The rosters for the boys’ basketball portion of the Metro Classic preseason all-star game, which pits New York City’s best against their counterparts from Long Island and the Hudson Valley, were recently released. The fifth annual contest, billed “The Boros vs. The Burbs,” will take place Oct. 26 at Island Garden in Hempstead, L.I.
Here is a breakdown of the New York City boys’ team, which will be coached by Elmer Anderson and Ruth Lovelace of Boys & Girls and Don Kent of Monsignor McClancy.
Lance Stephenson, Lincoln.
Mr. Born Ready, the Coney Island phenom, had accomplished everything he has sought out to in his three years at Lincoln – winning three city championships and two state Federation Class AA crowns. Before picking a college from his countless suitors, a mythical national championship may be next. Based on talent at this age, the 6-foot-6 senior is the best to come out of his famed neighborhood that has also produced Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair.
Anton Dickerson, Boys & Girls
The sharp-shooter was basically an afterthought last year on the runner-up Kangaroos, a reserve who saw little playing time. What a difference a year makes. Now Dickerson is expected to lead Boys & Girls, be its playmaker and leading scorer. He did enjoy a solid IS 8, teaming with backcourt mate Mike Taylor, only a sophomore. Those two should be fun to watch.
Sean Johnson, Christ the King
Nobody has made more noise this offseason than the talented 6-foot swingman from Queensbridge. He has seemed to curtail his anger issues and inconsistency. The Royals, after graduating Ryan Pearson and Erving Walker, will go as he goes. First indications are that will be far – very far.
James Padgett, Lincoln
Lance Stephenson receives all the notoriety nationwide – and justifiably so – but the PSAL’s top big man deserves some love, too. The 6-foot-8 forward recently committed to Maryland, where he should make an immediate impact. Thought of as stiff and immobile at one time, Padgett’s athleticism and court awareness have greatly improved. Plus, he’s a demon on the glass.
Jayvaughn Pinkston Bishop Loughlin
There isn’t a big man in the city that can match Pinkston’s strength, quickness and athleticism. After a slow start last winter, the 6-foot-7 power forward came on, helping the Lions to the Brooklyn/Queens title and the city semifinals. He only improved this summer. With guard Doron Lamb now at Oak Hill Academy, and coach Khalid Green taking a scouting job with the New Jersey Nets, Loughlin is all about Pinkston.
Lamont Samuel, Boys and Girls
Another year, another dynamic transfer for the Kangaroos. With the mass exodus of seniors – Boys & Girls graduated their entire starting five – a lot will be resting on Samuel’s broad shoulders. One PSAL coach called the 6-foot-4 swingman, who left Adelphi Academy for Boys & Girls, a “no-doubt all-city player.”
Durand Scott, Rice
One of a select few Raiders over the years to play varsity as a freshman, Scott has learned what it takes to lead the powerhouse Harlem program. Now, after learning behind Curtis Kelly, Edgar Sosa and Kemba Walker, the talented guard is ready to take off. He has his pick of colleges – Pittsburgh, UConn, UCLA, Tennessee and Miami– and a senior year awaiting. A tenacious defender, able scorer and good rebounder, the 6-foot-4 Bronx product is the Catholic’s league’s best all-around player.
Russ Smith, Archbishop Molloy
Boy, can he fill it up. Smith, a 6-foot combo guard, can break down just about anyone with his frenetic jumper and get hot from outside. He is the one reason the Stanners could be dangerous in March.
Keith Spellman, Thomas Jefferson
Considering the talent surrounding him, if Spellman could really get his attack together – play more defense, share the ball, keep his temper in check – the Orange Wave would really have something. They made the semifinals last year anyway, falling to Lincoln. There have never been any doubts of Spellman’s ability. The 6-foot-2 senior can light it up from anywhere on the court, get to the rim with ease as well as sink feathery jumpers with defenders in his face. Simply, after Stephenson, Spellman is the PSAL’s best scorer.
Dashaun Wiggins, Wings Academy
He came out of nowhere to star in last year’s playoffs, averaging 19 points per game. Now, there are expectations for the talented southpaw point guard from Wings – to lead them to the Bronx crown and even further than last March. Smooth and explosive, the 6-foot-1 junior has already drawn comparisons to Drexel guard Jamie Harris, the former Wings star.
Chaz Williams, Bishop Ford
The city’s fastest point guard, Williams has elevated the Falcons to contender status. He led them to their first ever CHSAA Class A crown, and will attend Hofstra in the fall. Tom Pecora is getting a good one in this 5-foot-9 Brooklynite.
Joel Wright, Thomas Jefferson
“Air Jamaica” can shoot from the outside and take it to the hole. He can handle the ball, create his own shot and defend. The sky is the limit for the freakishly athletic 6-foot-6 Wright, a prototypical college forward.