Event spotlights hoops and education

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nansemond River High School junior Scott Spencer, left, and sophomore Darius Jones get ready for Woodside High School during practice on Thursday.

Nansemond River High School junior Scott Spencer, left, and sophomore Darius Jones get ready for Woodside High School during practice on Thursday.

College scouts and spectators will see an impressive array of local and national high school basketball talent during the Xtreme Sports Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Nansemond River High School.

Schools from New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Maryland and North Carolina will compete against local programs in the six-game event. The Warriors close the day against Woodside High School.

Suffolk’s Montria Spencer, who used to coach girls’ Amateur Athletic Union basketball, organized the event. Her son, Scott Spencer, is a junior standout at Nansemond River.

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Event after she left AAU, Montria found that players would come to her for help with scholarships.

“I saw that we needed to help our youth,” she said.

She founded and developed Xtreme Sports Group Inc., the organization that is hosting Saturday’s event, along with some friends from the sports world.

Jonathan Watford, who owns a scouting company, serves as Xtreme’s national high school boys’ basketball recruiting analyst/sports consultant. He gathered the different schools competing on Saturday, with assistance from Xtreme liaison Jamal Robinson, a former overseas pro basketball player.

Nansemond River head coach Ed Young said scouts like attending events with a large concentration of talent, and they like seeing that talent play skilled competition.

Many of the visiting players already have committed to prestigious programs like the University of Florida or George Washington University. However, the squads still have more players who need signing, motivating their participation Saturday.

“Some of our kids get missed, because they’re not in the right place at the right time,” Spencer said.

Though basketball plays a key role, Spencer’s primary motivation behind holding the event is to give local youth a chance to continue their education at the next level.

She described the event as a vehicle to help with a long-term goal of building a facility that provides SAT/ACT prep, tutoring classes, mentoring and the like for student-athletes.

“We want to help educate our athletes on what to do when the ball goes flat,” she stated.

To that end, the teams participating in the event were invited to a banquet this evening at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Portsmouth, where they will get to hear several motivational speakers.

The speakers will include former Washington Redskins player Greg Scott, former Philadelphia 76ers player Teko Wynder and Rodney Hawkins, owner of Evolve Therapeutic Counseling Services and Group Residential and Care Establishments Inc. They will cover topics like the importance of having a good education and keeping the right company.

Three teams from Australia will be present at the banquet and part of the event, but Virginia High School League rules prevent them from competing in the Tip-Off Classic, because they are considered club teams. They will be competing in another Xtreme Sports Group event on Saturday at Greenbrier Christian Academy.

When Spencer was having difficulty finding a venue for the Classic, Ed Young suggested Nansemond River. He praised the lineup she has assembled for the occasion.

“It gives people in our town a chance to see kids that are going to be playing Division I basketball, and possibly, a couple of these kids might be good enough to go to the pros,” he said.

The match-ups should also be compelling. As Nansemond River (10-0) takes on the Woodside Wolverines (9-2), Young said, “They’ll be by far the best team we’ve played to this point.”

He said, “Obviously it will be a great test to see exactly where we’re at,” and it will be in an environment similar to the state tournament.

Spencer said he hopes spectators will come out to see the talent on display and help promote further educational opportunities for the players.

“We just think that we need the support of our community for the kids,” Spencer said.

The price of admission is $15, while children 3 and under will get in free. The doors open at 10 a.m.

Schedule for the 2014 Xtreme Sports Tip-Off Classic:

  • 11 a.m. — Girls: Woodrow Wilson High School vs. Salem High School (Virginia Beach)
  • 1 p.m. — Life Center Academy (N.J.) vs. Quality Education Academy (N.C.)
  • 3 p.m. — Flora Macdonald Academy (N.C.) vs. Christchurch School
  • 5 p.m. — St. John’s College High School (D.C.) vs. Wings Academy (N.Y.)
  • 7 p.m. — Cape Henry Collegiate School vs. St. Frances Academy (Md.)
  • 9 p.m. — Nansemond River High School vs. Woodside High School