By Mitch Stephens
NEWARK, Calif. - Northern California basketball fans rejoice.
Smack dab in the midst of the football playoffs and on the same day as the CIF State Cross Country championships and CIF North Regional volleyball semifinals, one of Northern California's top one-day boys basketball showcases takes place at Newark Memorial High in Newark on Saturday (Nov. 24).
The first NorCal Tip-Off Classic features seven games starting at 10:30 a.m. and culminating with the day's top matchup, between defending Northern California champions Bishop O'Dowd-Oakland (Division III) and Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (Div. II) at 7:45 p.m.
Mitty is No. 2 in the state according to Cal-Hi Sports and 15th nationally according to studentsports.com.
The Monarchs feature one of the country's most coveted big men in 6-foot-9 senior Drew Gordon, a three-year starter who last week signed to UCLA
Mitty boasts three other Division I players in 6-5 swingman Collin Chiverton (St. Mary's), 6-8 post Enoch Andoh (Bucknell) and 6-6 forward John Adams (Lehigh).
O'Dowd's top returner is 6-4 junior post Justin Brue.
The other games are Woodside Priory-Portola Valley against University-San Francisco (10:30 a.m.), El Cerrito versus Acalanes-Lafayette (noon), Piner-Santa Rosa versus Weston Ranch-Stockton (1:30 p.m.), Valley Christian-San Jose versus. Clovis East (3 p.m.), Fremont-Oakland versus Sacramento (4:45 p.m.) and Newark Memorial versus Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco (6:15 p.m.).
Event director Gerry Freitas estimates at least 30 Division I players will be featured in the extravaganza, including 7-2 Greg Somogyi (Woodside Priory, UCSB), 6-6 forward James Albright (Fremont, unsigned), 6-6 wing James Nunally (Weston Ranch, UCSB) and 6-5 swingman Chris Jones (Newark Memorial, Fresno State), all seniors.
Standout juniors include Sacred Heart Cathedral 6-6 forward Jerry Brown, 6-3 guard Tim Harris (Valley Christian), 6-2 guard Chase Tapley (Sacramento) and 6-8 forward Lucas Devenney (Piner).
Other players that college scouts are eying are 6-2 guard Austin Simon (Valley Christian), 6-6 forward Josh O'Neal (Fremont), 6-9 forward Damon Warren (El Cerrito), 6-8 forward Bobby Evans (Sacramento), 6-8 forward Evan Sanzo Davis (O'Dowd), 6-1 guard Evan Wiley (Newark Memorial), 6-2 guard Brooks Baker (Acalanes), 5-10 guard Chris Webber (Mitty), 6-2 point guard Teandre Hubbard (Sacred Heart Cathedral), 6-5 post Kevin Greene (Sacred Heart), 6-6 swingman Christopher Grey (Weston Ranch) and 6-2 point guard Mic'eal Thomas (Weston Ranch).
Among the teams, Acalanes was a NorCal Div. III semifinalist last season and Sacred Heart Cathedral was a 2006 NorCal Div. IV champion.
E-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org.