Sam Carey NH All-Star Classic
All-star classic to spotlight top basketball talent
MANCHESTER — Call it a pickup game with a purpose.
Current and former standout Granite State basketball players are preparing for the second annual Sam Carey NH All-Star Classic, which will be held in two weeks in honor of the former Southern New Hampshire University basketball player who died in a car accident two years ago.
On Friday, in a sweltering Manchester High School Central gym, about 10 of those 22 players got together for a scrimmage game to raise awareness of the Aug. 2 game and get in a good workout against some of the better basketball players New Hampshire has turned out.
"It's kind of a training-type thing to get everyone together," said Mike Stys, a senior player on the Southern New Hampshire University basketball team and an organizer of the All-Star Classic. Each of the players at Friday's scrimmage wore a black T-shirt with Carey's name and number 52 on its back.
The event has two causes — to provide a scholarship to a Central High student and to help pay to rehabilitate one of the city's outdoor basketball courts through the Rock On Foundation founded by Concord native and NBA player Matt Bonner and his brother, Luke.
"It's kind of a way to give back to the community," Stys said.
Carey died Nov. 15, 2011, while driving home from Quebec City. At the time of his death, the man described by friends as a 6-foot-8 teddy bear with tattoos left behind a son, Brayden, a fiancee, his family and too many grieving friends to count.
"He was a great kid," said Tim Lee, another SNHU basketball alumnus and All-Star Classic participant. "He just had this positive energy."
Carey's father, Owen, said the community outpouring was overwhelming. He said SNHU held his son's funeral at the school's basketball court and that SNHU head coach Stan Spirou promised Brayden a full scholarship to the school, whether or not the now 2-year-old grows up to play basketball.
He said donations paid for his son's funeral — "I didn't pay a dime," he said.
Owen Carey said he sees the All-Star Classic as a way to repay the community that supported his family after the tragedy.
"For us to be able to give back now is just tremendous," he said. "Our heart is that we want to do anything we can to give back for all the community has done for our family."
The second goal of the fund-raising event comes as at least one city alderman, Ward 5's Ed Osborne, has called for closing the outdoor basketball courts at Sheridan-Emmett Park after receiving complaints of players damaging the parks and continuing to play until 3 a.m.
"I guess this was good timing," Stys said.
The All-Star Classic is scheduled to be played Aug. 2 at Manchester High School Central.
The Bonners plan to participate in the event, with Luke listed as a player and Matt, a participant in the NBA All-Star Game 3-point shootout, scheduled to participate in a 3-point shooting contest.