Donofrio Classic has many La Salle prospects

Donofrio Classic has many La Salle prospects

A small community gym tucked in small town Conshohocken, PA holds many memories for high school basketball fanatics who have trekked to a cramped gym for the past 46 years. Fans come from Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania and as far away as Connecticut to get a glimpse of some of the best high school basketball players the east coast has to offer.

Kobe Bryant played there. Rasheed Wallace, Lionel Simmons, Pooh Richardson, Hank Gathers, Jameer Nelson, Al Harrington, Randy Foye, and others too numerous to mention have displayed their skills in the tiny gym. So close to the action you can see the players sweat and at times catch a player run into the stands trying to save a ball. The old days you could find a coach watch a recruit. There were legendary coaches to boot like Jim Boeheim, Rollie Massamino, Lou Carnesecca, and John Chaney. Almost every eastern college basketball coach has attended this event. The days of seeing coaches attend the event are gone due to NCAA recruiting restrictions but the talented players continue to flock to this event and this year will be no different.

Tonight, the Albert C. Donofrio Classic begins its 47th year. At last count 25 committed Division I players were scheduled to participate and another 30 or so still deciding or will be recruited by Division I schools in the future. Players such as Pittsburgh signee Brad Wanamaker, Memphis signees Marcus and Markief Morris, Rutger's Corey Chandler as well as Syracuse signees Rick Jackson and Antonio Jardine. Also, perhaps the top player in the junior class, American Christian's Tyreke Evans is also scheduled to play. This is a basketball junkie's Eden. The Roadrunners look to defend their 2006 championship. Last year they defeated the Playaz squad, who were led by Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, 112-111 on an incredible shooting performance by current Missouri freshman Keon Lawrence. Also aiding the Roadrunners was current La Salle freshman Yves Mekongo-Mbala who had 21 points in the win.

This year's tournament has no shortage of La Salle recruiting targets and also will feature future Explorer Kyle Griffin. Griffin's Team Philly squad will receive a first round bye and open play April 10th. His team will feature Former Explorer recruit and Temple signee Lavoy Allen, Siena bound Clarence Jackson from Cherokee HS, recent St. Peter commit Khalil Mumford, as well as several other Division 1 prospects. Also on Griffin's team will be Philly point guard prospects and serious La Salle recruiting targets Malik Wayans from Roman Catholic HS, and Velton Jones from North Catholic HS. This will be a good opportunity for La Salle fans to watch Kyle Griffin play with a host of other Division I players and play against the same caliber competition. A potential match-up with Hunting Park featuring the Morris twins in the 3rd round and last year's champions the Roadrunners in the semi-finals could provide Explorer fans a real good look at Griffin against some elite competition.

While Kyle Griffin is the only committed La Salle recruit in the tournament there is a plethora of others, mostly junior and sophomores that coach John Giannini is seriously considering. Here is the list of players La Salle fans should keep their eyes one should they attend the tournament and which team they will play for in the tournament:

Karon Burton PG – Chester HS/ Mainstreet
Russell Johnson SF – Chester HS/ Mainstreet or Waterview Phoenix
Sean Evans PF – Northeast HS/ NCP
Anthony King SF – Academy Park/ Pizza Time
Jim Conolley SG – Souderton HS/ Pizza Time
Austin Johnson PF – Cheltenham HS/ Playaz
Terrance Roderick PG – Philadelphia Lutheran/ James Fox
Sammy Givens SF – Academy of New Church/ Sonny Hill Seniors
Andrew Randall SF – Communications Tech/ Waterview Phoenix

The 47th annual Albert C. Donofrio Classic begins tonight and runs through April 17th. For more information you can contact the Fellowship House at (610) 828-3266 or visit them on the web: www.thefellowshiphouse.org

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