SportStars Magazine

Showcase Showdown

It’s all happening. November has arrived and the sneakers are squeaking as teams get ready for the opening of another basketball season toward the end of this month.

And per usual, fans — especially those in the Bay Area — won’t have to wait long to see some big time matchups. Saturday, Nov. 25, will be the first big day of the season as two boys showcases will take place just 6.5 miles apart from one another.

Newark Memorial High will once again play host to the NorCal Tip-Off Classic. This season’s seven-game slate will feature six teams who finished in the SportStars 2016-17 NorCal Top 20 final rankings. The headlining game will be Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland (No. 16 in last season’s final ranks) taking on a Fairfax-L.A. team which returns a ton of Division I talent after finishing No. 14 in’s final state rankings. O’Dowd returns one of the best backcourts in all of NorCal, and perhaps the state, in Pac 12-bound duo Elijah Hardy (Washington) and Naseem Gaskin (Utah).

Other NorCal Tip-Off matchups include St. Ignatius-S.F. (No. 17 final NorCal rank) against Las Lomas-Walnut Creek, Dublin (No. 7) against Berkeley, Moreau Catholic-Hayward (No. 10) against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda (No. 3) against Folsom and Capital Christian-Sacramento (No. 10) against Rancho Christian-Temecula.

Just a short 10-minute drive away, James Logan-Union City is hosting the second annual Guy Emanuele East Bay Tip-Off Showcase. In addition to being the host, the Colts will be beginning defense of their 2016-17 CIF Division I NorCal title. Despite their senior core being gone, Logan will likely be looking to the leadership of upcoming juniors Malcolm Steadman (4.4 points, 3 rebounds per game a year ago) and Gabriel Hawkins (5 points, 3.4 rebounds).

The Colts will play the headlining game against Heritage-Brentwood (No. 18 Norcal) in a rematch of last season’s CIF Div. I Northern Regional semifinal that Logan won 58-51. The Patriots should be led this season by forward Jonathan Ned.

Oakland Tech (No. 20) is also part of the Guy Emanuele lineup, as the Bulldogs matchup with Pittsburg. Other notable matchups in the event include El Cerrito against Freedom-Oakley, Monte Vista-Danville against Antioch and San Leandro against Clayton Valley-Concord.

As the calendar turns to December, the East Bay’s premier girls event — the West Coast Jamboree — turns 18 years old this season. While the bracket matchups for the Dec. 28-30 event haven’t been set yet, teams confirmed for the Platinum bracket include Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (No. 1 in our final 16-17 NorCal ranks), Carondelet-Concord (No. 3), Salesian-Richmond (No. 8), West Campus-Sacramento (No. 16), Sacramento (No. 17) and Folsom (No. 20). The Diamond Division bracket will include Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa (No. 2), St. Mary’s-Berkeley (No. 6), McClatchy-Sacramento (No. 9), Vanden-Fairfield (No. 10) and Miramonte-Orinda (No. 11).

— Chace Bryson


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