by Ben Osborne
What’s up everyone? Greetings from Rick Ross Country. It is hot down here, but it feels pretty good after the hella long winter we’ve had in NYC. I missed the Slam dunk contest Monday night, and apparently missed quite a show from Avery Bradley (note: covered by Farmer Jones in SLAM 128…on sale and unveiled here Friday!). Came into town yesterday and attended media day. Missed a sad day in the office as KING, a mag I helped start, folded. I don’t know too many details yet but I’m very sorry for all the great and talented people that worked on the mag; I’ll holler at all you guys when I’m back in New York.
Anyway, the media time was cool. Very relaxed atmosphere, and despite this grump’s uninformed blasting of virtually all things high-school basketball in the Herald, I’m betting he didn’t talk to any of the kids. As always, I found every player I spoke to pleasant and good for quotes…what was I asking them about? Primarily one of the wildest SLAM cover stories ever, but you’re going to have to wait a five weeks to see that. The kid I was happiest to meet was Xavier Henry, our esteemed diarist. Ryan has raved about him all year but I had never met him. My mag work was pretty focused on the aforementioned cover story; web-wise I was all set to write the breaking news of Lance Stephenson’s college announcement, but as you might have read here yesterday, said announcement never came. Lance and his pops are saying they want to take their time, which is what they’ve told SLAM as well, though I have to believe the Coach Cal-to-Kentucky move is a big factor. Coach Cal’s defection could have all sorts of domino effects, recruiting wise, including our man Xavier maybe reconsidering Kansas, which would make Lance and Kansas reconsider each other. In any event, the most newsworthy event that might have come out of media day didn’t happen. Instead it was just a nice chance to meet most of the best high school players in the country and listen to all sorts of speculation about the Calipari business. As Ryan pointed out to me, Andy Katz’ take on Cal is probably as good as anyone’s. My only gripe is the confusion his recruits are facing. As long as they can get released from Memphis and go where they please, it’s all good.
That’s enough of that. It’s now about 7 pm and the girls All-Americans are playing up their game. The East currently leads, 48-45, with DeNesha Stallworth having 11 points.
I’ll be back with a girls’ final and then I’ll get cranking on the boys game shortly after the 8 pm tip. Thanks for stopping by…
At the 12-minute timeout of the girls game they did a video presentation on Kelsey Bone, the McDonald’s Player of the Year. She’s a legit center out of the Houston area with nice back-to-the-basket moves and is by far the best uncommitted girls player in the country. She was scheduled to announce her college choice tonight, during the game. Well, they just made it public—Kelsey Bone will be attending South Carolina. I like it; always nice when a girl picks somewhere other than UConn or Tennessee.
Alonzo Mourning, a big part of this game and this community, is in the building. Looking dignified as always. West girls now up 67-63 with 1:03 left, and even if you have cable you probably aren’t watching this one—it’s on ESPNU and I’m not sure I know a single person that gets that channel.
With West leading 69-66 and seconds left, East’s Kelly Fairs is fouled shooting a three! She makes first two FTs, but misses third. West gets rebound, and it’s a wrap. West wins, 69-68. Co-MVPs: from West, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (in SLAM 128!), and from East, Skylar Diggins (in SLAM 126; even when it comes to High School girls’ hoops, we can pick ‘em!). TRP had 10 points and 10 rebounds while Diggins was game leading scorer with 18 points.
30 minutes to boys tip-off…
BTW, I’m in third row behind baseline. Very close, which is great, but somewhat blocked by basket stanchion. Missing parts of some nice pay-up line dunks. You guys probably know this, but game is at BankUnited Center on campus of University of Miami as opposed to the Heat’s American Airlines Arena downtown. Really nice facility, tasteful U green and orange. But only holds 8000 and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get filled tonight. I’m mostly going to blame Miami sports fans, who probably don’t know how to support a game like this cause there’s no bandwagon to be riding. Any chance eboy is here? I gotta email him and see. Might be the first SLAM ed to meet that cat in person.
Serious band from Miami Norland HS in the building. They’re accompanying the team intros, led off by U of Florida signeee Boynton. Announcer is still saying players such as DeMarcus Cousins are attending “Memphis.” Shouldn’t all Memphis commits be announced as “undecided”?
There’s a guy in the stands who looks like a 350-pound Joe Dumars, which is funny because, with all due respect, sometimes Joe looks like he’s heading in that direction. Five minutes to tip…