Episcopal Academy's dyanamic duo of 6-foot-4 2G Wayne Ellington and 6-foot-5 Gerald Henderson headlined a fine night of hoops action in the semi-final round of the prestigious Albert C. Donofrio Classic held at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken, PA. Rivals.com has all of the details.
For the past 45 years the best players in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs have descended on the Fellowship House in late March into early April to play some of the most competitive off-season basketball around. A single elimination format event, the Donofrio Classic's history is rich with former and current superstars at the NBA and collegiate level, including Kobe Bryant, DaJuan Wagner, Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Tim Thomas, and many others going back to the 1960s. This year's event is sure to add to that distinguished list.
The first semi-final game tipped off at 7:00 pm and featured the Sonny Hill Seniors with Temple signee Semaj Inge and Drexel signee Scott Rodgers facing Main Street.
The Seniors took an early lead and survived a brief second half rally to claim a 98-83 victory and a spot in the finals. 6-foot-3 senior guard Isaiah Coleman from Freire Charter in Philadelphia had 29 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way. Inge had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodgers added 13 points in the win.
Main Street got 35 points from Main Street's 6-foot-3 senior Ryan Zamroz of Faith Christian School in Roseto, PA. Penn bound Ridley HS senior Kevin Egee added 12 points and Noel Wilmore had an off night scoring just 11 points in the loss.
The second game featured the Playaz taking on the Del Val Wildcats (A.K.A. Philly MJC) and was perhaps the showcase game of the entire event.
The game got off to a quick start as Ellington and 6-2 PG Luis Guzman took control for the Playaz and staked them a 49-38 lead at the break. Dan Geriot'sshooting and the intensity of senior guard Tyrone Lewis from Truman HS kept Del Val within striking distance.
In the second half Del Val made a furious comeback behind the efforts of Lewis and 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Josh Martin from Cardinal Dougherty HS in Philadelphia, and tied the game at 57 on a Martin layup. However, Ellington answered at the other end and the Playaz went back on top.
The game remained close and things were getting physical in the paint, especially for Gerald Henderson who was the recipient of a few chippie fouls. He soon found a release for his frustration. With about 8 and a half minutes to go, and the game still in the balance, Henderson unfurled what has to be one of the nastiest dunks in the history of this event's 45 year existence. Henderson was trailing the break and received the ball a step outside the foul line, took one dribble and just soared into the air. The defenders timed their leaps well, but Henderson continued to elevate while they were coming down, and crushed the rim with a tremendous one hander sending the standing room only crowd into a frenzy. 30 seconds later he'd repeat the feat with an even more vicious throw down, this time getting fouled in the process. The score was 75-65 and there were 8 minutes left, but the game was effectively over.
The intensity level of the whole team was raised a notch at that point, and Ellington took over down the stretch to lead the Playaz to a 104-83 win. Ellington led all scorers with 32 points. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Henderson went for 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Guzman added 18 points and 3 assists.
For Del Val, it was 6-foot-8 Dan Geriot leading the way with 21 points and 6 rebounds. 6-foot-1 guard Tyrone Lewis finished with 16 points in the loss.
Wayne Ellington's father told Rivals.com that Wake Forest is coming up for a school visit on Monday, April 18th, and NC State and Connecitcut would both be in town on the 21st. Ellington will take an official visit to North Carolina on May 20th, and should have a decision in early June. His final 5 are North Carolina, Villanova, NC State, Wake Forest, and Connecticut.
Gerald Henderson said that his visit to Duke last weekend was excellent. The Blue Devils have an offer on the table, but Henderson doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to make a decision. Wake Forest is coming in next week to meet with Henderson, and he has an official visit scheduled with Villanova for the 29th of April. When asked if there was a chance he'd make a decision in the next couple of weeks, he replied, "no chance. I want to take all of my visits so that I can make an informed decision." Henderson said to look for a decision in either June or July, but May was a possibility as well if he felt comfortable. His final 4 schools are Duke, Villanova, Wake Forest, and North Carolina.
Luis Guzman had a phenomenal tournament playing up with the main Playaz squad. The 6-foot-2 junior from Paramus Catholic said that he has offers from Florida State, DePaul, and St. Joseph's, and strong interest from the likes of Ohio State, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Florida, and South Florida. He'll take a visit to DePaul this month. Guzman averaged 17 points and 9 assists this past season before a broken finger caused him to miss the state playoffs. He said that he's still wide open when it comes to new schools getting involved.
St. Joseph's Prep's junior 6-foot-4 G/F Reggie Redding and his Procura squad were eliminated by Del Val on Tuesday, but he is still the odds on favorite to win the tournament MVP award. In the loss to Del Val, Redding poured in 39 points, adding 9 rebounds and 9 assists for good measure. Outside of Ellington, there may not be a player as skilled as Redding in the entire region. It will be very interesting to watch his recruiting heat up over the next few months.
Chester HS senior Noel Wilmore, a 6-foot-3 2G said that he is considering offers from George Washington, Georgetown, and Northwestern. He'll visit George Washington the weekend of April 23rd, then head to Georgetown the following weekend. Wilmore led PA State Champion Chester in scoring with 18 ppg., and he's a terrific student who's already qualified. He told us that he'd probably have a decision shortly after the Georgetown visit.