Reebok Showdown: Coger ready to lead

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. -- SEBL (N.C.) forward Tyrek Coger knows that for the first time in at least six years he won’t be able to look to Rodney Purvis to bail the team out with a much-needed basket.

Purvis and Coger have teamed up on Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) for the last four years and played AAU together since they were 11, but with Purvis headed off to North Carolina State next season, Coger knows it’s his time to step into the role of the leader.

“It’s just my time,” Coger said. “I’ve definitely got a lot more motivation this summer knowing that a lot more will be on my shoulders next season. I’m using this time to improve. I know I’ll have to produce even more.”

So far so good.

Coger scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead SEBL to a 73-67 win over Team Loaded (Va.) in the Reebok Showdown Series Southern Regional title game Sunday at the Gateway YWCA here.

“I just know that this is my summer,” said Coger who is averaging 18.7 points and 12 rebounds per game this AAU season. “I have been working really hard, and I know that this is the time to step things up and produce. It’s a lot different without Rodney, but I feel like this summer will set the tone for my senior year so I’m going hard at all times.”

Lewis’ Mom the Ring Bearer

Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) point guard Tyler Lewis turned plenty of heads when he walked into the Reebok Showdown Series last weekend.

Most were looking to see if he was sporting his brand new national championship ring.

Lewis, a North Carolina State signee, and his teammates received their rings Friday at a ceremony where they were presented with a trophy for finishing No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50, posting a 44-0 record.

But Lewis said if people want to see his ring they’d have to ask his mother, Margaret.

“I ended up just giving it to her,” Lewis said. “The ring is crazy, and I didn’t want to lose it or have anyone try and steal it. It’s all hers.”

D-ONE has Young Studs

You’d be hard pressed to find any team in the country in the 17-and-under division with one seventh grader on its roster. D-One Sports (N.C.) has three.

J.J. Smith, Jordan Riley and Chris Wilson all log solid minutes for D-One who went 2-1 this past weekend at the Reebok Showdown Series.

D-One coach Kendrick Williams said, in the long run, the trio will benefit from the exposure.

“It’s about the maturation process and giving them a greater challenge,” Williams said. “All three guys have grown a lot already. It’s like deferred gratification. It’s tough for them now, but they’ll be very well prepared for this level well before they would normally.”

Just Two Years for Djitte

It’s hard to believe that Upward Stars (S.C.) big man Sidy Djitte has only been playing organized basketball for the last two years. The 6-foot-10 center was all the talk of the Reebok Showdown Series after averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks a game.

Djitte, a junior, came to Northwood Temple (Fayetteville, N.C.) in January from Senegal and his guardian, Craig Spradlin, said this summer is all about “getting him more and more exposure.”

“He came over here to have a better opportunity through basketball,” Spradlin said. “So he’s just working hard and we’re trying to get him in position to be seen by schools. He’s already had a good amount of schools inquiring about him and showing interest, but he’s got lots of potential. I think this can be a breakout summer for him.”