The talent pool wasn’t as rich for the 2016 Beach Ball Classic All-Name Team as it has been in recent years, but there was still enough to create a few formidable teams.
The First Team consists of Kofi Cockburn of Christ the King, Chuma Okeke of Westlake, Dimingus Stevens of Bishop O’Connell, Divine Williams of McQuaid Jesuit and “I shot the” Chereef Knox of Imhotep Charter School.
On the Second Team are Nojel Eastern and Obi Ukachukwu of Evanston Township, Reign Watkins of Pace Academy, Peyton Shotwell of Scott County and Charives Hunter of Westlake.
Making the Third Team are Gabe Cheeks of Evanston Township, Virshawn Green of Westchester, Tadre Morse of Father Henry Carr, Fatayn Wesley of Imhotep and Meco Lucas of Jonesboro.
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Honorable mentions go to Brandon “Party” Favors of Westlake, Adam ElGammel of Christ the King, Jamal “He’s my” Bey and “Take a” Chance Michels of Bishop Gorman, Lebrone “I’m nearly Lebron” Woodbury and Jack “Dirty” Martini of Myrtle Beach, Jack Wray Guard of Pace Academy, Kenneth Toure “de France” and Maurice “King” Tutt of Westchester, and Tyler “Miley” Cyrus and RJ Brongo of McQuaid Jesuit.
The team is coached by McQuaid Jesuit’s Jack “At your” Leasure, assisted by Jonesboro’s Daniel “Deliver the” Maehlman and Scott County’s Billy “The Kid” Hicks.
Dillard’s Wright making most of last days on hardwood
Football may serve as Jordan Wright’s meal ticket, the Dillard (Fla.) two-sport start already having committed to play for Kentucky next fall.
But he bears no bones about where his heart truly lies.
“Man, I just love playing basketball,” he said. “It’s my first love, I started playing when I was 2 years old.”
And as a basketball player, he has helped the Panthers become one of the premier programs in Florida. Last season, the versatile 6-foot-6 was a key cog in leading them to a state 6A hoops title.
Taking on elite competition at Beach Ball, he more than showed his worth on the hardwood. Over the course of the tournament, he scored 103 points, the final two proving to be a game-winner for the Panthers in a 54-51 win over Pace (Ga.) in the third-place game.
His future, however, lies on the gridiron.
Wright committed to play football for Kentucky on Dec. 21 – which also happened to be his 18th birthday.
As a senior, Wright accumulated 25 sacks on the defensive side of the ball. Doubling as a tight end for red zone situations, he caught six touchdowns, among them a pivotal score against Boynton Beach that allowed it to earn a Florida District 15-6A title.
Before he leaves Dillard for greener – or bluer – pastures, the goal of leading the Panthers to consecutive state titles remains.
“We just have to keep pushing hard and never take our foot off the pedal,” Wright said.
Pace coach winds up on injured list
Guess it’s fair to lump Pace Academy (Ga.) coach Demetrius Smith among the tough guys in this year’s Beach Ball Classic.
Hoping to enjoy the final day in Myrtle Beach with his players, the Knights’ head man sustained an unspecified upper leg injury. He could be seen limping from his team’s locker room, as well as on the sideline during their third-place game with Dillard (Fla.).
“Just wanting to have a little fun with the boys and I end up pulling something,” Smith said. “What I’m hoping for, is that it is nothing more than a bad cramp. More so, I hope to get over this relatively soon.”
James Walker, Jonesboro
Chuma Okeke, Westlake
Chuck O'Bannon, Bishop Gorman
Matt Lewis, Bishop O'Connell
Jordan Wright, Dillard
Darryn Everage, Westchester
Isaiah Kelly, Pace
Raiquan Gray, Dillard
Elyiah Williams, Evanston
Nojel Eastern, Evanston
Pizza Hut Individual Hustle
David Beatty, Imhotep
Keith Lane Individual Sportsmanship
Michael Moreno, Scott County
US Food Service Danny Defensive Award
Zackery Bryant, Providence
Most Outstanding Player
Wendell Carter, Pace
Most Valuable Player
Daron Russel, Imhotep