Brentsville senior guard Brian Owen has always relished the chance to face AAA competition, which his Tigers did a couple of times or so a season during his career. This week, as the lone single-A representative on the Prince William County team in the NOVA Hoops Classic, he will see nothing but AAA players, both on his team and the opposition.
Owen, the Bull Run District player of the year, will join 11 seniors from across the Prince William area to square off against Northern Region all-stars at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Marshall High School in Falls Church in the first of what is planned to be an annual all-star game between the two jurisdictions.
"I guess you could say I'm representing the smaller schools," said Owen, who plays AAU ball with many of his all-star teammates. "This is an opportunity to show what Prince William County is made of."
Perhaps even more important, it is a chance for the chosen players to prove something to whatever college scouts might be on hand. Most of the players on the roster have received limited nibbles.
"I'm hoping that can help me because I could really use some exposure with that," said Osbourn guard Brandon Oglesby, who otherwise plans to try to walk on to a college team. "I'm just glad to play."
"I think this is a great opportunity for these kids to get together and play again," said Gar-Field Coach Andy Gray, whose team will send forward Demetrius Howard and guard Chris Doss to the event. "There certainly have been instances where things have developed late in the game and kids have found a college home."
Stonewall Jackson guard Tyc Snow, whose college prospects have "skyrocketed" since the high school postseason, Raiders Coach Marcus Lawrence said, is perhaps the most celebrated Prince William senior. He averaged 17.8 points, with 56 three-pointers, and finished second in the all-Northwestern Region voting, another indication of his growing reputation.
"I think he's played sort of below the radar in Manassas and people hadn't gotten the chance to see him play in pressure situations," said Lawrence, who is assisting Forest Park Coach Brion Dunlap with the all-star team. "I knew once they saw him play that they would love him."
The 5-foot-7 Snow already has received heavy interest from Wisconsin-Green Bay and other schools, and a strong showing Wednesday could attract more suitors. Snow said he also is looking forward to facing Hayfield forward Jahmar Claxton, a former Osbourn Park player and AAU teammate.
The Northern Region squad is headed by two players off the South Lakes team that was the lone Northern Region representative at the state semifinals in Lynchburg. Senior forwards Doug McLaughlin-Williams and Bo Taylor have committed to Boston University and Hartford, respectively.