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April 19, 2007
Players flocking to Pitt Jam Fest
The Kingwood Classic isn't the only must-see tournament in the country this weekend. The Hoop Group has put together a talented field for the second annual Pitt Jam Fest held at the University of Pittsburgh and area gyms.
The 17 and under field is loaded with 96 teams while 16 other teams are included in the Diamond Division on 26 courts around Pittsburgh.
Some of the top teams in the 96-team field include Boo Williams (VA), winners of the Boo Williams Invitational earlier in the month, the Playaz (NJ), winners of the Spring Fling, Metro Hawks (NY), Southeast Elite (AL), Michigan Hurricanes, Westchester Hawks (NY), DC Assault, D1 Greyhounds (OH), Ohio Basketball Club, Wisconsin Playground Warriors, Juice All-Stars (NY), Team Final (PA/NJ), Arkansas Hawks, Team Breakdown (FL), SYF Players (IN), Blessed IJN Elite (IN), Charlotte Royals (NC), Illinois Wolves and others.
A number of teams had to make last minute changes as the Crab City Classic in Baltimore was not approved for NCAA sanction. A Steel City Division was added to the tournament because of the influx of teams requesting participation in the event. Some of the 16 teams in the Steel City Division include The Family, Team Melo, New York Gauchos, Baltimore Stars, South Carolina Ravens and others.
Arize Ifejika, assistant tournament director, said he is looking forward to this year's event.
"I think this tournament will be one of the most talked about events of the spring," Ifejika said. "The team that wins this tournament should have the advantage from here on out in other events because winning this tournament is a big deal. That should go a long way."
The Rivals150 will be well represented with roughly 50 of the top prospects will be on hand for the event. Five-star seniors include Ed Davis of Virginia and Ty Walker from North Carolina. The duo plays for Boo Williams.
Ohio State center B.J. Mullens and recent Cincinnati commitment Yancy Gates suit up for the Ohio Basketball Club, making for one of the best 1-2 interior punches in the tournament.
Five-star forward Samardo Samuels will be in town with his loaded Metro Hawks team along with New York City guard Sylven Landesberg. Other Northeastern star guards in the field include Dexter Strickland, who will be Team New Jersey ABC, Tyreke Evans with Team Final and 2009 stud Lance Stephenson with the Juice All-Stars.
The nation's top football prospect Terrelle Pryor will switch gears and play for the hometown Pittsburgh JOTS in the Steel City Division. Other local stars include Aliquippa two-sport star Jonathan Baldwin and area guard Brian Walsh. Nasir Robinson, a Pitt commitment, will be a welcomed guest to the Panther faithful this weekend. He was outstanding at the Boo Williams Invitational.
Other notable players in the field include Florida teammates Kenny Boynton, a 2009 five-star guard, and Eloy Vargas, a top Pitt target. The D1 Greyhounds tandem of Darius Miller and William Buford, an Ohio State pledge, will draw a crowd.
Romero Osby and Courtney Fortson of the Southeast Elite team from Alabama will also have a number of head coaches watching.
The list goes on and on.
With so many teams on hand and a schedule that could benefit under the radar players, it wouldn't come as a big surprise that a number of new names emerge onto the scene.