The Miller School prepares for WDN tourney|Mychal Parker’s crew embraces challenging journey

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
The 30th annual Washington Daily News/PotashCorp Aurora Holiday Tournament will tip off in grand style on Friday as Washington native Mychal Parker and The Miller School will square off against Stevens Prep Academy in a 9 p.m. showcase game at Northside High School.
Parker, who has recently committed to play basketball at the University of Maryland, was a former WDN Basketball Player of the Year as a sophomore at Terra Ceia before transferring to The Miller School in Charlottesville, Va.
Last season, Parker led the Mavericks (Virginia Independent Conference) to a 24-4 record and a state championship.
Parker will get to display his skills one last time in front of a home crowd this weekend starting with the 9 p.m. contest against Stevens Prep, and ending Saturday night with a showcase showdown with the South Central Falcons at 7 p.m.
The Miller School and Stevens Prep will tip off after the conclusion of the Northside-Perquimans game. Fans can catch both the Northside-Perquimans and Miller-Stevens Prep games for $5.
Admission to Saturday’s games (which includes the start of the WDN/PCS Phosphate Tournament) is $7.
The road to glory is always a tough one, but The Miller School’s path to success during the WDN Tournament might be the toughest of any of the 11 teams that are participating.
The Mavericks, who have exams all week, will conclude testing Friday at 2 p.m. before hopping on a bus in Charlottesville and trekking roughly five hours to Yeatesville. From that point they will basically be jumping off the bus and on to the hardwood.
“It’s not ideal, but we are very enthusiastic and looking forward to the tournament,” Mavericks’ first-year coach Scott Willard said.
Willard said the adverse conditions can help strengthen his team.
“It will be a good measure of our toughness,” Willard said. “They will have some time off after the holidays, so we are just going to play hard against two very good teams and use this as a learning experience.”
Aside from Parker, who is averaging 25 points, six rebounds and four assists per game, The Miller School (3-1) features a frontcourt of Hippolyte Tsafack and Brice Kofane, while Preston Tyrell and D’Andre Corbin man the guard positions.
Tsafack, who had been recruited by Maryland and several other high major Div. I teams before committing to Memphis, is what Willard called a “double-double type guy” and is averaging 13 points and nine rebounds a game this season.
Kofane, who has not signed with any school yet but is being looked at by several mid and high majors, is more of a prototypical small forward and is posting 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game.
Corbin, the point guard, leads the team with six assists per night, while Tyrell is averaging eight points a contest. Coming off the bench is 6-2 Serbian product, Alexander Turkovic, who is averaging six points and three assists a game.
The Mavericks run a fan-friendly, up-tempo style that should be exciting on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, we are a pressure team,” Willard said. “We like to full court press a lot and we have some shot blockers behind us that allow us to take more chances.
“On offense we have many playmakers, so we just like to give them space and let them play. We’re not too scripted on offense.”