For the first time in quite a while Lynden Christian's Isaac Reimer will not be the most intriguing big man on the court.
The 6-foot-8 senior post and the Lyncs left Wednesday, Dec. 5, to play in The Christian Cup boys' basketball tournament in Gilbert, Ariz. They will be one of eight Christian schools from throughout the country to play in the three-day event, which will be held at the state-of-the-art gymnasium at Gilbert Christian.
"We just happened to be in the right place at the right time," LC coach Roger DeBoer said in a phone interview. "I think this is going to be an extraordinary experience for our players to go up against some top-notch competition from outside the area."
Included among that competition is 7-foot-5, 310-pound senior Mamadou Ndiaye of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Brethren Christian. Ndiaye came to the United States from Senegal in 2010 and has committed to play for UC-Irvine next year.
Austin Nichols, a 6-8 forward from Eads (Tenn.) Briarcrest is a five-star recruit who already has committed to Memphis, spurning offers from Duke, Tennessee and Virginia. Nichols is ranked the No. 22 senior recruit in the nation by Maxpreps.com, while Ndiaye slots in at No. 41.
Tournament host Gilbert Christian is Arizona's returning Division II champion and is led by 6-7 junior swingman Sam Jones.
"They try to get defending state champions and teams that are highly regarded or have top-level players to come to this tournament," DeBoer said. "It's very highly regarded."
Lynden Christian definitely fits that mold, as the Lyncs are coming off the Class 1A state championship last season.
But LC didn't receive an invitation until another team had to back out last spring. DeBoer's business associate's son attends Gilbert Christian, and that started the process of sending the Lyncs to Arizona, where they will meet Solana Beach (Calif.) Santa Fe Christian, which advanced to the semifinals of the CIF San Diego Section Division IV playoffs last year, in a 3:30 p.m. first-round game on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Other teams scheduled to play are Chandler Valley (Ariz.) Christian, Phoenix Northwest Christian and Las Cruces (N.M.) Mesilla Valley Christian.
For the record, Reimer, who was selected the 1A State Player of the Year as a junior after he averaged 17.8 points per game last year, has been getting plenty of interest from college recruiters, DeBoer said.
"I'm getting calls a couple times a day," DeBoer said. "He's getting a wide variety of interest. It's pretty cool and pretty exciting for him. Usually, it's from the small to little bit bigger schools - none of the really big schools. But Isaac just took his SATs, so we'll soon see what he qualifies for. It's really interesting."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.