mcgarry

Press employee Michael McGarry, Tuesday April 13 2010 (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Pryia Roy lives in Flemington and is the assistant chief council with the Department of Homeland Security.

His brother, Mukesh Roy, lives in Mays Landing and is an Ocean County physician.

“We’re not the typical basketball guys,” Pryia said with a laugh.

Together, the two run one of the nation’s top high school boys basketball showcase events — The Metro Classic.

The Metro Classic will be held this weekend and Feb. 7-8 at RWJBarnabas Health Arena in Toms River. The Classic will feature Press-area teams this season.

The Mainland Regional boys will play Toms River North at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. On Feb. 8, the Wildwood Catholic boys will play The Patrick School in a 7:30 p.m. game.

“High school basketball has become like college basketball,” Pryia said. “College basketball has become like pro basketball. The interest in it, the level of play.”

Pryia founded the Classic in 2013. The Classic was held at Kean University but moved to Toms River this season to accommodate more fans.

The brothers grew up in Rahway and Scotch Plains in Union County. They developed a friendship with former Patrick School coach Kevin Boyle, who now coaches national power Montverde Academy in Florida. When Boyle got the Montverde job, he still wanted to play some New Jersey teams. The brothers started the Classic in part to give him that opportunity.

“Basketball is in our blood,” Mukesh said.

Showcase events like The Metro Classic are what make the high school basketball season so much fun.

Rarely in other sports do fans have the opportunity to see some of the nation’s top teams on the same day in the same location.

This weekend in Toms River the Classic will showcase Montverde, the nation’s No. 1 team which features Cade Cunningham, one of the top players in the class of 2020; and Kai Sotto, a 7-foot-3 Filipino native who plays for TSF Academy of Georgia and is billed as the next Yao Ming.

“We’re huge New Jersey basketball fans,” Pryia said. “We want to give the top teams in New Jersey a shot at national teams.”

The Roy brothers also incorporate a charity into their event. This year’s beneficiary is The People’s Pantry, a Toms River organization that helps Ocean County residents who struggle with food insecurity.

“We want to get the community involved,” Mukesh said, “and have a significant impact on a charity.”

The brothers said they would be interested in holding a future event in Atlantic City.

“We feel like Atlantic City is a huge opportunity in terms of location and the opportunities it would give there to highlight high school basketball,” Pryia said. “But right now, we’re excited with Toms River. It’s amazing venue.”

Much attention will be focused on the Classic’s nationally televised game Feb. 8. Not only will Wildwood Catholic and The Patrick School play, but a matchup between Sierra Canyon of California and Long Island Lutheran of New York is scheduled to be shown on ESPN3. Sierra Canyon features Lebron James’ son, Bronny.

There might be no better example of basketball’s global appeal than the Metro Classic. You have two Indian-American brothers from North Jersey running event that features a phenom from Asia, a small catholic school from the Jersey Shore and a nationally-televised game featuring the son of one of the world’s most famous athletes.

“It gets the community together,” Pryia said. “It’s the charity aspect, but it’s also high-level basketball. It’s about the kids. It’s about the high schools. It’s about The People’s Pantry.”

Michael McGarry’s Must Win column appears Fridays in The Press.

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Contact: 609-272-7209

MMcGarry@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

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