McLegends matches current, former 'Cats
Updated: April 5, 2011 2:16PM
Brian Greene Jr. and Jay Parker have plenty of reasons to be excited about McLegends X, scheduled for April 16 on the Thornton seniors' home floor.
First and foremost, there's the opportunity to take on guys who rose to great heights after leaving the Harvey school - a fate the young guards hope to one day share.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who played in his second Super Bowl in February, is among the former Thornton stars returning to play for the McLegends squad against a High School All-Stars team featuring 14 of this season's Southland standouts.
Randle El has turned in huge performances in past McLegends games. He had 27 points and hit two clutch three-pointers in last year's affair.
Houston Texans defensive end Tim Jamison and former NFL standouts Napoleon Harris and Tai Streets also are among the Wildcats contingent for the McLegends.
"It's very exciting to match up with all those guys," Greene Jr. said. "They're all legends at our school. Hopefully, one day, I'll be a Thornton legend, too."
For the first time, fans will be treated to a McLegends doubleheader. The high school girls and the Beggars Pizza Lady McLegends will hit the court at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m., the boys High School All-Stars will challenge a McLegends squad that includes 12 current or former NFL players.
The youngsters suffered their fifth straight loss in the series when they dropped a 120-114 decision in last year's game, but Parker sees plenty of reasons why youth will prevail this time around.
"This is our sport," he said. "We play it year-round. Not to say those guys don't know how to play, but I think we have an advantage there. We're younger and a little fresher, a little quicker.
"We've always heard about those Thornton guys and I've always wanted to play against them, but I've never had the chance until now. They're big names and I really want to beat them."
Greene Jr. and Parker are two of seven standouts from the 2011 regional champion Thornton squad on the High School All-Stars squad that will be coached by former Thornton coach Sam Cameli, who led the Wildcats to a third-place Class AA finish in 1983. They will get plenty of help from former rivals.
Among the All-Area selections suiting up are Hillcrest guard Julius Brown, Stagg forward Darius Draper, Richards guard Dominique Gaddis, Rich Central forward Adedeji Ibitayo, Homewood-Flossmoor forward Julian Lewis and T.F. North guard Montero Rice.
"I'm looking forward to playing with all those guys," Parker said. "Draper did really good against us this year, so it should be fun playing with him. It'll be nice to have all those guys on my side for once."
One last perk for Parker and Greene Jr.? How about one last chance to play on their famed home court?
"I'm really excited about that," Greene Jr. said. "I figured Senior Night would be my last chance to play at Thornton. It'll be great playing there one more time with a big crowd."
"It'll probably be a little emotional playing on that court again," Parker added. "It's going to be really exciting.
"We're going to do whatever we can to win that game. We'll be ready."
Boys High School All-Stars
Sam Cameli, Thornton (coach): Led Thornton to back-to-back Class AA state finals appearances, finishing third in 1983.
Stefan Beard, Thornton: The 6-foot-5 forward helped the Wildcats win the SouthWest Suburban Red and Class 4A regional titles.
Bernard Brame, Thornton: The 6-7 center was a force around the basket for the 26-3 Wildcats on their march to the Class 4A sectional finals.
Julius Brown, Hillcrest: The 5-10 Toledo-bound guard is a two-time All-Area pick and averaged 19 points and 4 assists this season.
Darius Draper, Stagg: The 6-6 forward was a three-year varsity starter for the Chargers, averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds.
Dominique Gaddis, Richards: The 6-1 guard was named MVP in the South Suburban Red, averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds.
Brian Greene Jr., Thornton: The 6-3 guard made the SouthWest Suburban Red all-stars, averaging 10 points and 2 assists.
Dimitrius Hardwick, Thornton: The 6-1 guard was a two-sport standout for the Wildcats, also helping the football team to the state playoffs.
Adedeji Ibitayo, Rich Central: The 6-3 forward is headed to Akron after averaging 16 points and 2 rebounds for the Olympians.
Charles Knowles, Thornton: The 6-4 forward helped the Wildcats to conference and regional titles, after earning All-Area quarterback status in football.
Antonio Levy, Thornton: The 6-1 guard played an important role for the Wildcats, especially in their McDipper title effort in December.
Julian Lewis, H-F: The 6-5 forward was a two-year standout for the Vikings, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Greg Mays, Crete-Monee: The 6-9 center played a major role for a Warriors team that won the school's first sectional title.
Jay Parker, Thornton: The 5-11 guard spent four years on the varsity, averaging 10 points and 3 assists for this season's 26-3 team.
Montero Rice, T.F. North: The 6-1 guard earned South Suburban Blue honors, averaging 15 points and 2 rebounds.
When: April 16
Where: Thornton High School, 151st and Broadway, Harvey
Time: 11 a.m. Game 1 featuring the Beggars Pizza Lady McLegends vs. the 2011 High School All-Stars. 2 p.m. Game 2 featuring Coca-Coca McLegends vs. the 2011 High School All-Stars
Tickets: Available after 9 a.m. Mondays through Fridays at Thornton High School, through the athletic department. For information, contact Bill Mosel at (708) 225-4122 or Phil Arvia at (708) 633-5949.
The McLegends X Pre-Party
When: 4 to 10 p.m. April 15
Where: Lincoln Oasis (over I-294 in South Holland, east of Halsted Street)
What: Silent auction of sports memorabilia; games and giveaways for the kids; music by the Southtown All-Stars, Julian Keyz and more.