Here’s James Carlucci’s story from the CYP on Saturday night, where Frenji and the New York Panthers advanced into Monday’s semifinals. James’ story focused on two of the area’s top players, who, well, don’t happen to play basketball in the area. But they’re doing just that at this week’s CYP.
Elmsford native Donovan Mitchell (pictured right), a sophomore at the Canterbury school in Connecticut, joined Spring Valley native D.J. Foreman, a junior at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia, and other local players on Team Frenji.
“As a kid, I’ve always wanted to play around the area,” said Mitchell, whose father Donovan grew up in Westchester, was drafted by the Houston Astros, played seven minor-league seasons, and then coached and managed in the Mets organization. “It’s where my friends were. But I’ve never really had that experience because I’ve been away. So this is definitely fun to come back and play in front of my friends who have seen me when I was a little bit younger, and now they can see progress to what I can do now.”
Mitchell said his greatest strength is driving and knowing when to finish or pass. Team Frenji coach Tom Sampogna said the 6-foot-3 Mitchell has a strong all-around game.
“He’s got tremendous athleticism,” Sampogna said. “He reminds me of a combination right now of (White Plains graduates and college stars) Sean Kilpatrick and Ra’Shad James. He’s obviously shown that he can shoot the ball and create his own shot. I envision him playing at a high-major school in the next three years.”
Mitchell said Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas, Iona and Rutgers have shown interest.
Sampogna said Foreman, who played his freshman year at Spring Valley, was a late bloomer. At first a gangly forward, he has added height and girth.
“Now he’s a legitimate 6-foot-8 lefty,” Sampogna said. “I’ve heard comparisons that he is like a Lamar Odom where he can play (small forward) or (shooting guard) and get out on the perimeter. He’s not afraid to get down on the block. He’s a guy who’s definitely going to be a high-major recruit.”
Sampogna said West Virginia and Villanova have already shown interest in Foreman.
Team Frenji beat the New York Blaze 101-88 in a quarterfinal Saturday. The tournament continues with two quarterfinals Sunday. Connecticut Select meets the New Jersey Roadrunners at 7:15, followed by defending champ Rodney Abrams vs. the Rockland-based New York Falcons at 8:30. The winners will join Frenji and the Panthers in Monday’s semifinals.