Tyler Lams (Mater Dei)
Photo Credit: Scott Kurtz/Sentinel
Collision All-Star Game is best bet for weekend
By Evan Barnes
Sentinel Sports Editor
It’s hard to find an All-Star Game that has consistently attracted the best players in the City and Southern Section.
Over the past 11 springs, the Collision All-Star Game has succeeded in bringing that to pass and this Saturday, for its 12th edition, it might be the best in event history.
A total of 27 Division I girls and boys signed college basketball recruits will take the court at El Camino College and it’s the last chance to see the best of Southern California face off.
They all represent the very best of the Los Angeles City Section and Southern Section in a star billed doubleheader that will be the coronation of a memorable high school basketball campaign dominated by traditional powers and upstart dynasties.
Westchester, who captured its second consecutive City and Div. I state championship, will have more players in the boys game than any other school when City Player of the Year Dwayne Polee is joined by his Comet teammates Jordin Mayes (Arizona), Kareem Jamar (Montana) and center Reggie Murphy.
City runner-up Woodland Hills Taft will be represented by All City standout Bryce Jones (USC), sharp shooter Pierson Williams and Jordan Gathers, the nephew of the late Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers.
City semifinalist Crenshaw will be represented by All City performers Reynaul Baker and Abdul Zaid along with Palisades sharpshooter Garrett Nevels.
The City boys lead the series 6 games to 5 and will be coached by longtime Fremont coach Sam Sullivan, who’ll coach his son Michael and teammate Savion Udeh.
However, their challenge will be a monumental one when the Southern Section will be represented by eight Div.-I college signees, led by Mater Dei duo of Tyler Lamb (UCLA) and Keala King (Arizona).
Lamb, the CIF-SS Div. I-AA co-Player of the Year, continues the tradition of Collision featuring a UCLA-bound player. He joins current Bruins Tyler Honeycutt and Michael Roll along with former Bruins Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook.
Gatorade State Player of the Year Allen Crabbe (Cal) and teammates Richard Solomon (Cal) and Casey Trujeque (Montana) represent Division V champion Price, along with fellow Div.-I signees Shelton Boykin (Long Beach State) of Long Beach Poly, Ocean View guard Avery Johnson (San Francisco) and Temecula Great Oak star LaBradford Franklin (San Diego State).
CIF champion Leuzinger will send seniors Aqeel Quinn and co-CIF Player of the Year Delon Wright, younger brother of the Miami Heat’s Dorrell Wright.
The team will also feature arguably the most explosive player in high school basketball this season, Compton Centennial’s Deonta Burton who made his long-awaited college decision after press time.
Division III state champion Gardena Serra will not just be represented by CIF-SS co-Players of the Year Keith Shamburger (San Jose State) and Vaughn Autry (Montana), but head coach Dwan Hurt, who was named Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.
A record 13 Div.-I girls will suit-up for the Southern girls which lead the series by a commanding 10-1 margin.
Leading coach Mel Sims’ (Chino Hills Ayala) outfit will be two future UCLA Bruins in Santa Monica’s Thea Lemberger and Rhema Gardner of Ayala.
Gardner’s older sister Rebekah played in Collision X two years ago. She and Lemberger, the Division I-A player of the year, join current Bruins and Collision alumni Nina Earl (Collision IX MVP), Candice Brown and Darxia Morris.
Duke bound Chloe Wells of AB Miller, Arizona State bound Adriana Thomas, and Jasmine Lister (Vanderbilt) and her sister Cinnamon Lister (Boise St.) – both of Corona Santiago – are the core of a gifted group along with Long Beach Poly star Tanitra Byrd (UNLV) and Etiwanda star Jasmine Bernard (UC Irvine).
The City girls have only three college signees in UNLV bound Rmanii Haynes of Woodland Hills Taft, Chapman bound Destinee Sellers of Chatsworth and Fullerton bound Jasmine Grayson of Fairfax, but the margin of the series is not a clear barometer of the competitiveness of the series.
Five of the games have been decided by less than five points and four of the five have been two point affairs, giving hope to City coach Victoria Sanders (Narbonne) that her group can conquer the giant.
The girls’ showcase will tip-off at 5 p.m and the boys game is scheduled to tip at 6:30p.m. In between the games, Collision will honor former UCLA coach Jim Harrick as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Alumni from the game have gone on to great success. Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Austin Daye have reached the NBA while Arizona forward Derrick Williams was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and joined Michael Roll on the conference first team.
The City Section boys won last year 113-109 behind MVP Tyler Honeycutt but the Southern Section boys had a valiant effort from Jordan Hamilton. The current Texas freshman had a game-record 39 points in his only high school appearance last season.
The Southern Section girls won last year 81-36 behind MVP and State Ms. Basketball Layshia Clarendon’s 17 points.
Nowhere else will fans get a chance to see the best players from the City, the South Bay, the Valley, Orange County and the Inland Empire in one place. The last three games have seen at least 20 players commit to Division I schools and this year’s game
Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and tickets are priced at $10. For more information contact (310) 924-7851.