Wallace Prather was one of the pioneers of grassroots basketball during his time with the Atlanta Celtics AAU program. Since his sudden passing two years ago, his former organization has honored his legacy with a tournament in his name in May. This year's event has a number of players that "Chief" would have been happy to see up close and personal.
Top dogs take to the field
Tournament director Hulio Smith went to work and helped lure in a number of five-star prospects for this year's Prather Memorial Classic. Rivals.com No. 1 junior in the country Greg Monroe comes to Atlanta with his Louisiana Select club. On Saturday, the 6-foot-10 lefty will have a challenge against the host Atlanta Celtics on Georgia Tech's main court at 2:10 p.m.
The Celtics boast a lineup deep with Division I players including top ten sophomores Derrick Favors and Noel Johnson, top 15 junior Howard Thompkins and four-star wing forward Chris Singleton.
Another intriguing match-up is a pairing of top guards. Team Final's Tyreke Evans and Port Arthur Heat's J'Covan Brown are expected to be in town. They tangle up at 3:20 on Saturday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Two top 16 and under teams playing up in the 17 and under division get together at 10:40 on Saturday morning as Team Breakdown and the Worldwide Renegades clash. Breakdown, winners of the Pitt Jam Fest 16U division, boast freshman guard Brandon Knight and a long list of Division I prospects. Worldwide rides the great play of Richard Howell, a five-star sophomore, as well as a solid core of Division I players as well.
The Birmingham Storm come to the Prather Memorial Classic with a Kingwood Classic title under its belt in the 16 and under division. DeMarcus Cousins, the current top ranked player in the class of 2009 by Rivals.com, leads the charge for the Storm.
Other Saturday matchups of note
Tournament organizers have lined up a great slate of action on Saturday at Alexander Memorial Classic. At 9:30 a.m., Team Breakdown of Florida will lean on the play of Eloy Vargas and Kenny Boynton as they play the South Carolina Ravens featuring Murphy Holloway, Marcus Goode and Leshay Page.
Southeast Elite of Alabama has enjoyed a strong spring thanks to the play of the quartet of Romero Osby, Courtney Fortson, Varez Ward and Darnell Wilks. The team will have a tough challenge in the Georgia Blazers, a team that throws a lot of players at you and leans on the leadership of guard Andre Young.
The Worldwide Renegades, featuring a lineup including Teondre Williams, Lorenzo Brown, Deqaun Jones and Mfon Udofia, line up against Team Truth. Toby Veal leads the charge for Team Truth.
The Alabama Challenge will play against the Columbus Titans out of Mississippi. The Challenge is a stacked group, featuring Jamychal Green, Andrew Steele and others while the Titans rely on big man Rashanti Harris.
The Jacksonville Lee Bulls, featuring guards Dante Anderson and Shaquille Johnson, play against the Birmingham Raptors, featuring Latavious Williams.
Other teams of note in the field include: Arkansas Hawks, Team Chaos, United Celtics, Smyrna Stars and more.