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ST. CROIX — Fans, friends, and parents alike came out to support the 19th Annual Sun Stroke All V.I. Hoop Classic held at the St. Croix Central High School’s Ronald Charles Gym on Saturday. The event started off with a celebrity basketball game, and was later followed by the Women’s High School All Star game and the Men’s High School All Star Game.
Since its establishment 19 years ago, the tournament has been used to successfully showcase the best high school basketball players in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, in the hopes that they are able to obtain a college scholarship.
“Primarily it’s an opportunity to get a free education. An injury could end your athletic career, but whatever you learn you could use throughout the course of your life,” said Rashidi Clenance, founder of Sun Stroke Promotions, in an interview with The Consortium.
He went on to say that it would be better served if sports was taken a little more seriously in the community, because it provides opportunities for talented individuals to not only have a chance to develop their careers as players, but also provides an opportunity for them to get an education, gain experiences, and lasting friendships.
The event has been traditionally held during the Easter weekend in order to capitalize on a window of opportunity to have college recruiters come in to scout local talent. This year, Sun Stroke was able to solicit the services of Max Ivan of DINations, Arizona, to provide professional evaluations of the players. According to Sun Stroke’s press release, an Open Run of underclassmen not selected for the All Star game and players who had recently left high school was held earlier that afternoon in the presence of Mr. Ivan.
The opportunity comes at no cost to the players or coaches and they are provided with full uniforms—jerseys, shorts, and shoes. Mr. Clenance said that despite the expenses associated with hosting the event, the main goal is to allow up and coming players an opportunity to receive a scholarship. However, over the years the event has seen less and less supporters.
“We kind of support our people in hindsight. One of these kids could have been Tim Duncan 20 years prior and we don’t know that. We don’t value our athletes enough,” he said.
Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Hoops Classic and he says he’s not quite sure how often they will host the event after its 20-year anniversary. However, they do plan on having “special things” for the 20th. He added that the success of the event is reliant on the support of the community, the continued support of current sponsors, and acquisition of new and additional sponsors.
Celebrity Match: White vs. Black
White Team: 76
Blacj Team: 67
All Star Women’s High School: St. Croix vs. St. Thomas
St. Croix: 36
St. Thomas: 57
All Star Men’s High School: St. Croix vs. St. Thomas
St. Croix: 72
St. Thomas: 56
Women’s High School All Star: Shauliqua Fahie, Elmore Stoutt High (Tortola)
Men’s High School All Star: Shakeem Alcindor, Educational Complex
This year’s High School All Star selections include:
St. Croix Women’s Selections
Jendeyi Williams, St. Croix Central High
Rashanika Williams, St. Croix Central High
Jahnyra Donovan, St. Croix Central High
Ah’Zyah Lake, St. Croix Central High
Sydney Fleming, Good Hope Country Day
Pariss Terrell, St. Croix Educational Complex
Sedeja, St. Croix Central High
Shanice Horsford, Educational Complex
Breanna Roberts, Educational Complex
Shania Barnes, Central High
Coached by: Head Coach Donald Bough, Central High
St. Thomas Women’s Selections
Jahnia Simmonds, Ivanna Eudora Kean High
Nailea Nicolas, Ivanna Eudora Kean High
Delma Baron, Ivanna Eudora Kean High
Shauliqua Fahie, Elmore Stoutt High (Tortola)
DeJah Vigilant, Charlotte Amalie High
Tecoya Martin, Ivanna Eudora Kean High
Rhea Benjamin, Charlotte Amalie High
Taylor Robinson, Antilles
Replaced by Da’Jah Vigilante
Taria Southwell, Charlotte Amalie High
Laresha Martin, Eudora Kean
Coach Derek Heyliger, Eudora Kean
St. Croix Male Selections
Shakeem Alcindor, Educational Complex
Zion Jones, Central High
Kahdeem Horsford, Educational Complex
Ashoy Simmonds, Central High
Christian Rassmussen, Good Hope Country Day
Jakeem Auguste, Central High
Deante Brooks, Good Hope Country Day
Trejon Ali, Central High
James Richardson, Educational Complex
Darian, Home School
Replaced by Kimani McIntosh
Coach Earl Baker, Good Hope Country Day
St. Thomas Male Selections
Devon Freeman, Eudora Kean
Akil Greig, Eudora Kean
Dwayne Lynch, Charlotte Amalie
Emari Howe, Eudora Kean
Replaced by Terrell Lake
Cam Newton, Antilles
Clail Dieudonne, Charlotte Amalie
Issa Tatem, Charlotte Amalie
Lestin Wiltshire, Elmore Stoutt
Ty Massaquoi, Gifft Hill
Joshua Farell, Antilles
Guest performances included an appearance by Brandon Royal of this year’s NBC The Voice, and Paebak, along with other Virgin Islands artists and media personalities. The crowd was later entertained by two of St. Croix’s young bands—Hypa Aktiv and In-Stylez—in the post-game Jam Session, that ended at midnight.
Sun Stroke Promotions extended its gratitude to its sponsors Tim Duncan, Adidas, Banco Popular, The Department of Education, Bates Trucking, United Sporting Goods, Vivid Streaming, Neighborhood Pharmacy, The Department of Property and Procurement, and Senator Neville James. It also thanked the Virgin Islands Basketball Federation for its assistance.
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