Sam Carey Classic leaving a meaningful legacyBy JOHN HABIB
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 03. 2017 12:52AM
In six years, the Sam Carey New Hampshire Classic has provided Manchester’s youth with a state-of-art recreational park, a summer basketball league for youths, a trust fund for Carey’s family and has a proud legacy for the former Manchester Central and Southern New Hampshire University basketball standout.
On Friday, at Southern New Hampshire University’s Fieldhouse, the sixth annual Sam Carey New Hampshire Classic will host three basketball games.
Beginning at 6 p.m. the Alumni Legends Game will be staged followed by two high school games with the girls playing at 7 p.m. followed by the boys at 8 p.m. Proceeds from this year’s classic will continue to fund the summer league and clinics.
Carey lost his life at age 26 in a fatal single-car accident in Campton in November 2011.
Carey ended his career at SNHU in 2008 as the program’s sixth all-time leading scorer and, shortly after his tragic death, both SNHU and Manchester Central retired his No. 52 jersey.
Carey’s family is expected to attend Friday’s classic including his fiancee, Kayte Kenyon and son, Brayden.
The classic was started by Carey’s close friend and former SNHU teammate Mike Stys, who remains in contact with Carey’s family.
“I can tell you the Carey family really appreciates the support from the community over the years,” said Stys. “They’re also extremely happy over how this classic has kept Sam’s memory alive.”
Miguel Gonzalez, who was a senior when Carey arrived at SNHU for his freshman season, said he isn’t surprised of the overwhelming support the community has given to the classic since 2012.
“I’m not because everyone who knew Sam really loved him. He was a great person who would help anyone in need,” said Gonzalez. “At SNHU he was well-liked by his teammates, coached and classmates and Sam worked hard each day to improve his game.”
Gonzalez said he will play in the legends game for the sixth consecutive time. “I haven’t missed one yet,” he said. “To be part of a great cause, part of Sam’s Classic, I look forward to this event every year. It just does so much good for a lot of people, especially young kids in our community.”
Over the years the Classic raised funds and, combined with the financial assistance from Rock On Foundation, founded by former San Antonio Spurs player Matt Bonner and his brother Luke, newly renovated state-of-art Beech Street basketball courts at Sheridan-Emmett Park in Manchester opened to the public last year.
“We’re now running a summer basketball league (through Parks and Recreation) and summer clinics for youths free of charge,” said Stys. “A portion of the proceeds from the Classic this year will continue to run those programs annually.”
Gonzalez will be a member of the Gold Team in the Alumni Game playing with former Penmen Aleksandar Dobrovich, Tory Stapleton, B.J. Cardirelli, Troy Bowen and Stephen Wood, along with Dave Greenidge Jr. of Connecticut College and Chris Burns of Bryant.
The Green Team will be headed by SNHU’s Devin Gilligan, who was named the Northeast-10 Player of the Year this past season. Joining Gilligan on the Green Team are former Penmen players Elijah Bonsignore, John Baiano, Josh Morgan Green and Mark Yeaton along with Scott Hazelton of Rhode Island, Austin Denton of NHTI and Corey Hassan of Sacred Heart.
Coaching the squads Friday are Dave “Doc” Wheeler, Joe Fremeau, Jeff Gore and Namdi Williams.
Kids attending the Carey Classic will be entertained by Boston Celtics’ mascot, Lucky.