detroit Jesuit; 6-7 Terrence Lewis, Milwaukee Riverside; 6-8 Sydney Curry, Fort Wayne Luers; and 7-0 Mawich Kachjaani, International.
“This (Friday) is a great day for basketball junkies,” Sembly said. “We have some great teams and a lot of great players.” Seven of the state’s top 45 boys will be in action.
Sembly also said it is significant that the two-day showcase of talent is at Manual, the basketball home of 1961 co-Mr. Indiana Basketballs Tom and Dick VanArsdale, who also starred at Indiana University and in the NBA.
“Visitors who enter the gymnasium are amazed at how well it has been kept up, Sembly said. “Visitors also get that old-time Hinkle Fieldhouse feels with the light coming through the windows in the afternoon games.”
Sembly, who said it takes six to eight months to put the fields together, is no stranger of holiday showcases, which he organized when at Howe and Marshall high schools. “It takes a dedicated staff to put this together and make sure that each game goes smoothly so that coaches, players and spectators can enjoy it.”
Admission Thursday is $6 for students, $12 for adults; children ages 10 and under will be admitted free. Tickets cost the same Friday, with the exception of adults ($13).
The schedule (Indiana Basketball Coaches ranking):
Girls: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Manual vs. Gary Lighthouse; 1:30 p.m., No 45 (tie) New Albany vs. Tindley; 3 p.m., Ohio Gilmour Academy vs. No. 2 North Central; 4:30 p.m., No. 45 (tie) Fort Wayne South vs. No. 6 Lawrence North; 6 p.m., Chicago Simeon vs. No. 10 Ben Davis; 7:30 p.m., Hammond Morton vs. Cathedral.
Boys: 8 a.m. Friday, Detroit Cornerstone vs. Indianapolis Home School; 9:30 p.m., Jac-Cen-Del vs. International; 11 a.m., Lighthouse CPA vs. Howe; 12:30 p.m., No. 3 Fort Wayne North vs. Tindley; 2 p.m., Milwaukee Vincent vs. No. 16 Terre Haute South; 3:30 p.m., Danville (Ill.) vs. No. 45 (tie) Warren Central; 5 p.m., Milwaukee Riverside vs. No. 1 North Central; 6:30 p.m., Detroit Jesuit vs. No. 6 Lawrence North; 8 p.m., Chicago Kenwood vs. No. 5 Ben Davis; 9:30 p.m., No. 45 (tie) Fort Wayne Luers vs. Manual.