Attacks on WTC and Pentagon strand coaches

Monday's terrorist attack caught everyone by surprise. In the aftermath of the destruction, surely the loss of lives property is a nightmare that will last a lifetime. All of America is in mourning. At the same time, basketball coaches from around the country had just begun making in-home visits when this tragic event occurred. It not only caught them off guard, but the closing of the nation's airports left many of them stranded with nowhere to go. Read on to see how one coach adjusted....

On Sept. 9, Arizona assistant coach Jay John was in Springfield, Ill. visiting Andre Iguodala. He took a flight from St. Louis to Los Angeles the next day and had an in-home scheduled with Hassan Adams the night of Sept. 11.

Obviously, no one will forget where they were on that fateful day, but John simply wanted to get back home to his family. The in-home was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 17.

"I couldn't get a flight out (Sept. 11) or the next day," John said. "So I rented a car and drove to Reno."

The Arizona coaching staff had also scheduled an unofficial visit for David Padgett, a 6-11 center from Reno (HS), Nev. Padgett is one of the nation's top players in the Class of 2003.

Padgett and his father Pete Padgett, who is also his coach at Reno High, were going to make the trip to Tucson Sept. 22. The Wildcats play UNLV on the football field that day, but it's also Hall of Fame Week and many former players will be inducted into the University of Arizona Hall of Fame that weekend.

The trip has been postponed. Instead, Padgett and his father will come to the UA during the basketball season.

Now back to the travel itinerary of John.

"I left my car in Phoenix, so I tried to catch a flight out of Reno to Phoenix," John said. "But I couldn't get there, so instead I went to Houston to see a couple of kids and I hope to get back to Tucson sometime soon."

John returned to Tucson Friday evening (Sept. 14), but while in Houston I'm pretty sure he went to see two of "Texas' Finest", one from the Class of '03 and another from the Class of '04.

Ndudi Ebi, a 6-9 PF/C from Houston (Westbury Christian), is a junior. He played on Josh Pastner's Houston Hoops AAU team and I saw play at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis.

Ebi is a thin, raw talent with a tremendous upside. He's quick and athletic, but he needs to put on some bulk to be more effective inside. He's not a great ball handler, but he can step out hit the perimeter shot. At the college level he can be both an inside and outside threat.

Jason Horton, a sophomore and the younger brother of Daniel, plays the point along with his brother at Cedar Hills (HS) just outside of Houston. Jason, at 6-1, is not quite as tall as his brother yet but he just might be a better athlete. He handles the ball like a true point, he can take it into traffic and get to the rim.

In two years, Jason might be better than his brother. That's saying a lot.

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