SHOWSTOPPER: Keion Bell has been the main attraction at the Say No Classic this year as the Pepperdine sophomore impressed spectators with his scoring and athleticism.
Moore Trying to Ring Up Another â€˜Say Noâ€™ Title
Pepperdine phenom Keion Bell leads Hankâ€™s Top Prospect to Final Four
By Kenneth Miller
Sentinel Managing Editor
Veteran â€˜Say No Classicâ€™ summer basketball league coach Wallace Moore
Is in familiar territory again this week as he leads Hankâ€™s Top Prospects to the championship semifinals on Friday Aug. 14 at Trade Tech College in the nightcap of the final four at 8p.m.
Itâ€™s nothing new for Moore who has coached three previous teams to the Say No championship, including the crown in 2008.
However what makes this challenge different is that Moore will have the services of arguably the best college player in Southern California in Pepperdineâ€™s Keion Bell.
Bell, who will be a sophomore in the fall, is leading the team in scoring with a 30 point per game average and thatâ€™s not all.
He is probably also leading the long running and most prestigious college summer league in the nation in highlight clips.
The 6â€™3 shooting guard is fresh off a 39 point game in the quarter finals where he also shot better than 50 percent from the field and had a variety of acrobatic moves and dunks that convinced this reporter that he is clearly the best player in college in this region.
That is saying a mouth full since players in the league represent many of the most outstanding programs in the nation including UCLA, USC, and Loyola.
Among them are UCLA sophomore center Drew Gordon, who plays along side Bell and is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Another teammate is Jordan Hamilton, the former Dominguez High star and soon to be Texas freshman, who in two games and averaged 20 points.
Moore also has the services of San Diego State prospect Malcolm Thomas, who was named 2009 National Junior College Player of the Year.
In years past the Say No Classic has featured stars such as Baron Davis among countless others and this year is no exception.
This is also the first time the league is operating without its longtime director Rod Smith, who died earlier this year.
Teams in the league are wearing uniforms with his initial â€œRSâ€ over their heart and before each game a moment of silence in held in his memory.
Sponsored by Nike, the league is comprised of 24 teams in two divisions, Pomona and Los Angeles and six teams from each division qualify for the playoffs.
The champions in both the women and men divisions will be crowned this weekend. The menâ€™s championship is scheduled for tip at 3p.m. and the women roughly two hours prior.
â€œThis league is not just about me or championships or the players, but itâ€™s about a long standing tradition that was implemented and sustained by Rod Smith,â€ said Moore.
Now the Say No is being operated by Smithâ€™s son Dave Smith, who has added his own personal touch to the league with his passionate play-by-play announcing.
Â â€œWe want to continue to make it bigger and better. I wasnâ€™t expected to being doing this and I donâ€™t know everything that my father did because he had so much information in his head, but I will do the best that I can,â€ said Dave Smith.
Early indications are that he succeeding his father and honoring him quite admirably.