Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Oakland Rebels at 25

Is the 25th edition of the Oakland Rebels the team with the most bountiful talent yet? Founded by Melvin Landry, the program has been an O-town mainstay and, unlike other entities, there's been no resting on any sort of laurels or accomplishments of yesteryear.

Headed by Coach Ryant Diew, and Coach Shawn Hadnot, the top squad of the Rebels has a powerful mix of new talent and longtime players on this season's roster, with the most prominent being a returning prodigal son.

It's McClymond High 6-foot-10 big man Jamaree Strickland who has made a homecoming to the Rebel fold after time with the Oakland Soldiers. Sidelined by a knee injury for some time, Strickland is now ready to return to the court and make his mark in the middle.

As for a 2012 prognosis, Diew said, "we have a very good team." This despite Tanner Giddings (Fresno State), Eric Green (Holy Cross), Paris Davis, Rodney Cook, Maceo Bell (Merritt College), et al moving on.

Even more importantly, the Rebel top talents are on target to meet college entrance requirements

Where will the Rebels be on display?

* The Pangos Spring Spectacular in Las Vegas
* the Pangos Sweet 16 in Long Beach
* The City Championships in San Francisco
* The Compton Magic Memorial Day Tournament
* The Adidas Invitational in Indiana
* Hal Pastner's Las Vegas Live
* The Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas.

So who are the 2012 Rebels?

In alphabetical order, (with Diew's comments in quotation marks):

* Glenn Baral, 6-foot-4, junior, Salisbury School (CT) - "he'll be back for our second tournament in April"

* Joe Barnes, 6-foot-3, junior, Sacramento High rated #22 by Nor Cal Preps - "a First Team All Metro League  pick"

* Andrew Cox-Gillmore, 6-foot-6, junior, Pinole High, rated #29th by Nor Cal Preps - "a First Team Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League pick"

* Adam Ciszewski, 6-foot-5, junior, Bella Vista High - "a very under rated player, he's a good shooter, rebounder and passer, who moves well without the ball -- a glue guy who is very important to our team"

* Ryan Diew, 6-foot-2, junior, Head Royce High - "a First Team All Bay Counties League East pick"

* Carlos Fineman, 6-foot-8, junior, College Prep High - "a Second Team All-Bay Counties League selection who is pretty tough, raw but active and runs the floor well"

* James Hadnot, 6-foot-6, junior, Sacramento High , rated #30 by Nor Cal Preps - "an Honorable Mention Metro League selection"

* Patrick Hawkins, 6-foot-2, sophomore, Cal Prep - "a tenacious backup at the point, we're happy to have him back, he was selected to play in the Top 30 All-Star game at the Pangos Frosh/Soph Camp last October"

* Robert Jackson, 6-foot-1, junior, Vallejo High - "a good player and a lifetime Rebel"

* Kiran Shastri, 6-foot-5, junior, Miramonte High - "a First Team All-Diablo Foothill Athletic League selection who is a big time scorer  -- in averaging 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game last season, he compiled totals of 40 and 32 points in the NCS playoffs and had a 38-point game in the first round of the CIF playoffs"

* Leo Smith, 5-foot-9, junior, Oakland Tech - "a First Team Oakland  Athletic League (OAL) selection, he led the OAK in assists (6.6 per game) and was the second-leading scorer (22.3 points a game)"

* Jamaree Strickland, 6-foot-10, senior, McClymonds High - "he's been kept off the court because of an injury but is ready to play"

Size, plenty of offensive weapons inside and out, ballhandling -- it's all there. The Rebels will be out repping the East Bay beginning next month.

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