After months of hype and anticipation, the 10th edition of the Collision Scholastic Hoops Jam will finally go down this weekend at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach.
On Friday, two of the nation’s best travel teams - Southern California All-Stars and Pump & Run - will play in a three-game series starting at 6 p.m. Then Saturday, the City Section’s best will take on the best of the Southern Section, starting with the girls’ all-star game at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ game at 7:30 p.m.
21 Division I recruits will be featured in both games, the second consecutive year that the number of recruits will exceed 20. With several players yet to decide from their Division I offers at press time, that number could increase by game time.
Tickets will be available at the door for $10.
Over the years, Collision has significantly grown from its humble beginnings in 1999 at L.A. Southwest College. That year, the coaches included then-UCLA standouts Baron Davis and Billy Knight and the underclassman game featured future NBA standouts Tyson Chandler and Josh Childress.
Nine years later, it has become the premier all-star game in the region, noted for attracting the best players from both sections and for being the only game of its kind to pit the City versus the Southern Section.
The girls’ all-star game features a bevy of All-City and All-CIF players, including three players of the year in Narbonne’s Reiko Thomas (City), Ayala’s Rebekah Gardner (SS - Division I-A) and Colony’s Amani Butler (SS- Div III-A).
Thomas and Butler are headed to Arizona while Gardner will join the list of UCLA Bruins - male and female - who have played in Collision, including last year’s game Most Valuable Players Nina Earl and Chace Stanback.
Gardner will be joined by her All-CIF teammate, Oregon-bound Jasmin Holiday. Thomas, meanwhile, will see four of her City champion teammates on the City Section squad - Danielle Lenoir, Gabrielle Clark, Briauna Linton and Tipesa Moorer.
The City roster also includes All-City standouts Mykiea Russell (Washington), Charissa Engeron-Estrada (L.A. Wilson) and San Francisco State-bound Marilee Rice (Venice).
Russell will be one of three Lady Generals on the roster as she is joined by Janae Askew and second team All-City selection Ashley Wakefield.
The Southern Section roster boasts nine Div. I players and will feature All-CIF standouts Briana Hall and Lola Wells (AB Miller), Arizona-bound Jhakia McDonald (Magnolia), University of San Francisco-bound Rheina Ale (Bishop Montgomery) and Baylor-bound Cherrish Wallace (Muir).
The boys’ all-star game caps off the weekend with its loaded rosters. The City Section, which includes nearly every senior on the All-City team, will feature Westchester center Cordell Hadnot and UNLV-bound guard Oscar Bellfield.
From City Champion Taft comes the duo of All-City forward Eugene Phelps (Long Beach State) and Bryce Smith while City runner-up Fairfax sends its two seniors, Darius Singletary and All-City guard Chris Solomon.
Fremont’s duo of Rakeem Williams and All-City forward LaRon Armstead will also be present.
City Small Schools champion View Park will be represented by senior guard Alonzo Wells, the second consecutive year the Knights will send someone to Collision.
The Southern Section roster will feature Wendell Wright of Mayfair, who will play for Loyola Marymount in the fall, and Dominguez guard Bryce Cartwright, who helped lead the Dons to a CIF title and the Division I state title game.
Four members of state champion teams will be in Collision, including Division II champion Mater Dei’s duo of Blake Arnet and Jamaal Trice.
Casper Ware, Jr. of Gahr will also play his final high school in Collision as the son of former Fremont star Casper Ware is headed to Long Beach State.
The City Section boys and girls will be led by Derrick Taylor (Taft) and Victoria Sanders (Narbonne), the Southern Section boys will be co-coached by Nate Harrison (Canyon) and Jim Harris (Ocean View) while the Southern Section girls will be helmed by Mel Sims (Ayala).
It’s the only chance to see the best of both sections in one gymnasium before they go off to college so be sure to come by and support these student-athletes one last time.