High school basketball

SC’s best in high school basketball gather Saturday

ainelson@thestate.comMarch 29, 2013 

The best high school basketball talent from the city and the state will determine whose stars shine brightest in the Columbia vs. South Carolina All-Star Game today at Benedict College.

The concept was developed and the game organized by Sixth Man Basketball and Lineage of Champions, two of the state’s grassroots basketball organizations.

“I felt like it was a way to showcase the local talent in Columbia and the state,” said Curtis Wheeler, of Sixth Man Basketball, one of the organizations promoting the new event.

“The joke around the state is that Columbia people think they invented basketball, and Greenville people think they invented it. And it’s barbershop talk. A lot of guys who are in the basketball community talk about it all the time, where do the best basketball players come from?”

To settle the dispute, organizers developed what they hope will become a regular event, putting the state’s top basketball players from all leagues and classifications on the court together.

“That’s the driving force, to get the best kids on the court together,” Wheeler said.

The Columbia squad boasts a formidable roster with Clemson-bound Austin Ajukwa, of SCISA champion Cardinal Newman, alongside future Gamecock Justin McKie, of Class 4A champion Irmo.

Lancaster native Sindarius Thornwell headlines South Carolina’s all-star team. His teammates include Hartsville’s Devontea Washington and Lake Marion’s Khalil Halls.

Wheeler said Thornwell, a four-star shooting guard and future Gamecock who plays for Oak Hill Academy, was among the first players to sign on for the game.

“We really appreciate the high school coaches for embracing another (all-star) game, and it’s been good because the kids really want to play,” he said. “It wasn’t hard to put the roster together. Kids like Justin McKie, they wanted to play.”

Although many of the players know each other through AAU circles, the Columbia vs. South Carolina game will be the first time many of them have played with and against each other.

“This is an all-star game that reflects all the talent,” Wheeler said.

And it’s a perfect way to settle, for now, a decades-old argument.

If you go:

What: Columbia vs. South Carolina All-Star Classic

When: Today, 6 p.m.; Doors open at 4 p.m.

Where: Benedict College

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for high school students

Rosters

Team Columbia

Austin Ajukwa, Cardinal Newman

Devonte Anderson, Richland Northeast

Tony Dargan, Chapin

Nygel Gates, Lexington

Vincent Hicklin, Lower Richland

Matt Howard, A.C. Flora

Eric Hopkins, Keenan

Justin McKie, Irmo

Marcus Praylow, Columbia

Jose Roman, Ridge View

Aaron Scott, Richland Northeast

Dominique Taylor, Spring Valley

Coach: Terry Dozier, Westwood

Team South Carolina

Daniel Bridges, Landrum

Justin Dotson, Daniel

Khalil Halls, Lake Marion

PJ Heath, South Pointe

Roderick Howell, Rock Hill

Jaylen Reid, Rock Hill

Tashombe Riley, Orangeburg-Wilkinson

Kevin Howell, Marion

Jaylen Shaw, Hartsville

Sindarius Thornwell, Oak Hill

Devontea Washington, Hartsville

Darren Williams, Flora MacDonald

Coach: Melvin Watson, South Pointe

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service