Local charity basketball event lures touted teams

With the basketball regular season winding down, most teams aren’t picking up any nonleague games.

But not only is Coronado’s boys team playing a nonleague opponent, it also will be facing one of the nation’s top teams.

The Cougars will host Simeon (Ill.), ranked No. 6 in the nation by USA Today, as part of the Penny Hardaway Las Vegas National Hoopfest at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Simeon features Duke recruit Jabari Parker, ranked as the No. 3 senior in the nation by Rivals.com.

“For our kids, I keep telling them we’re focused on our league games,” Coroando coach Jeff Kaufman said. “But it’s a chance for our kids to get seen by coaches and a chance for them to say they played against Jabari Parker, who’s going to be at Duke next year and in the NBA someday. It’s exciting for our kids.”

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. at Coronado with Clark taking on Las Vegas. Palo Verde plays Ribet Academy (Calif.) at 2; Foothill plays White Station (Tenn.) at 3:30; Impact Academy plays Oak Hill (Va.) at 5; and Desert Pines plays Findlay Prep at 8.

Findlay Prep is ranked No. 1 in the nation, and Oak Hill is No. 12.

Kaufman said the proceeds from the event will go to the Penny Hardaway Fast Break Foundation to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“Basketball has been kind of a hotbed in Vegas, and it’s a chance for our kids to see some of the best kids in the country and not just see them but play against them,” Kaufman said.