Westchester’s premier charity basketball game is on the move.
The annual Frankie Williams Charity Classic will be held on Thursday night, but the venue for this year’s game has been shifted to Stepinac High School. It’s a key change that will allow the game to expand, according to organizer Tom Sampogna. All six previous editions of the Williams Classic — named in honor of a key member of the Greenburgh grassroots community — were held in town at the Theodore D. Young Community Center.
“We took a nice overview of the last seven years and tried to figure out where we could take the next step forward and increase the legacy of Frankie Williams,” Sampogna said. “We have new partners coming through — Aces in Action, the Westchester Knicks — and we decided it was time to try and grow the game into a different direction so we had a chance to make our own mark.”
Sampogna expects the move to a larger venue along with an expanded list of sponsors will give the game a different feel. T-shirts will be given to the first 200 fans at the door. There will be three different halfcourt shots for prizes and a 50/50 raffle. And proceeds from the game will be donated to cancer research through the Aces in Action program.
Those efforts to grow the event beyond just a basketball spectacle are representative of the new slogan for the Williams Classic: “A community united.”
“The goal is to create something special for basketball in Westchester,” Sampogna said.
Local stars and much of the tri-state’s best talent headline the roster of players expected to participate. The group includes Iona Prep’s Ty Jerome (not participating due to injury) and Bryce Wills, former Kennedy stars Elijah Hughes and Dominick Cristiano and Stepinac’s Jordan Tucker and Aundre Hyatt, and also top national recruits, like former Christ the King star Rawle Alkins (Arizona) and Jefferson’s Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s) and several Class of 2017 stars. That list includes Newmann-Goretti’s Quade Green and Westtown’s Brandon Randolph, a highly coveted Yonkers native.
Kennedy’s Al Morales and Cardozo’s Ron Naclerio will serve as the coaches and former Ossining star Kenny Horton is expected to attend as an honorary coach.
The doors are scheduled to open at 6:30. Tickets will sell for $10, although kids and Stepinac students can enter for $5.
Players scheduled to attend the Frankie Williams Charity Classic:
Elijah Hughes, Kennedy/South Kent (East Carolina)
Kylan Guerra, Stepinac/Kent School (Philadelphia University)
Chuba Ohams, Putnam Science Academy (Fordham)
Aaron Wheeler, St. Andrew’s School (uncommitted)
Jordan Tucker, Stepinac (uncommitted)
Rawle Alkins, Christ the King/Word of God (Arizona)
Shamorie Ponds, Jefferson (St. John’s)
Aundre Hyatt, Stepinac (uncommitted)
Kai Mitchell, Spring Valley/St. Thomas More (Iona)
Sidney Wilson, St. Raymond (uncommitted)
Ty Jerome, Iona Prep (Virginia)*
Bryce Wills, Iona Prep (uncommitted)
Taurean Thompson, Brewster Academy (uncommitted)
Isaiah Washington, St. Raymond (uncommitted)
Brandon Randolph, Westtown School (uncommitted)
Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti (uncommitted)
Cole Anthony, Molloy (uncommitted)
Hasahn French, Middletown/Commonwealth Academy (uncommitted)
Saquan Singleton, Scanlan (uncommitted)
Walter Whyte, St. Luke’s (uncommitted)
Deng Gak, Blair Academy (uncommitted)
Tareq Coburn, Cardozo (St. Bonaventure)
Aaron Walker, Cardozo (Manhattan)
Ray Salnave, Cardozo (Monmouth)
Opong Bramble, MacDuffie School (uncommitted)
Dominick Cristiano, Kennedy/Greens Farms (Lafayette)
Rojaye Campbell, Long Island Lutheran (uncommitted)
Patrick Fleming, Iona Prep (Assumption)
*will not participate