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Immaculate's rising junior guard Zion Bethea (0) will be one of the exciting players to watch in 'The Weekend' of summertime high school hoops fest coming to Montclair State. (Photos by Gene Nann-genenann.smugmug.com)
Immaculate's Jimmy Salmon has put together quite 'The Weekend' of July hoops as several of the East's top teams come to MSU's Panzer Gym.
IC’s Salmon Has A Top Field
UPPER MONTCLAIR- Immaculate Conception coach Jimmy Salmon is excited about the fact that on a mid-summer’s weekend he can bring together some of the top high school basketball teams for what is being billed as ‘The Weekend’ which will certainly enliven the July ‘Live’ period for college coaches as they come out to Montclair State University’s Panzer Gymnasium in three sessions on Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, to see some of the top hoops talent on the East Coast.
“There is going to be some great basketball, that’s for sure,” said Salmon, who is set to begin his fourth season of directing the Lions court fortunes. “We feel very fortunate to have an NCAA certified event like ‘The Weekend’ right here in Montclair.”
In addition to IC, which returns a host of top underclassmen despite graduating the school’s all-time leading scorer and current Syracuse University freshman Jalen Carey, there are several outstanding teams coming to MSU including defending NJSIAA Tournament of Champions winner Roselle Catholic and its 6-foot-6 rising senior star Khalil Whitney, along with Gill St. Bernard’s, which is led by its own 6-6 senior standout Paul Mulcahy.
Among those who will also be on hand for ‘The Weekend’ at MSU are The Patrick School, Hudson Catholic, Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic and defending Essex County Tournament champion Newark East Side.
Plus, also on ‘The Weekend’ menu of games will be out-of-state-powers such as Roman Catholic of Philadelphia, which faces Don Bosco Prep 10 a.m. Saturday, St. Raymond’s of New York City which takes on Paterson Eastside at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, and DeMatha of Washington, D.C. will battle Gill St. Bernard’s at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday.
The first session of games has tip-off times from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Session II will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with the final tip being one of the championship games at 8:45 p.m.
Tickets, at $10 apiece, will be available at the door on both days at Panzer gym.
Sunday’s Session III begins with Immaculate facing Pope John as one of the 10 a.m. games on two separate courts in Panzer Gym, while Hudson Catholic takes on Roselle Catholic on the other court at the same time.
Winners and losers will all have second games on both Saturday and Sunday which will make for additional attractive yet-undermined matchups.
Among the key players returning next season for IC are 6-10 rising junior center Elijah Hutchins-Everett, 6-2 junior guard Zion Bethea, 6-3 sophomore guard Amare’ Marshall of Montclair, 5-11 sophomore guard Jayden Brown, 6-7 senior forward Nick Jourdain and 6-9 junior center Cliff Omoruyi.
Marshall, whose dad Stephan is a former Montclair High football and track standout, transferred from Hudson Catholic to IC during last season, while Omoruyi came to the Montclair parochial school from Roselle Catholic, but it was too late in the season to be eligible for the state tourney.
Raejon Figures, a 6-0 junior guard, who started last season for IC, has transferred to Bergen Catholic, which will take on The Patrick School, 11:15 a.m. Sunday, as part of ‘The Weekend’ of summertime prime-time hoops at MSU.
With the graduation of both Carey and 6-8 Justin Winston, the Lions will return two starters next season in Bethea and Hutchins-Everett off a 20-9 squad that reached the ECT final for the first time since 1961, winding up being edged by East Side, 58-54, in the championship contest.
Carey, expected to compete for a starting role at Syracuse, finished his superb scholastic career with 2,230 points and as just one of four Essex County players to ever eclipse the 2,000-point plateau.
IC recently finished playing in the ‘Just June’ League in Paterson with teams including Newark East Side, Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco Prep, Paterson Kennedy, Paterson Eastside, Hackensack, Ramapo and East Orange Campus.
Salmon also had his players attend different team camps in June, including at Penn State, LaSalle and North Carolina State.
“We’ll have a young basketball team and our aim is to play around a 35-game summer schedule and also get kids team camp exposure whenever possible,” said Salmon. “We’re really looking forward to next season, and I plan on trying to put together another strong independent schedule to complement what we already have locked in with our conference games.”
The new Payne School (combined Bloomfield Tech and North 13 th Street Tech) along with West Orange will join IC, East Side, Central, Seton Hall Prep, West Side as the SEC’s American Division for the 2018-2019 winter season.
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Forward Nick Jourdain (32), a 6-foot-7 rising senior, is one of the veteran Immaculate players getting ready for 'The Weekend' at Panzer Gym.
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