The unofficial start to the basketball season is Saturday at Newark Memorial at the NorCal Tip Off Classic. Here’s a preview of the event from correspondent Steve R. Waterhouse, who will be covering the event Saturday.
The fifth annual Nor Cal Tip Off Classic Saturday at Newark Memorial High will feature 14 high-caliber teams and several Division I prospects.
Action gets underway at 11 a.m. when Rodriguez takes on Freedom. The highlighted game will be McClymonds vs. Sheldon-Sacramento at 8:30 p.m.
Tournament organizer Gerry Freitas expects there to be approximately 30 Division I prospects –- two of whom have already committed to schools.
Langston Morris-Walker (6-foot-4) of Berkeley has signed with Oregon State and 6-2 Tajai Johnson of Vallejo has inked with UC Riverside.
Berkeley will take on Weston Ranch-Stockton at 5:30 p.m. and El Cerrito will play Vallejo at 3:45 p.m.
Host Newark will play Deer Valley at 7 p.m.
Newark features a young squad led by four-year varsity player Casey Norris, a sharp-shooter. The Cougars feature a point guard in Joey Frenchwood (6-0), who is a second-year varsity player. Fellow sophomores include 6-8 Matthew Thomas and 6-5 Damien Banford.
Deer Valley senior Olajuwan Garner (6-2) is a player to look out for along with 6-7 Marcus Lee and 5-11 Kendall Smith – both juniors.
Freedom features 6-2 senior Jelani Hardaway, 6-2 junior James O’Neal and sophomore 6-4 Elliott Smith.
Dublin, which takes on Jesuit-Carmichael at 12:30 p.m., features 6-7 Eric Nielsen and 6-4 Joe McGlaston.
El Cerrito will face Vallejo at 3:45 p.m. The Gauchos are led by 6-3 Justin Johnson, 6-1 Blake Rayford, 6-1 Jonathan Savage and 6-0 freshman Tyrell Alcorn.
McClymonds, which is expected to have another stellar squad, is paced by 6-3 Lawrence Otis and 5-8 Dulani Robinson – both seniors. Fellow senior, 6-10 Jamaree Stickland is out because of an injury. Mack also has a solid junior in 6-6 Dalvin Guy.
11 a.m. –- Rodriguez (Fairfield) vs. Freedom
12:30 p.m. -– Dublin vs. Jesuit (Carmichael)
2:15 p.m. — St. Patrick-St. Vincent vs. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove)
3:45 p.m. — El Cerrito vs. Vallejo
5:30 p.m. –- Berkeley vs. Weston Ranch (Stockton)
7 p.m. –- Newark Memorial vs. Deer Valley
8:30 p.m. –- McClymonds vs. Sheldon (Sacramento)