ATHLETES SHINE AT HBCU SHOWCASE
HBCU UPLIFT GIRLS: Unsigned seniors, JUCO players, under class student-athletes gave it their all at the HBCU girls basketball showcase on Sunday at Firebaugh High in Lynwood. Players, coaches were honored after All-Star game.
BOYS SHOW OUT AT HBCU SHOWCASE
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Jamal Edmonson, from Charleston, South Carolina -- who entered the transfer portal after competing for NCAA Div. II Frances Marion College --came to the event seeking an opportunity to get an offer from a Div. I or II either on the West Coast or South East.
On day one, the former Ashley Ridge High star and former All-Region class V-A player of the year -- one of a few ever to score 3,000 points state prep history-- exchanged information with a coach from Albany State, an university in Georgia. He was invited to visit the campus and work out for them later this year. “I just picked up Albany State,’’ said the 6-foot-4 guard. “I am the Andrew Wiggins type of guard, very versatile. I love to shoot, pass and get my teammates involved.’’
He said he will justing to keep working hard to get better in hopes of receiving more opportunities. “It’s all in God’s hands,’’ he said.
Levelle Jeigler, a 6-foot-2 athlete who competed for Chicago State in 2021 and who is currently in the transfer portal, put on a point-guard clinic, managing the floor, finding teammates for jumpers and layups on breaks. The Oakland California native, who played JUCO ball at East LA College, knocked down jumpers from the arc, dribbled through traffic inside the lane for mid-range shots, and stole the ball for second-chance points. Defenders were on him like white-on-rice but they couldn’t dislodge the basketball from him. “I just came out here to compete and hopefully pick up another scholarship,’’ said Jeigler, who also said he came to the event because hasn’t received any interest from recruiters. For the former Cougar,, an athlete who starred in the Netflix documentary “Last Chance U’’, is currently living in North Carolina. He flew into town to compete for athletic scholarship. At Chicago State, he averaged 10.9 points, 13 boards and 2.4 assists per game.
Dennis Johnson, who attends Cerritos College and who starred at Compton High in 2019, received interest from Vanguard University and a couple more NAIA schools in his senior year. On Saturday, he showed he can compete with the talented field, as did former Lynwood High and Lamar JC College 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Joshua Jones Jr. Both Johnson and Jones Jr. made the cut to play in the HBCU Top 20 All-Star Showcase.
Brandon Kuy, a 5-foot-10 point guard who completed his high school basketball career at Kaiser High in 2020, said he didn’t compete after graduation. He tallied 9.3 points per game, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals during his final campaign.
“This showcase is a good opportunity to get coaches looking at me right now,’’ Kuy said. “It’s a good opportunity for everyone. It’s just a blessing. Hopefully, some coaches will like how I play. I can’t ask for a better opportunity.
Jordan Ward, a 6-foot-4 junior swingman from Pomona High, led his team to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Div. IV-A Playoffs. The All-Miramonte League top performer averaged 12.2 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor. :He also average 6.7 rebounds per game. “It was definitely a blessing seeing all the college coaches watching me and I being able to showcase what I do. (For me), it was about exposure. I have one more year to develop my game and to work to get that scholarship.’’
Niles Alredge, a 5-foot-7 point guard who played for Lawndale High in 2019, said he just wants to take his talents to the next level. “I think it’s truly an amazing experience for everybody who didn’t get a chance to go anywhere (to compete for universities). They can showcase their talents to all the coaches from HBCUs,’’ he said. “I am truly thankful for the opportunity for sure.’’
Amar Kadic, a 6-foot-9 center/power forward who competes for the Cooper Academy Prep school. Kadic, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, said basketball there is a developing sport, second to soccer. He left because he felt he would get a better opportunity to train, develop and get a scholarship to play at the next level in the United States.
“I have been here for only three months,’’ Kadic said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to get (some exposure to college coaches) and show (them) what I can do. Hopefully, I'll get some good looks from college coaches.
“I have been watching college basketball since I was 14,’’ he continued. “It has always been very interesting to me. I thought that coming here would give me a great opportunity for a college scholarship. I also wanted to travel the world a little bit. I am trying to put myself on the map, show coaches what I can do. I am just grateful for the opportunity.’’
Andre Wright, a 6-foot-4 forward who never played high school basketball or football, said, “The competition is good. I’ve seen some big dudes up in here. I have a lot more muscle than a lot of them.
“A lot of people wish they could be in this spot. I have to thank God, give Him the glory,'' he said after he was asked about being able to compete for an athletic scholarship in front of HBCU college coaches. "I have been working hard. Naturally, I’m a football player. It took me a while to (develop my skills to compete in basketball at a higher level). It was a grind. It was a grind.’’ This past season, he averaged a double, double at a JUCO.
Joshua Jones Jr., a former 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Lynwood High, Cal State Fullerton and Lamar Community College in Colorado, delivered clutch shots and went skyward for dunks, block shots and rebounds at the showcase. "It was a fun environment. It was a lot of good players. It was competitive,'' he said. "I had fun today."
Eric Wright, a guard who competed as a freshman at San Bernardino Valley College, “I definitely came here to showcase my talents and get a scholarship. It’s a big part of my life. I’ll go anywhere someone would be glad to have me,’’ said the 6-foot-3 combo guard, who dazzled the crowd with
a sharp-shooter's touch from the arch in the HBCU Top 20 Game.
“It’s amazing. I really love that kids will know where they are going to go, just having the opportunity to be seen and get into college,’’ said Tyus Edney, a former NBA player and UCLA star point guard who served as an ambassador of the showcases. “This is about giving kids opportunities to be successful in life.’’
HBCU TOP 20
Lee Hubbard III
Joshua Jones Jr.
LYNWOOD LOSE COMPOSURE
DRIVING THROUGH TRAFFIC: Briliyah looks for opening to drive the lane against Etiwanda in the first quarter of the Knights CIF-SS Open Divsion game Saturday night at home. The senior point guard finished with 10 points.
LOOKING FOR AN OPENING: Jada Turner looks for teammates in the first quarter of the Knights CIF-SS Open Divsion game Saturday night at home. The senior point guard tallied 11 points.
The win avenged an earlier-season loss and enabled the Eagles to earn a win in the group B pool of the CIF Southern Section Open Division Playoffs.
The Knights were stunned.
“Destiny Agubata was able to play,’’ said Etiwanda coach Stan Delus about his starter who was out injured the first time the teams met. “Our young kids were more composed. We were able to take care of the ball on the perimeter. We made timely shots at the right moment.’’
Lynwood seemingly had the win within their grasp twice.
The first time was when they held a nine-point lead in last four minutes of regulation and appeared to be headed for a victory. However, a 3-pointer by Destiny Agubata, from beyond the top of the key, tied the game up, at 66, to force an overtime.
The final time came when Marshall scored five points in overtime and appeared to have given Lynwood enough breathing room to secure a victory. Then, Etiwanda went on a short run to take the lead. The Eagles led 37-31 at intermission.
Marshall, who had 18 points in the first half, finished with 39 points. Briliyah Taylor added 10 points. Turner had 11 points, and Jada Laititi hit three 3 pointers for nine points.
The Eagles, who trailed for the most of the second half, were led by Smith with 22 points. Agubata tallied 21 points, and Majesty Cade had 13. Now, they will await to see the pairing come out for the SoCal Regional Playoffs. That will begin next week.
“I think we were a little down the first half,’’ Castro said. “We said,’we need to work hard. It didn’t matter whether we win or lose, we just want to work harder, and give everything we got at the end. That’s what we did.’’
LYNWOOD TURNED UP DEFENSE IN SECOND HALF
“We just tried to make sure that we together and didn’t hang our heads,’’ said Ayanna Johnson, who scored 15 points for Mater Dei. “We had a big lead and we lost it. We fought back and made sure we were up. We had a good attitude all the time. So we secured the win. I think they were attacking the basket more. There wasn’t much we could do (with Rayah) she had 43 points. She is pretty good. She is hard to stop.’’
Marshall, a USC signee, was practically unstoppable. The 6-foot-4 point-forward score 16 of her 43 points in the fourth quarter, 28 in the second half. Senior guard Briliyah Taylor hit a clutch 3 during the Knights run. They had outscored the Monarchs 19-11 in the fourth quarter and 20-10 in the third.
In the first half, Mater Dei was on fire. The Monarchs scored 28 points compared to the Knights 13, and outscored Lynwood 23 to 18 for Lynwood, and held a 51-31 advantage at admissions.
Mater Dei hit nine 3-pointers. Brooke Demetre, a 6-foot-3 All-American and Stanford signee, accounted for four 3-pointers and scored 18 of her 20 points in the first stanza. She was held to two points in the second half. She had gotten into foul trouble and eventually fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Alyssa Durazo-Frescas had also hit four 3-pointers in the first half. Lynwood’s perimeter defense didn’t allow her to get many good looks in the second half. She went scoreless in the third quarter but did manage to score a bucket in the fourth. She finished with 18 points.
Ayanna Johnson came up big time, she scored 15 points in the game but her clutch 3-pointer in the waning minutes of the game took the air out of Lynwood’s balloon. Soleil Montrose also scored in double figures, scoring 13 points.
Lynwood coach Ellis Barfield said he was pleased with his team's second-half performance. It took heart to rally from a 24-point deficit to have a chance to win it in the end. The miscues hurt. But they are competing against the best teams in the CIF Southern Section.
PLAYING TOUGH: Honesty Hasson, who suffered an injury late in the game Wednesday night, turned her defense up a notch to help the Knights rally to within four points. defender
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Lynwood senior shooting guard Jada Laititi hit two clutch deep balls against Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Open Division Playoffs on Wednesday night on the road.