After placing 12th out of 248 teams in last year’s AAU National Tournament, the St. James Coastal Crew 17U Rebels were selected to participate in the 2009 Super Showcase, which precedes this year’s national tournament in Orlando, Fla.
"We leave Thursday and play Friday at 12:30 p.m. against the Virginia Storm," 17URebels coach Mike Brown said. "We are putting more of an emphasis on the showcase right now. The reason being every college coach from Division I, II and III will be there and they will have the opportunity to get a good look at the players since there are only 96 teams that were invited."
Brown said of his 10 players, eight have the potential to earn scholarships. Among them are standouts DJ Felder and AJ Ansley, who both attend First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
"We are very excited about AJ Ansley and DJ Felder," St. James Sports Center director and 16U Rebel coach Ernie Walthour said. "At the moment Ansley is being scouted by representatives from the University of Georgia."
Once they complete the Super Showcase, the 17U rebels take the stage at nationals, joining Walthour’s 16U team who earned a bid as well.
Brown said his starting five will be Ansley, Hakeem Golden, Mike Brown, Henry Roberts and Justin Boyd. But he said all 10 of his players will get some minutes on the court.
"I have individuals that will be coming off the bench in Brandon Wimbush and Jaquel Roberts at the guard position," Brown said. "We are trying to do better this year. We went last year and now we understand what it takes to get there and we should do well at nationals."
Walthour said the Rebels appreciate their supporters and plan to do their best in representing Liberty County at the meet.
"I would like to thank the St. James church and sports center, Jay and Joel Osteen and Larry Mannion Sr. of M&M Motors for helping and for supporting the Rebels squads," Walthour said.
Saturday, 5 p.m. against a team from Ohio
Sunday, 7 p.m. against Central Florida
Monday, 2:10 p.m. against North Carolina
Bracket play starts Tuesday
The 17U Rebel schedule and game progress are available online at: www.coastalcrewrebels.com.