The Class of 2004 in Oregon could be one of the best the state has ever seen. One can easily see that when you scan the roster of this year's Portland Elite Legends.
This year's group of players, that will compete in the 17-and-Under divisions of the major national tournaments, consists of practically every top player of next year's senior class in the state. Led by head coach Troy Berry (current head coach at Portland's Lincoln High), the Legends competed in last weekend's Kingwood Classic down in Houston, and will be in upcoming tournaments in Minneapolis (Sabes Foundation Invitational, May 2-4) and Indianapolis (Nike Memorial Day Classic Invitational, May 23-25) in the spring, as well as Las Vegas and Los Angeles in the summer months.
Legends should be one of the top AAU teams this summer, with a great combination of players who can shoot, create, and score. A number of their players are already being recruited heavily by several Division I programs, including Maarty Leunen of Redmond (right), Oregon's 4A Player of the Year and one of the top rising juniors on the West Coast.
In a nutshell, here's how Berry breaks down this year's Legends 17U roster, as it is set for the next few tournaments this spring (listed by position, in alphabetical order):
Jeremiah Dominguez, South Salem (OR)
"Floor general. Dictates the outcome of the game without scoring a point."
Josh Jackson, Portland (OR) Sunset
"Smart player. He can shoot the ball."
James Loe, Hillsboro (OR)
"Scorer. A burst of energy."
DeShawn McKenzie, Portland (OR) Benson
"Athletic and explosive."
Nick Thierry, Aloha (OR)
"He'll get all the scraps."Wings
Erik Ainge, Hillsboro (OR) Glencoe
"Shooter/scorer. I love coaching him."
Ryan Fiegi, South Medford (OR)
"Long and able to play multiple positions. He can handle the ball and shoot it."
Donnie Harrison, Portland (OR) Grant, 6-1, SG
"Very competitive. An athlete."Forwards
Ryan Coldren, Eugene (OR) Marist
"Shooter. He'll step away from the basket and shoot it."
Ryan Keeling, Springfield (OR) Thurston
"Bulldog. He attacks the basket with tenacity."
Maarty Leunen, Redmond (OR)
"Extremely versatile, a well-rounded player."
Zach Tarver, Portland (OR) Jesuit
"Tremendous athleticism. Explosive. Gives us the ability to extend our defense."(Note: Missing is the Legends' usual post player, Cal-commit Sam Rayburn of Portland (OR) Sunset. Rayburn will sit out the spring to rehab his knee.)
In general, Berry can't wait to hit the court with this group of 12 players.
"I'm excited," he said. "We won a championship last year (the Sabes Foundation Invitational, 16U division). I'm looking forwards to coaching these kids."