WHEELING - Wheeling Jesuit men's basketball coach Danny Sancomb and Dr. Gregory Merrick, executive director of the Urologic Research Institute at Wheeling Hospital, simply don't mess around when the idea is welcoming some of the nation's finest high school basketball teams in the country to Wheeling in the name of cancer research.
Nor do they hesitate when it comes to tapping into some of the brightest basketball coaching minds in the land for advice to pass on to local and regional high school and lower-level coaches who are seeking an edge.
To that end, Sancomb and Merrick unveiled the lineups for next January's 6th annual Cancer Research Classic and September's CRC Basketball Clinic on Tuesday at a news conference at the hospital.
While many of the schools involved in the games are familiar ones, including all three Ohio County schools plus the likes of Neuman-Goretti, Simeon, Gonzaga, DeMatha, Whitney-Young, St. Raymond, St. Joseph's Prep, and St. Benedict's Prep - all past participants - the basketball clinic will feature a few fresh faces.
Beginning with Hall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley, Sr., the names are Jerome Allen and Dan Leibovitz from the University of Pennsylvania, Andy Toole from Robert Morris, Matt Langel from Colgate - all graduates of Penn - and Sancomb.
The reason for this is simple. Merrick is a guy who loves listening to people talk basketball, the more passion and innovation, the better. He isn't always interested in hearing more of the same.
''If you can't give a great talk,'' he said, ''you can't come here. This is a group of guys who will give great talks. This year will be by far the best basketball clinic we've ever put on. These are young, vibrant coaches. If you're interested in basketball and being entertained while you listen, it's really a great group.''
For Sancomb, and presumably each coach that attends, new faces mean new ideas. Sancomb told a story Tuesday of how he used a play he learned from Davidson's Bob McKillop in last year's clinic to beat Concord.
''If you can get two or three ideas as a coach, it can go a long, long, way,'' Sancomb said. ''I love going to these types of things. You learn so much. There are six guys who are great teachers. If you come and you listen, you will leave a better coach.''
The veteran of the group - Hurley - will give tips on practices and planning.
''If you are a basketball coach and you don't come with a plan, you should just stay home,'' Merrick said.''If you're a teacher, you don't teach math class without a plan.''
As far as the games, Merrick figures there will be at least eight teams in Wheeling on Jan. 4, 2013 that will be ranked inside the Top 25 nationally.
''This will be, by far, one of the top one-day tournaments in the country,'' Merrick said.
They will, again, be loaded with Division I prospects. The ESPN family of networks will carry at least two of the games, just as they did a year ago, as Merrick and Sancomb have made the CRC virtually impossible to ignore on a national level. The names are just too big.
The three-day event kicks off Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 with a dinner at Oglebay's Glessner Auditorium featuring a yet-to-be named, but assuredly prominent, speaker, followed by the games on Friday and Saturday at Wheeling Jesuit's McDonough Center.
Cancer Research Basketball Clinic
Sept. 30, 2012
(at Wheeling Jesuit University)
Bob Hurley, St. Anthony High School
Jerome Allen, University of Pennsylvania
Dan Leibovitz, University of Pennsylvania
Andy Toole, Robert Morris University
Matt Langel, Colgate University
Danny Sancomb, Wheeling Jesuit University
Cancer Research Classic
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
Dinner at Oglebay's Glessner Auditorium
(speaker to be announced)
*Friday, Jan. 4
(at Wheeling Jesuit University)
Propel Charter (Pittsburgh)
Seton-La Salle (Pittsburgh)
*matchups to be announced
**Saturday, Jan. 5
Simeon (Chicago) vs. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.).
St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) vs. Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) vs. Whitney Young (Chicago)
St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.) vs. Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.)
St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia) vs. Wheeling Park
**matchups subject to change