When the high school basketball season ended in February, word got around that Maryknoll’s super sophomore Justice Sueing Jr. might transfer to Mater Dei of California.
The 6-foot-5 swingman denied the rumor. His 6-5 freshman teammate, Brian Washington, asked Sueing to promise that he wouldn’t be going anywhere. After all, with a very young lineup, the Spartans were one of the top teams in the ILH and the state.
Sueing, who had transferred to Maryknoll from Arizona after his freshman year, was third in the Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball All-State Fab 15 voting. He was behind only Kaleb Gilmore and Kupaa Harrison, both of state champion Kalaheo. He was one of only three underclassmen voted to the Fab 15, and the only one among the top 12.
Roughly two months ago, another rumor swirled that Maryknoll’s top four players might depart for various reasons. However, one of Maryknoll’s assistant coaches deflated that tale and all seemed well.
But as of the past week, it’s looking like a moot point. Sueing suited up with Mater Dei, which brought three teams and played local high school teams during the ‘Iolani Summer League. Nothing official has happened yet, but the writing, so to speak, is on the wall.
Maryknoll athletic director Ben Valle declined to comment this morning.
Mater Dei, located in Santa Ana, Calif., won four CIF titles in a row from 2011 to ’14, and was named national champion by MaxPreps in ’14. The team went 29-5 last season, beating Westchester, Bishop Montgomery and Fairfax in the CIF playoffs before falling to to Bishop O’Dowd 65-64.
The Spartans should recover. Since the arrival of alum Kelly Grant as head coach, their influx of talent has been phenomenal. Two seasons ago, 6-3 senior Josh Burnett was the state’s player of the year. They have also drawn players from near (Gilmore, Burnett) and far (Tobias Schramm of Germany, Hyrum Harris of New Zealand).
Players have also departed prematurely, like Gilmore, who became player of the year last winter. Harris returned to New Zealand for a year, then came back to the islands and played for Kahuku.
This all comes as a gala for former coach Tony Sellitto is being organized. The dinner event will be held on July 14 at the school’s gym. Proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund in Sellitto’s name, and the court at T.C. Ching Gymnasium will be dedicated to the former Spartan coach.
For reservations, call the Maryknoll athletic department at 952-7370.