By Jared Green
Daily Planet Staff
The St. Mary’s boys’ basketball team won a Division IV state championship last season and will move up to Division I next year to take a shot at the state’s bigger schools. It will be a big adjustment for the coaches and players to make, but the Panthers will get their first up-close look at the big boys this weekend at the Cal Basketball Team Camp at the RSF Fieldhouse in Berkeley.
The camp will consist of a combination of drills, competitive games and a speech by Cal head coach Ben Braun.
The St. Mary’s players will play at least four games against some of the best teams in the state. Their first opponent at 3 p.m. on Friday will be Division I runner-up Modesto Christian, which returns star point guard Richard Midgely, a senior-to-be who has verbally committed to play for the Bears. The Panthers won’t get much of a rest following that game, as perennial power Mater Dei awaits at 9 p.m.
A good night’s sleep will be in order at that point, because a matchup with state semi-finalist De La Salle awaits at 10 a.m. on Saturday. And if that isn’t enough, the 16 teams at the camp will be organized into a mini-tournament that afternoon, continuing into Sunday.
Other teams at the camp include St. Mary’s BSAL rival Salesian, Bishop O’Dowd and Oakland Tech, who will bring their budding star, junior forward Leon “The Show” Powe.
The camp will be the first chance for most of the Panthers to get to know their newest teammate. Sophomore transfer DeMarcus Nelson is expected to be a big part of the championship push next year, as he should slot in nicely at the swingman spot vacated by Jeremiah Fielder, the team’s lone senior starter last season. Nelson was named the state’s best freshman last year by several organizations.