NEWARK — The Newark Bears will welcome future professional basketball players and NBA Draft hopefuls on Thursday, when they take on the Rockland Boulders at 1:05 p.m.
Former local hoops stars Scott Machado (St. Benedict’s Prep/Iona) and Jordan Theodore (Paterson Catholic/Seton Hall) are scheduled to be among those meeting with fans and taking part in a ceremony prior to Thursday’s game. Machado and Theodore are both eligible to be chosen in the NBA Draft. Machado is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Mississippi Valley State forward Paul Crosby is also scheduled be in attendance, as will former Tennessee Volunteer Scotty Hopson.
Machado, a native of Queens, N.Y., was the nation’s leader in assists per game with 9.9, as he led Iona to the NCAA Tournament this past season. He averaged 13.6 points per game in 2011-12 and is projected by some draft analysts to be a first-round pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. A graduate of St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, he played under current Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley in high school.
Theodore, a native of Englewood, was named second-team All-Big East as a member of the Seton Hall Pirates in 2011-12. He broke a school record by averaging 6.6 assists per game, which ranked second in the conference. The point guard, who starred at Paterson Catholic High School, averaged 16.1 points per game last season, helping lead Seton Hall to the NIT.
Crosby, a native of Lansing, Mich., led Mississippi Valley State to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, scoring 13.4 points per game, while averaging 7.3 rebounds. The hard-nosed big man attended Holt High School in Michigan, and later spent two years playing at Navarro Junior College in Texas.
Hopson, a native of Hopkinsville, Ky., began his professional career last season in Greece, scored 17.0 points per game for Tennessee in 2010-11. Over a three-year career with the Volunteers, Hopson scored over 1,300 points. A McDonald’s All-American, the shooting guard attended University Heights in Kentucky before joining the Volunteers.
The NBA Draft will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark on Thursday at 7 p.m. All fans who purchase a ticket to the Bears game can receive $3 off of admission to the draft later on that day.