Southern, Person highlight Saturday's MLK Classic field
PAC-6 4-A schools Southern and Person will represent Durham and Roxboro, respectively, in the inaugural MLK Holiday High School Classic Saturday at Riverside High School.
Person’s Tyrone Outlaw Jr. will be on the floor during Saturday’s one-day showcase when his Rockets take on Apex at 7:45 p.m.
Outlaw (6-6, 195) has signed to play at UNC Greensboro, and he is putting up some nice offensive numbers, but the Rockets have lost their last five games, not getting in the win column since a few days before Christmas against Southern.
First-year Southern coach Kendrick Hall has watched his squad gain some traction after a shaky start. The Spartans have won five of their last six games and will look to keep things moving forward against Wilson Hunt at 4 Saturday.
The 2:15 p.m. game between North Raleigh Christian Academy and Cary Panther Creek may interest those who recall 5-foot-5 point guard Damon Harge Jr., who played some varsity basketball at Creedmoor’s Christian Faith Center Academy as a sixth grader last season. He recently transferred to North Raleigh Christian Academy, where as a seventh grader he splits time between the varsity and middle school teams. His playing status for Saturday’s game has not been announced.
“We’re trying to make this a strong Durham event,” MLK classic organizer Donyell Bryant said.
Bryant, Chuck Jones and Erroll Reese are the core crew responsible for making the MLK classic happen.
Those three, who also organized December’s inaugural Tobacco Road Holiday Basketball Invitational at Riverside over Christmas break, also are the brains behind the S.J.G. Greater N.C. Pro-Am, the summer basketball league at N.C. Central University.
Jones and Bryant are childhood friends of NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse. They’re all from Kinston and as youngsters decided that they’d make a community impact if they ever were in a position to do so, which led to the founding of the summer league in 2007.
Stackhouse played his college ball at North Carolina, and the Tobacco Road invitational appeared to have the makings of a Tar Heel reunion, with former UNC point guard Jeff McInnis courtside as an assistant coach for Northside Christian Academy, which won the tournament.
UNC G assistant coach Jackie Manuel, a captain on the UNC team that won the national championship in 2005, was at the Tobacco Road Invitational. Northwood High School (Pittsboro) head coach Donald Williams, the most outstanding player in the Final Four when the Tar Heels won the national title in 1993, showed up at Riverside for the holiday tournament. And on championship night, UNC legend Phil Ford — famed for his orchestration of Coach Dean Smith’s four-corners offense — assisted during the awards presentation.
That’s the sort of drawing power that Bryant, Jones and Reese have shown, particularly with respect to both the NBA and ACC players who have participated in the summer league at NCCU.
Bryant said proceeds from the MLK classic ($8 for students, $10 for adults) will go toward keeping the summer league free of charge, and he anticipates both it and the Tobacco Road Invitational eventually rivaling the long-running HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational in Raleigh.
But Bryant said all of that depends on how well the Durham community supports what he and his team have put together.