ORONO, Maine — Christian McCue and Garet Beal were among the dominating forces in Maine high school basketball in recent years.
They each rose to prominence in different circles, McCue with Class A Hampden Academy and Beal at Class D Jonesport-Beals.
On Saturday afternoon, the two standouts may share the court at the same time in a rare reunion at Memorial Gymnasium.
Beal will represent the University of Maine and McCue will suit up for McGill University of Montreal in a 2 p.m. exhibition game.
“I can’t tell you that the last two Gatorade [Maine] Players of the Year have played against each other in Maine — Christian McCue and Garet Beal — I don’t know that that’s happened,” said UMaine head coach Ted Woodward.
“It’s nice having them [the McGill Redmen] come in and there’ll be some fans here from Hampden as well. They’ll give us a good, solid test,” Woodward added.
McCue, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, had a good freshman season for McGill, which went 23-11 overall and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships after winning their first regional title in 34 years.
Despite dealing with hand and back injuries, McCue was named to the Reseau due Sport Etudiant du Quebec all-rookie team. During the regular season, he averaged 5.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.
McCue was named Maine’s Mr. Basketball in 2012, when he helped Hampden Academy reach the Class A state championship game and was selected as a Bangor Daily News All-Maine first-team player. He also was named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North Co-Player of the Year and was the Eastern Maine Class A tournament MVP.
Beal will make his collegiate debut for UMaine on Saturday after a stellar high school career at Jonesport-Beals.
The 6-foot-5 guard-forward joined the Black Bears after being named to the Parade All-American Boys Basketball Team last spring. That is an honor accorded to only 40 players from across the country.
“Garet is strong, versatile,” Woodward said. “He can play a couple of different spots for us.”
Last season, Beal averaged 34.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists in only 24 minutes per contest.
Saturday marks the first action against an outside opponent for a UMaine team whose personnel has changed tremendously since the end of last season.
Heading the returnees are junior guard Xavier Pollard, who averaged 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, a team-leading 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals. Also providing experience is classmate Zarko Valjarevic, who posted 8.4 points per game while shooting 34 percent from 3-point range.
Other key returnees including sophomore guards Dimitry Coronel and Shaun Lawton and sophomore post player Till Gloger. Among the six newcomers are point guard Troy Reid-Knight and forwards Christian Ejiga, Marko Pirovic and Erik Nissen.
The Redmen have played several exhibition games during the summer and early fall and have posted a victory over Division I Siena. Their mainstays include forward Rodrigo Imperador, shooting guard Vincent Dufort and point guard Simon.