On Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the UVI Sports & Fitness Center, some of the best players to ever play in the Sun Stroke All VI Hoop Classic’s High School Showcase will participate in an exhibition game alongside one of the greatest power forwards in basketball history, Tim Duncan, a release Sun Stroke Promotions issued Monday has revealed.
A team the release deemed the “Home Boys” will face some of the best streetball players on the planet, according to the release. In their four games in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, variations of this streetball team have always won big, the release said. This year promises to be different with the talented VI roster.
Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the return of Hood Hoops Inter-neighborhood Youth Basketball League presented by Sun Stroke Promotions and the VIPD, and sponsored by Tim Duncan. The game also allows the Virgin Islands community to celebrate a more jovial homecoming of Mr. Duncan, who provided millions of dollars worth of food, tarps, generators and refrigerators throughout the territory after the 2017 storms.
Cuthbert Victor will be front court with Mr. Duncan. The European pro athlete had been the pillar of the VI National team for almost two decades and was the first player to receive a Division I scholarship after being recruited by Murray State University at the 2nd annual game 19 years ago. That was the only year the game was hosted on St. Thomas.
Kevin Sheppard was the second player to receive a Division I scholarship as a result of game footage from the Classic. He landed at Jacksonville University and was later featured in an acclaimed documentary while playing professionally in Iran. Sheppard had been the starting point guard of the national team for the better part of 18 years.
Craig Williams Jr. will also be playing for the VI. He was recruited at the Classic and played his college years at Temple and Texas Christian University. He spent the last two years as a pro in China.
Khalid Gerard was the first and only freshman to be named the Big Baller (Mr. Basketball). He is still one of the most potent scorers in the Virgin Islands 11 years later.
Jabahri Brown didn’t sign as a result of the Hoop Classic but the St. Thomian made it to two Final Fours at the University of Oklahoma.
In keeping with the purpose of the Classic, four high school players will get the opportunity to show their talents and hopefully get college scholarship offers. Jonathon Elias (CAHS), Jahnai Jones and Kimani McIntosh (CHS), Khadeem Horsford (Educational Complex). High school transfer Earl Baker Jr., who is a key player on the Under-17 National Team, will be playing as well. These youngsters will get to share the court with legends this Saturday and hopefully make an impression, according to the release.
Mr. Duncan has been a sponsor of the All Star Showcase for the last 10 years, and it’s a game like this hosted by Holman Harley 25 years ago that got Mr. Duncan his first scholarship offers from Georgetown, Providence and Wake Forest, according to the release.
The Classic usually plays during the second week of April (which is a NCAA recruiting window). St. Croix has hosted the tournament for 18 years in an attempt to avoid St. Thomas Carnival conflicts. This year there was nowhere on the island to play due to the storms, according to the release.
The event is designed to give the territory’s best male and female high school players the opportunity to be seen by college coaches, and is historically one of the biggest local sporting events. Anisha George and Shakeem Alcindor are the most recent benefactors as both received junior college scholarships as a result of the game, and have recently signed to play Division I Basketball. This Saturday St. Thomas gets to experience the fun and excitement that is the Sun Stroke All VI Hoop Classic for the first time in 18 years.
Scott Duncan, an Emmy award-winning videographer/photographer will be present to shoot the event, and his award-winning work will likely be featured in ESPN the Magazine based on conversations with ESPN reporter Michael Wright. Wright wrote an extensive article in ESPN the Magazine on Mr. Duncan’s recovery efforts after the storm. The footage that was included in the Sports Center feature on the ESPN Network was also shot by the elder Duncan. The Department of Tourism and Sun Stroke Promotions both believe the possibility of this type of coverage will be a great way to let the world know the VI is back and poised to be better than ever, according to the release.
There will be a welcome event for the visiting players starting at 7 p.m. Friday in the Parking Lot of Win Mill 2.O, located in Frenchtown, St. Thomas.