Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sam Carey NH All-Star Classic on Tap Friday Night

The NH basketball community will come together this Friday night at Manchester Central High School, playing an all-star game to honor the memory of the late Sam Carey and to raise money for outdoor basketball court renovations in the city of Manchester. It's the 2nd annual Sam Carey NH All-Star Classic, and it is set to tip-off on Friday, August 2 at 7 pm.

"Sam is one of those guys where if you met him, even just once, you had a great friend" said Luke Bonner, the former Trinity standout who went on to play at UMass and then professionally overseas. "We were in the same grade growing up, and even though we always played against each other with him at Central and me at Trinity I had a ton of respect for him. Sam influenced so many people and had the ability to brighten anyone's day - he was a great guy. Chris Brickley and I went over to visit Sam and his son Braeden. Shortly after that I took off for awhile. When he passed it was a big loss, and I still have a heavy heart when thinking of him."

The 6-foot-8 Carey was a star player at Central High and then went on to be an All-American player at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. He was tragically killed in a car accident in 2011. Bonner and Carey had some tremendous battles over the years.

"I'll never forget senior year playing against Central at SNHU" said Bonner, who will be playing for the White/Green team at this year's event. "We played the game there because they were worried about there not being enough room for all of the fans at our small Trinity gym. The year before that it was so crowded that the heat inside the gym was causing guys to slip all over the floor. But the game at SNHU we played it on a Saturday night and there was wall-to-wall people there, it was an amazing atmosphere, like Hoosiers. Tyler Roche and I still talk about that game."

That was quite the era for NH basketball. With players like Carey, Bonner, Roche, Chris Brickley, Corey Hassan, David Cooper, Chris Lutz, Mike Konovelchick, Troy Bowen, plus many other scholarship players all battling it out in the NHIAA.

"We all came up together, and I remember in elementary school we were all deciding which sport to play" reminisces Bonner. "But it was at that time that we were looking up to my older brother Matt and his Concord teams. We wanted to be like them, so we played basketball. Even though we were very competitive with each other on the court, we all grew to be great friends off of it. I recently went to Corey Hassan's wedding, Tyler Roche is a great friend of mine. And Sam of course was an amazing person."

Since that era, NH basketball just hasn't been the same.

One thing that would help is if NH had a shot clock" said Bonner, echoing the same sentiments that the NH Notebook has been saying since 2009. "I went to a Christmas Tournament game last year and I was shocked that they were playing without a shot clock. It could elevate the level of play. In Europe you have 5th and 6th graders playing with a shot clock. The other issue I see is that there simply is not enough kids playing basketball now. Some schools don't even have enough kids at tryouts.

Luke and Matt Bonner's non-profit organization 'Rock On' is aimed at solving that very problem, as they are out there renovating courts and raising awareness and excitement for the game of basketball.

"Our goal with the Sam Carey All-Star game is to raise enough money to make significant upgrades to the outdoor courts in Manchester" explained Bonner. "It would add to the city, we have high hopes. We have already done it for an outdoor court in Concord."

Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs will be in attendance at Friday night's event, participating in a 3-point shooting contest raffle at halftime.

"This is a unique experience and a fun Friday night activity for fans" concluded Bonner. "This means a lot to our family, as well as Sam's family. It shows how tight knit the NH basketball community is. I encourage people to come out for it."

Rosters for Sam Carey NH All-Star Classic:

David Cooper (Central HS, SNHU, James Madison)
Miguel Gonzalez (Holy Cross HS NYC, SNHU)
Time Lee (Farmington NH, SNHU)
Matt Lemieux (Central HS, Colby-Sawyer College)
Chris Brickley (Trinity HS, SNHU, Louisville)
Corey Hassan (Merrimack HS, Sacred Heart University)
Gregory Lacasse (Bentley University)
Luke Bonner (Trinity HS, Umass Amherst)
Chris Tardif (Bentley University)
Will Brooks (Central HS, Purdue University)

Scott Hazelton (Central Catholic HS, University of Rhode Island)
PJ Young (Central HS, SNHU)
Chris Burns (Merrimack HS, Bryant College)
Curt Scully (Manchester West HS, University of Central Florida)
William Bayliss IV (Central HS, Wheaton College)
Ryan Stys (Central HS, University of Hartford)
Keith Friel (University of Virginia, Rochester Razorsharks)
Joe Fremeau (Central HS, Bentley University)
Austin Denton (Merrimack HS, NHTI)
Mark Campbell (Nashua HS)

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