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Five top stars to be missed at 2014 Sprite Ball Championship

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The Sprite Ball Championship has a rich history, dating back only seven years ago, full of decorated organization and players.

During the short period, we’ve seen our share of great come and go, but which players in the game’s history stand out above the rest.

To decide that, we’ll look at various criteria including statistics, team success and individual accolades.

BASKETBALLghana.com editor Patrick Akoto looks back at FIVE of the stars who will solely be missed ahead of  next year’s edition.

Julian Morgan – Mfantsipim, Cape Coast

Julian Morgan
Julian Morgan

Mostly regarded as one of the most skilled players in the history of the game at the senior high school level in Ghana, Julian Morgan’s dominance on the inside was a thing of beauty. He bemused many a defender with his trademark ‘dream shake’ move. The ex-Mfantsipim star is so renowned that ex- players have spoken highly of his immense talent.

Morgan accomplished everything possible in the game during his four-year stay with the Cape Coast-based school, piling up on the stats and awards.

He led the oldest senior high school in the West African country to an impressive three successive titles in both the regional and national level and crowned it by being voted the Best Senior High School Player of the Year at this year’s Ghana Basketball Awards.

Morgan’s agility, flair, and skills will solely be missed by many who will watch the next edition of the Sprite Ball Championship. A true genius in the making.

David Akuffo – Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast

David Akuffo
David Akuffo

He came into the side as merely a backup plan but turned out to be the real deal for Mfantsipim at the 2013 Sprite Ball Championship in Accra.

Not your flamboyant player and one that will excite crowd with wizardly tricks on the ball, but the 17-year-old gave 100 percent and over.

I dare say that in the modern day of basketball, aside talent, one other driving tool in which the game thrives the most is devotion and total commitment to the course.

This is David Akuffo.

The youngster burst onto the scene and made household names including Ghana under-17 stars Julian Morgan and Patrick Koby Aryeetey to play catch-ups. Simply put he made them look like pedestrians after he was eventually voted Most Valuable Player.

His name didn’t pop up as one of the forefront future talents to watch out for until he exhibited his talents at the two-day event which took place at the El-Wak Sports Stadium and the Aviation Social Centre on the 4 and 5 of January 2013 respectively.

Akuffo’s rise to fame was to be a swift one- he was part of a talented crop of Mfantsipim team who made history as the first senior high school to win the prestigious Sprite Ball Championship title on three successive occasions.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry at the Aviation Social Centre agreed that the Sprite Ball Technical Study Group was spot on with their decision.

He scored 10 points, dished four assists and grabbed three rebounds in an exhilarating final contest against Koforidua Secondary Technical School (KSTS).

Akuffo was just the centre man dictating affairs from the middle of the court, but he showed leadership, motivational abilities and commitment to ensure they succeed.

He breaks down before every Mfantsipim’s basketball game with his crazy dancing, antics and surpasses the pregnant speeches of teammates Julian Morgan.

The Mfantsipim star produced an exciting display at the centre court of the Aviation Social Centre to beat closes challenger and teammates Julian Morgan to the award.

Akuffo surprised many with sublime and great inter-positional display on the court that drew him many admirers.

He inspired the Cape Coast side to defend their crown and in the process won the title for an enviable three consecutive occasions.

His charisma and dedication to pumping up his teammates made him an unsung hero of the Mfantsipim side.

With his arsenal of chest bumps, high-fives and ridiculous handshakes, Akuffo motivates his teammates when they took to the floor.

He is one young chap whose work ethics will be missed by his numerous fans.

 Rudolf Retting Akrasi –Opoku Ware School, Kumasi

Rudolf Retting Akrasi

 

Rudolf Retting Akrasi was the most dominant player during his time at Opoku Ware School.

It was borderline unfair how he brutalized defenders with his brute strength.

The ever-smiling small forward is an irresistible force around the basket, leading Opoku Ware to the title in the Ashanti Region. He showed great work ethics, leadership skills and ferocious will to win major championships in the Ashanti region.

He was voted the third best player at the senior high level at the 2013 Ghana Basketball Awards.

There are many fond memories of the fair coloured youngster and his exploits will be missed for years to come.

Sydney Larbie – Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS), Takoradi

Sydney

The former Ghana Secondary Technical School captain was a model of consistency.

He quickly transitioned from up-and-coming star to real genius.

After making his debut for GSTS in the Sprite Ball Championship as a first year student in 2009, it he emerged as one of the finest in the Western Region.

The confidence of the youngster continued to soar year after year in the highly-rated competition in Ghana and lighted the limelight as the star boy for his side during the 2013 edition of the Sprite Ball Championship.

The performance of the point guard has earned rave reviews over the past three-years by showcasing startling qualities that won him many admirers.

His stamina, dribbling skills, speed, agility and exceptional ball handling skills and control are some of the positive traits that has made him stand tall among his peers.

There are many memorable moment that draw us back anytime the  name of  ’showtime’  pops up in the region.

A clear cue can be taken from GSTS’ final game arch-rivals St Johns’ during the maiden edition of the competition in the Western Region three years ago.

With the clock winding down and the contest knotted at 30-30, Larbie waited until just several seconds remained before he took a jumper from the beyond the free-throw-line and made it count.

The Western Regional-based side will have to plot another challenge at the 2014 edition without their talisman, who has gained admission at the Central University College.

Mawuli Dogbe – Keta Senior High (Ketasco), Keta

Mawuli Dogbe
Mawuli Dogbe

The enigmatic figure who plays as a shooting Guard is undoubtedly gifted with power, pace and exactitude.

Arguably the best shooter in the Sprite Ball Championship. Mawuli’s colossal talent has produced three titles in the Volta Region and being crowned silver-medalist twice at the National level.

Dogbe was widely seen as non-athletic player on the court, but he was always dominant. Whatever he lacked in athleticism, he made up for with his basketball IQ, great skills – including that deadly jump shot- and fierce competitiveness.

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