By Phil Anastasia
Eric Cassidy picked up the telephone.
"It was as simple as that," Cassidy, the Schalick coach, said of his ability to lure national power St. Benedict's of Newark to the first Jimmy V Foundation Showcase basketball event at the Salem County school.
St. Benedict's will play Delsea in the main event of the five-game showcase Saturday at Schalick.
St. Benedict's, which doesn't play under the auspices of the NJSIAA, went 36-3 last season and might be even better this season. The Gray Bees, currently 4-0, are led by Syracuse recruit Tyler Ennis at point guard as well as sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe, a third-team freshman All-American last season by MaxPreps and highly touted freshman Rodney Miller Jr.
MaxPreps this season has ranked St. Benedict's as the No. 1 team in New Jersey, ahead of St. Anthony of Jersey City.
"I called (St. Benedict's coach) Mark Taylor and asked him to come down and he said, 'Ok,'" Cassidy said.
Taylor recently won his 300th game. He was the long-time coach at St. Joseph of Metuchen, where he coached future NBA lottery picks Jay Williams and the 76ers' Andrew Bynum.
All proceeds from ticket sales, T-shirt sales, 50-50s and an auction will go to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research.
The cause is dear to Cassidy, who has dedicated the showcase to the memory of his mother, Deborah Sheehan, who died in October, 2011 of breast cancer.
Cassidy hopes to expand the showcase to two days next season. He said Taylor has said that St. Benedict's will be back.
Cassidy hopes to have Camden play St. Benedict's in the showcase next season.
Here's the lineup for Saturday's games:
11 a.m. Schalick vs. Highland
12:30 p.m. Gloucester Catholic vs. Florence
2 p.m. Haddonfield vs. Sacred Heart
3:30 p.m. St. Benedict's vs. Delsea
5 p.m. Paulsboro vs. Vineland
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter