Top San Diego teams set to participate in Nick Herrmann Memorial Showcase
Gamepoint Baskeball and Torrey Pines High have teamed up to host a one-day showcase in honor of the late Torrey Pines guard Nick Herrmann, with proceeds from the event to benefit the memorial fund set up in his honor.
The six-game showcase features a number of teams that will contend for their respective divisional championships, headlined by CIF Open Division runner up San Ysidro, Open Division semifinalist La Costa Canyon and perennial San Diego powers Mission Bay and Torrey Pines.
Here's a breakdown of each game.
3 P.M. - Mission Hills vs Poway
The Grizzlies are coming off of back-to-back Open Division playoff appearances, but loss the heart and soul of those runs - seniors Justin and Jayden White - to graduation. But Mission Hills isn't a bare cupboard: they return three starters and five key contributors from last year's team, which won the Palomar League title over San Marcos. Senior guard CJ Hofmeister will be joined in the back court by talented juniors Jack Jillson and Jake Bishop, while the senior front court of Kyle Neff and Trey Vergenz is underrated. They'll need juniors Jalen Veasy, DeAngelo Macalino and Bradley McGlothlin to emerge to round out the rotation. Curtis Hofmeister is also high on his group of incoming freshmen, which include talented guard Logan Vergenz, wing Mykah Simmons and scorer Jake Van Der Vorste.
Poway is looking to return to form under new head coach Corey Clark after a 9-20 season in Scott Fisher's final campaign. The team will look to its seniors - most notably guards Justin Lubisich, Christian Gentilucci and Mikey Knapp - to lead the rebuild. 6-4 senior Campbell Flight is also an intriguing prospect who poses a mismatch against other team's bigs. The team might not have a ton of big names, but Clark can go 10 deep and the Titans will defend and hit timely shots. Lubisich is one of the region's most underrated seniors.
4 P.M. - La Jolla Country Day vs La Costa Canyon
The Torreys have been one of the surprises of the offseason, looking like a sleeper Open Division team under interim head coach Mike Ricchiuti, a longtime assistant who takes over for DJ Gay, who was hired by LA Windward. The team has a nice balance of guard play and interior toughness, but it is senior scorer Anthony Aruffo and sophomore floor general Christopher Carrillo who make them go. The Torreys sophomore group is underrated: center Reid Givens and guards Ely Elegado and Henry Kiamilev all play big roles in the rotation, while junior wing James Wei provides timely shooting and intangibles. They'll be without their senior anchor in the middle, Bito Bass-Sulpizio, indefinitely after the star quarterback on the football team suffered a season-ending injury on the gridiron.
La Costa Canyon returns a ton of talent from last year's Open Semifinals team that was two points away from knocking off top seeded St. Augustine. Headlining the returners are senior standouts Christian Brown and Ty Hendler, who comprise one of the region's most potent scoring duos. Fellow senior guard Parker Jelsing joins them in the starting lineup, which won't have junior bruiser Trevor Ladd until football season ends. Coach Dave Cassaw will need one of the team's juniors - Shane Perry, Ryan Quain or Drew Clevenger - to emerge to help balance the scoring.
5 p.m. Vista vs Del Norte
The game pits two teams that are on the rise this season.
The Panthers have an infusion of transfer talent, and will be dangerous once each of them becomes eligible after their 30-day sit out. Sophomores CJ Coleman (San Marcos), Gavin Guinn (San Diego), Ashaun Mitchell (Oceanside) and senior Naasik Taylor (Blue Valley North KS) join a team that boasts Portland commit Cyprian Hyde and several underrated returners, most notably 6-3 G LaCiya Garrett. After slipping to Division 2 after being an Open Division staple for most of the last decade, Vista will be one of the favorites for the D2 title.
Del Norte, which made the Division 1 quarterfinals last season, had a strong summer campaign and looks to be one of the region's surprise teams. Led by seniors Ben Lee, Jaden Herrera and Drew Manning, the team relies heavily on the three ball. 6-4 junior wing Zion Applewhaite has evolved into a sleeper prospect with immense long-term potential. The team has guard play in spades, as senior Jack Leininger and junior Luke Sandburg also play significant roles. New head coach Chris Johnson, who takes over for the program's only head coach Bob Spahn, has a team that he believes could contend for a high seed in the Division 1 playoffs, or sneak into the Open Division hunt.
6 p.m. - El Camino vs Mission Bay
This has the potential to be the most competitive game of the day.
After a rebuilding year last year, the Wildcats could be surprise contenders in the newly formed Palomar League, which includes LCC, Torrey Pines, Carlsbad, Mission Hills and San Marcos. Led by junior point guard Euan Davis, new head coach Derick Jones' squad gets after it on defense and grinds you out offensively. Fellow junior Isaiah Pomare - nephew of former El Camino and USD standout Gyno Pomare - is primed to be one of the region's breakout stars. The Wildcats are looking for consistent shooting from its trio of three-point specialists, Luke Picha, Jack Jennings and Brandon Boone, while senior Luke Sanford and junior Terrion Woodward are stout on defense. Sophomore Logan Ardent is a solid secondary playmaker.
Mission Bay might All-CIF guard Angelo Gil to transfer to San Ysidro, but Marshawn Cherry's group is right back in the mix for a second straight Open Division appearance. 6-7 junior Charlie Hutchison is blossoming into an All-CIF talent before our eyes, while the junior class of Isaah Whitehurst, Marcos Korch, Gavin Girouard and Charles Grebing are rounding into form. Senior Thomas Metcalf has been on an absolute tear this fall and is a sleeper prospect and player in his own right. Sophomore Atreju De La Cruz looks to be Cherry's next big-time guard talent. The Buccaneers have had an impressive spring, summer and fall, performing well at Section 7, the SDSU Team Camp, the Border League and the Gamepoint Fall Showcase. With Cherry's group, you know what you rae going to get: the Bucs pick up full court and score buckets off their pressure defense and run a physical motion offense.
7 p.m. - Torrey Pines vs Linfield Christian
This will be a study in contrasts, as the Falcons face the showcase's lone non-SD team. The Falcons, which enter the year with a heavy heart after the passing of Herrmann, are searching for an identity heading into the season. They have a solid senior leader in 6-5 JJ Bartelloni, who is poised to be the next in a long line of Falcons to break out in their final year. Fellow senior Alex Cabulio is one of the region's most under appreciated talents on both ends, and 6-5 junior wing Zach Jackson is much improved. But the Falcons needs one of its trio of lead guards - sophomore Cody Shen, freshman Zander Ovies and junior Dylan Kail - to emerge in order for this team to reach its fullest potential.
Linfield Christian of Temecula is one of three teams in the showcase to boast a Division 1 signee - 6-5 guard Michael McNair, who is headed to Boston University. Coach Waheed Mitchell has surrounded McNair with a team full of undersized shooters that plays a swarming, breakneck pressure defense that can overwhelm opposing ball handlers. Sophomore guard Julius Brower is a special talent, and fellow sophomores Xavier Cox, Tyrese Garnett and Cashis Blue are all very good players in their own right. Junior guard Drew Pierce and senior Calem Costello are underrated in their respective classes.
8 p.m. - San Ysidro vs Carlsbad
The showcase's final game pits last year's Open Division runner up, San Ysidro, against last year's Division 1 champion, Carlsbad.
The Border Boys graduated five of its top six leading scorers, but reloaded in a big way. Returning to the Cougars for his senior year is consensus Top-30 guard Mikey Williams, one of the nation's most dynamic scorers and playmakers. Joining him in the back court is Mission Bay transfer Angelo Gil, freshman standout Ty Ingram and Mexico national guard Gerardo Guerrero, giving the team one of the best back courts on the West Coast. 6-7 junior center Andrei Tovar is vastly improved and 6-8 senior forward Alex Cervantes gives them athleticism at the power forward position. The reserves - 6-3 Leuzinger transfer Steven Evans-Glynn, Olympian transfer Miles Anderson and four-year varsity player Princetin Williams - could all start at any school in SD.
Carlsbad returns two of its starters from the D1 title team last year, and one of them is all-CIF guard Jake Hall, who set the Lancers freshman scoring record and is looking to build off of his record-setting season. Senior guard Cole Murray has been a revelation during the fall, becoming an assertive scorer to complement his standout defense and playmaking. Juniors Tony Duckett and Tristan Guzman are more than capable of taking over a game, and Duckett is right there with Hall with his ability to score it from all three levels. Senior guard Josh Shields also looks to have a breakout campaign as a starter in his final year. Clark Allard's team is in position to contend for an Open Division playoff appearance.
Playing for a cause:
Proceeds from the gate and sale of T-Shirts and shorts designed by Triton Imaging and Work Ethic Lifestyle Brand, respectively, will benefit the Nick Herrmann Memorial Fund.
Herrmann died Aug. 6 after his second battle with bone cancer. The story of his fight against osteosarcoma gained national attention when he hit the game-winning shot in the CIF Open Division championship game in June 2021 and earned a scholarship to Cal State Northridge, punctuating his return from the disease. The event is being held just days after what would have been Herrmann's 21st birthday.
Th games will be held at the Gamepoint/ University of Saint Katherine's Facility, 1248 Los Vallecitos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92069.