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Chaminade Prepares For A Late Afternoon Spot in the National Sunlight

Matchup against McCluer North will be televised Saturday on ESPNU

It's another challenge the Red Devils will not only embrace but cherish as well.

An impeccable record this season rightfully garners attention to one's program. Throw in the fact that the program just had a player (Bradley Beal) named to the McDonald's All-American game Thursday, that attention only intensifies.

But when the Red Devils (22-0) take the court Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. to face powerful McCluer North (21-3) at Lindenwood University, the entire country will have the opportunity to witness for themselves just how good the Red Devils are, as well as the talented Stars.

The game between the non-conference powers will be televised live on ESPNU, the first time that a pair of St. Louis-area schools will be showcased on the ESPN family of networks.

"I think it's great for our school, student body, and the Chaminade community to be getting the exposure for this game," Chaminade coach Kelvin Lee said. "It's not every day that you get to be on ESPN, so we are going to enjoy the moment and hopefully put on a good show for the nation to see.

"My team has played very well this year. We are not feeling that we have to live up to anyone else's expectations. We have our goals and have done the right things as a team to achieve them to date."

The Red Devils, who routed Jennings by a score of 91-22 Friday night to improve to 22-0, will not only be showcasing Beal, who is bound for the University of Florida next fall, but also a team that is receiving national recognition.

The Red Devils are ranked 13th on the ESPNRISE Fab 50 and USA Today's Super 25 has the Red Devils checking in at No. 18 this week.

"The USA Today and ESPN rankings mean a lot to the program," Lee said. "All of the hard work they have put in is paying off. To see your school name in those rankings means that the nation sees it and it only helps your school out with exposure. It is something that we take pride in."

Beal, who is rated as the seventh-best prospect in the senior class by Rivals.com and ESPNRISE and eighth-best by Scout.com, was selected to the 24-player roster for the McDonald's All-American game which will take place March 30 at the United Center in Chicago. Beal, who will play for the East squad, becomes the second Red Devil selected to play in the game. David Lee (2001), who has gone on to play for the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors in the NBA, was the last area player selected.

"We have been blessed to have some really good players throughout our school's history," Chaminade Athletic Director Tom Fernandez said. "During the 1999 and 2000 seasons, David Lee elevated our basketball program to such a level that we achieved national attention for the first time.

"During those same years, we also achieved national recognition in soccer by being named National Champions by NSCAA/Adidas in 2001. Those were special years and our entire athletic department benefited from that attention. Now, Bradley Beal and his teammates have once again allowed the national spotlight to shine on our basketball program. These games bring a great deal of excitement to our school community and they strengthen the bond within our Chaminade family. In addition, I believe that this excitement makes all of our athletes try to reach that next level."

But as much as Beal and McCluer North's B.J. Young (Arkansas) will be showcased for the entire nation to see, the Red Devils will be looking to expose some of their hidden treasures, including seniors Luke Bumgarner and Tevin Evans (each averaging 10 points per game) as well as senior Brendan Kelly (7.2 ppg) and sophomore Andy Kleinlein (7.5 ppg).

"Bradley has got all the attention one player can get," Lee said. "He does not need anymore. The other guys will be on the big stage also. I tell them to embrace it and go out and perform the way they have been taught and they will be fine. Don't do things that they normally don't do. Play within their limitations and they will get attention from colleges."

This will be the second showcase game the Red Devils will play in this season. They were a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer event played at SLU's Chaifetz Arena on Jan. 27 when they faced state-ranked O'Fallon of Illinois. Chaminade, after racing out to a 24-point lead then, won 82-77.

"The team has responded to every challenge to date," said Lee, who's received phone calls from several friends around the country congratulating him on his team's play. "There was only one time this year that I feel they were not ready to play, and that was at CBC (a 66-56 victory on Jan. 4). But after a passionate halftime talk, they responded and went out and got the 'W.'"

The Stars pose as the next threat to Beal and the Red Devils, but it's a challenge Lee said his kids are ready to face.

"I feel like McCluer North will pose a challenge for us because of their athleticism," Lee said. "They are fast with size. I feel like if we can contain B.J. Young and rebound with them, we will be fine.

"We have been in big games this year and this one is no different than any other. We just go out and play hard and smart."

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