Nick Cabell was like a kid on Christmas morning when he walked into the gym at Mingo Central and saw some of the talented players warming up on the hard wood.
He has the pleasure of coaching this elite squad on Saturday night.
The boy’s all-star teams from both West Virginia and Kentucky have been practicing the last few days for Saturday’s first annual Consol Energy WV-KY All-Star game that will be played at Mingo Central High School.
The Mountain State squad is being coached by Cabell of Scott High School, while Frankie Smith, currently coaching at Sheldon Clark High School, is coaching the Bluegrass squad.
“I’ve been coaching against many of these players for four or five years. I’m really excited to have them on the same sideline with me,” Cabell said with a broad smile. “I’m familiar with most of them and their abilities.”
Cabell said he had contacted all of the players and they completely agreed that they wanted to run-and-gun. “We plan to get up and down the floor,” he said. “But, we have the size, so if we need to pound it inside, we can do that too.”
“This should be fun for the players and the fans,” Cabell added. “I’m proud that we have been able to get kids from this part of southern West Virginia. They are a great group of young men that are not only good basketball players, but good students.”
Two players from the nationally ranked Huntington Prep school are playing for the West Virginia squad. They are Carlos Arroyo, who is from Puerto Rico, and Williams Otor Gabriel, who hails from Nigeria. Both have received several Division One scholarship offers.
Cabell will be bringing his top senior, Matt Dolan, a Class AA All-State selection at Scott High School.
Also traveling down Corridor G is Kanawha Valley all-state selection Luke Eddy of George Washington, one of the state’s top scorers. He has signed to play D-1 at Elon College. Cody Morris of Herbert Hoover, a 6-8 post player, is also making the drive down.
MacKenzie Martin, the talented 3-time All-Stater from Chapmanville Regional, is also playing for West Virginia. He is joined by his Tiger teammate Michael Hurst.
Mingo Central seniors Austin Banks and Marqus Cunningham are also on the roster. Banks was an All-State selection and Cunningham gives the team some added size.
Lincoln County’s T. J. Arbaugh is also on the W.Va. team, Tolsia’s Austin Brewer and Terry Davis, who helped the Rebels to the state tournament in March, will also play for Cabell’s talented squad.
The squad W.Va. squad has a lot of size which includes Arroyo who is 6-9, Brewer at 6-7, Morris 6-8, Cunningham 6-5 and Martin 6-4.
The Kentucky squad does not have as much size, but they have some big-time scorers.
“I am very excited to be coaching the Kentucky all-star team. This game is a great opportunity for the seniors from each state to showcase their talents one last time. We have a talented group to young men that are ready to compete,” Smith said.
Smith’s squad includes three starting guards for the Belfry Pirates, Josh Robinson, Sean Hurley and Brett Charles are on the roster. Both are known for their 3-point shooting. Hurley is a new addition from the previous roster that was released.
Also joining the Ky. squad will be 6-5 Tony Messer. The former Belfry Pirate will be attending Eastern Kentucky University on a football scholarship. He adds needed size to Smith’s team.
Ray Kasonga, a 6-6 post player from Pikeville, has also been added to the Bluegrass squad.
Dalton Cornette, a 6-7 forward-center from Perry County Central, is the tallest player on the Ky. team.
Chase Kirk, who helped lead Sheldon Clark to a great showing in the regional tournament, is also on the Ky. roster. Another great long distance shooter, Ethan Rowe, who averaged 22 ppg. for the Pikeville Panthers, is also on the squad.
Four players form Boyd County will be playing on the team. They included Austin Hunt, Brandon Taylor, Todd Stacy and Stefano Vaghi. Colton Hall of Lewis County rounds out the team.
There will be some midget league all-star games played before the high school games featuring youngsters from the Delbarton and Gilbert Midget League programs. Those will start around 1 p.m.
The girls’ all-star game will start at 5:30 p.m. It will be followed by a female version of the 3-point contest, then the men’s 3-point competition. That will be followed by a crowd favorite – the dunk contest.
The men’s game is slated to start at approximately 7:30 p.m.