If you have never had a chance to witness the crosstown shootout between UC and Xavier live, you may want to come out to Hillsboro High School at high noon on December 1st. No, UC and Xavier will not be playing that morning, but two future Crosstown Shootout participants will be squaring off when the Xenia Buccaneers and Walton-Verona Bearcats tangle in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic.
Xenia’s Samari Curtis has verbally committed to play next season for Cincinnati, while Walton-Verona’s Deionte Miles will suit up for the Mustketeers.
Curtis is a 6’4” shooting guard who led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in scoring last year as he poured in 30.4 points per game. In fact, Curtis originally committed to play at Xavier, but flipped to the Bearcats after Chris Mack left to take the head coaching job at University of Louisville.
Miles’ statistics do not match those of Curtis. In fact, he only averaged a little over seven points per game last year, and he missed the second half of the season with an injury. However, he grew two inches over the summer and blew up on the AAU circuit attracting interest from some of the country’s top programs before eventually settling on Xavier.
Miles will be the first Ohio Valley Hoops Classic participant who has signed with Xavier. Curtis will follow Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland who is entering his junior year at UC.
Walton Verona is coming off an outstanding season in which they finished 26-6 and advanced to the championship game of the All-A Classic in Kentucky, which is essentially the small school state tournament. Xenia was only 11-12 last season, but the Bucs play in the GWOC conference, considered one of Ohio’s best big school leagues.
In addition to Miles, Walton-Verona returns 6’1” senior Kameron Pardee who averaged 10.1 points last year, and 6’9” senior Ethan Brook who is receiving college interest from Division II and NAIA schools. Garrett Jones and Grant Grubbs both saw significant playing time last year.
Xenia will battle the size of Walton Verona with 6’7” senior Uloho Norde who averaged 6.3 points and 4.7 rebs last year, and 6’5” senior Johnzel Gray, 4.1 and 4.5 a year ago.
The noon game will be followed by another high-profile game when the defending state champion Moeller Crusaders take on Kentucky power Lexington Bryan Station.
For complete details on the event, log on to www.ohiovalleyhoopsclassic.com
Bennie Carroll is the manager of the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic.