Top local hoops players face off in All-Star games at MCC

By: Jon Malavolti | Online Only | Published June 28, 2011

 Warren Cousino’s Kevin Dunaj keeps the ball away from an opposing player court during the June 16 boys All-Star game at Macomb Community College in Warren. Several local players were selected to participate in the second-annual event.

Warren Cousino’s Kevin Dunaj keeps the ball away from an opposing player court during the June 16 boys All-Star game at Macomb Community College in Warren. Several local players were selected to participate in the second-annual event.

Photo by David Schreiber

Many of the area’s best recently graduated high school basketball players took part in a pair of All-Star games June 16 at Macomb Community College in Warren.

The budding event showcased the top talents the county has to offer for the second straight year.

“The All-Star games are definitely growing,” MCC women’s coach Jay Ritchie said. “We not only had great turnout from the players, we had great attendance with over 1,000 in the building for the games.”

Sixty-five of the top players from the county and the Macomb Area Conference battled for bragging rights — first in the girls game, then in the boys game. Ritchie said the quick growth in popularity of the event has the staff already talking about expanding the boy’s game into two contests and adding seating.

“We had a great crowd,” said MCC men’s coach Jim Twigg. “It was nice to see that many people in our gym, and hopefully, they will become more aware of our basketball program.”

Women’s coach Jay Ritchie talked about being in middle school when his father brought him to an All-Star game to see some of the top prep players back then, including future NBA player Joe Kopicki, who starred at Warren Fitzgerald, where he now coaches.

“So when I took the women’s job at Macomb, I wanted to give the current athletes of Macomb County the same opportunity that Joe Kopicki and others had,” Ritchie said.

“The game then, as it does now, gives players a chance to show their skills and the fans an opportunity to see many players that they only read about throughout the season. It also allows the fans to see how the best players match up against each other. The game is a reward for a great high school career.”

Great players aren’t the only ones honored at the game, as some Hall of Fame coaches have been back patrolling the sidelines. The group of honorary coaches from the games this year and last year read like a who’s who in Macomb County prep hoops — Jan Sander, Mary Kay Knectghes, Al Snyder, George Petroulious, Larry Clemens, Tom Dailey, Jim Barker and Dick Christy.

In this year’s girls game, Dailey’s “home” team beat the Clemens coached “away” team 73-64. Lauren Bonus, who played at Utica Ford II, was named the game’s MVP after scoring 13 points and dishing out three assists for the winning side. Ford teammate Takla Kamel added 17 points and eight rebounds for the “home” squad. Utica Stevenson’s Samantha Simmerson, playing for the “away” team, also registered 17 points and eight assists.

Rounding out the rosters were Sarah Coppola (St. Clair Shores Lake Shore), Tina D’Almeida (Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse), Nora Fa’atiga (Richmond High), Rose Fuller (Clinton Township Clintondale), Emily King (Ford), Eryn Maday (Utica High), Kailey Major (SCS Lakeview), Sarah Miller (Utica), Kristina Nagle (Ford), Jackie Noel (Macomb Lutheran North), Liz Rawski (Macomb L’Anse Creuse North), Jade Sills (Sterling Heights Parkway Christian), Kourtney Thomas (Macomb Dakota), Samantha Tremmell (Warren Cousino), Alexis Van Sickle (Fraser High) and Katy Jakubek (Warren Regina).

On the boys side, Cousino’s Kevin Dunaj was named the MVP.

Final statistics were not available for the boys game. Participating players were Traye Williams (Roseville), Brett McCarthur (Center Line), Calvin Curry (L’Anse Creuse North), Darius Wilson (Mount Clemens High), Mark Morris (Dakota), Ben Jones (Clintondale), Johnnie Mills (East Detroit), Giovanni Gordorn (L’Anse Creuse), Corbet Conroy (Grosse Pointe South), Brandon Padgett (Anchor Bay), Tony Lowry (Madison Heights Madison), Eric Posavetz (Ford), Lavelle McKnight (Warren Lincoln), DeWayne Cook (Lake Shore), Robert Farr (New Haven), Eric Thompson (Clawson High), Ethan Blackwell (East Detroit), Johnny Johnson (Warren Woods Tower), Tyler Smith (New Haven), Kyle Kent (Cousino), Charles Baskin (East Detroit), Vinny Delicata (Parkway), Craig Smelly (L’Anse Creuse North), Joe Bastone (Chippewa Valley), Thomas Hannah (Mount Clemens), Sam Bunkley (Chippewa Valley), Eugene Pratt (Stevenson), Brandon Bartneck (Utica Eisenhower), Joe Manchik (Richmond), Sydney Jackson (SCS South Lake), Trevaughn Craighead (Warren Michgian Collegiate), Nick Gregory (Chippewa Valley) and Zach Carr (SCS Lakeview).
Ultimately, the added exposure for MCC isn’t lost on Twigg, who believes it can only help the programs.

“I want our program to become more attractive to potential student-athletes and for basketball fans in the area,” the MCC men’s coach said. “Our teams will be very competitive and fun to watch.”


Metro D hoops camp returns to Macomb
Macomb Community College will host the “Metro D” youth basketball camp for boys and girls ages 10-17 July 11-15.

The camp fee is $155 per person. It will be held at the Sports and Expo Center on MCC’s South Campus in Warren.

All campers will receive a T-shirt, basketball and a season pass to all MCC home athletic events. Campers will be split into groups determined by age and enrollment numbers.
College and high school coaches will provide instruction on the fundamentals of the game. The camp will include skill building, lectures, team competition and skills contests.

Camp coordinators include Jim Twigg (MCC men’s basketball coach), Jay Ritchie (MCC women’s basketball coach), John Switchulis (former MCC coach and Hall of Fame inductee), and Jim Champine (Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame member).

For more information about the camp, call (586) 445-7300, ext. 3550, or ext. 3551, or email twiggj@macomb.edu or ritchiej@ macomb.edu.