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The South Carolina 76ers program has an outstanding foundation, and the club is looking forward to the summer of 2015 with high expectations. A big part of the 2015 will be the All Star Girl Report’s Deep South Classic, where the 76ers have been a consistent contender.
“We have probably been to the Deep South Classic seven or eight times, and we have really developed a strong relationship with the All Star Girls Report people over the past five or six years,” explained Roger Wiley, who directs the 76ers program along with Roshan Myers. “You know they are going to put together a very competitive event, and it is going to be a very well organized event. The Deep South gives our kids a chance to play against the teams that they have read about or heard about from across the country.
“A big part of it is that (ASGR president) Mike White is a man of his word, and we appreciate that. When he tells you something about the event — how things are going to be done, or what college coaches are going to be there — he is always right on the money.”
The 2015 Deep South Classic will be played in Raleigh, NC on April 24-26. The Deep South Classic, which annually features the nation’s top travel programs, will once again have the entire tournament in one facility — the tremendous Raleigh Convention Center.
Wiley has made a lot of decisions over the years at the helm of the 76ers, and most of those have been right on the money.
“We are really thriving right now,” he said. “We are working more with setting up students as early as the fourth grade, and we have really developed a strong roster. I think we’ve also done a good job of growing in terms of how we take care of the younger kids in our program in a number of ways.
“The first goal for a basketball program is to improve the skills of the players, and to try to obtain a college scholarship for each kid. But, we also work hard on the total experience. Not every kid is about playing basketball in college, but they can still have a positive experience in our program. We can show them how to deal with adversity, how to co-operate with other people, and how to move forward and succeed academically. We want to teach them a lot of skills that will help them be productive citizens whether they play basketball or not.”
This edition of the 76ers has a number of athletes who will be competing on the major college level. Most notably, Wiley is very excited about his Black team (which features players from the Class of 2016) and his Sizzle team (Class of 2018).
“We have a lot of very good players on those teams,” Wiley said. “There are a lot of extremely athletic kids, and it’s just a thrill to watch them work in practice.”
Leading the way on the Black team will be 2016s such as Christian Hithe (5-8, G, rated at No. 153 in her class by ASGR), Jhileiya Dunlap (6-3, PF, No. 105), Tembre Moates (6-0, WF), Shaquanda Miller-McCray (6-3, C), Asiah Jones (6-3, PF).
“Hithe is a good athlete with a college ready body,” said ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “She has an aggressive game. She is good in the lane, passes well, and just understands the game. Dunlap is a wiry athlete with a long wingspan and an inside0-outside type of game.
“Moates is a great athlete with strength and explosive leaping ability. She can score on the inside, take it coast to coast, or step out to the arc. Miller-McCray is a long athlete who runs the floor, and her skills are coming along. Jones is another long athlete. She scores well inside and block shots. She just needs a little more strength.”
The Sizzle squad will feature Kristen Wall (2018, 5-10, G, No. 57), Ahleah Myers (2018, 5-5, PG), Haliyah Sumter (2018, 5-8, G) and Angel Middleton (2019, 6-4, C).
“Wall is a big combo guard with quickness and a good skill set,” McCormick said. “She can score in a number of ways — shoot the three, step back jumper, or off the bounce. Myers is a lightning quick lefty. She is an aggressive, attacking point guard who knows the game, and she is good in the open floor.
“Sumter is a player who moved into South Carolina from Mississippi. She is a strong athlete with a good handle. Middleton is still learning the game, but she is an athlete with good hands. She has great potential.”