Before teaming up for the Washington men's basketball team next season, Darin Johnson and Jahmel Taylor will share the court in the charity event.
Before teaming up for the Washington men’s basketball team next season, high-school players Darin Johnson and Jahmel Taylor will share the court during the inaugural West Coast All-Star Classic in Kent.
For Johnson, a four-star prospect from Sacramento, Calif., Saturday night’s charity game is a chance to build early rapport with a soon-to-be teammate.
“We’ve never played together before, so I’m looking forward to getting out there on the floor with him,” Johnson said. “You can learn something and pick up things from every experience and this is no different.”
Taylor, a three-star prospect from Los Angeles, hopes to give Huskies fans a glimpse of what they may see next season.
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“It’s a game to show people something to look forward to in the future,” he said. “If I play my game, then I hope they come away thinking things will look good in the future at Washington.”
Rainier Beach boys basketball coach Mike Bethea, who helped organize the classic, said one purpose of the game is to “identify the stars of tomorrow.”
“We wanted to bring a high-level all-star game to the West Coast,” he said. “There’s not really one out there. Everything is in the Midwest or in the East. Our kids sometimes get picked, but they have to go way out there.
“We’ve never had a chance to bring something like this out here to recognize our kids in this area.”
Johnson and Taylor are two of 22 players in the 6 p.m. game at the ShoWare Center.
Seattle-area seniors who will play include Bothell’s Zach LaVine (a UCLA signee), Seattle Prep’s D.J. Fenner (Nevada), Garfield’s Tucker Haymond (Western Michigan), Rainier Beach’s Marquis Davis (Santa Clara) and Ballard’s Seth Berger (Massachusetts).
“I know a couple of guys like Jahmel and Zach LaVine, so there’s some good talent out there,” Johnson said. “You can’t treat it like a real game because it’s not, but you want to go out, compete and put on a show.”
Renton’s Rick Comer and Patrick Strickland from Portland’s Jefferson High will coach what appears to be a loaded East team that includes Johnson, Taylor, Fenner, Haymond, Berger, Kameron Williams (Ohio State), Hallice Cooke (Oregon State), Eric Mika (BYU), Gavin Shilling (Michigan State), Thomas Washington (Wyoming) and Karachi Somaedo (Fresno State).
Garfield coach Ed Haskins and former Franklin coach Jason Kerr team up to lead a West squad that includes Lavine, Elliott Pitts (Arizona), Jordan Mathews (California), Torren Jones (Missouri), Ja’Keem Yates (Ohio State), Brandon Randolph (Xavier), Dakarai Allen (San Diego State), D’erryl Williams (San Diego State), Gabe Bealer (Santa Clara) and Calvin Hermanson (Saint Mary’s).
Proceeds from the game benefit the Urban Family Center and Rainier Beach High in its renovation efforts to become the first green high school in the state.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @percyallen