There are so many choices but unless human cloning comes down in price, you've got to pick and choose your spots wisely. Everyone has a different idea about where to go, but hitting 3 cities in 5 days in the South seemed like a good plan to me.
The purpose of the trip was to see as many kids as possible while periodically sneaking home to Wake Forest, N.C., to check on the newborn. Any new father will tell you that once the little fella arrives, you figure out a way to be more efficient with your time. For this analyst, blending my son's first holiday season with a buffet of high school action wasn't so tough … if you planned accordingly. Here's a look at how I spent my last few days of 2005.
Dec. 26, Myrtle Beach
Christmas day with my newborn son was amazing. The little guy changed my life and my approach. Every year I keep an aggressive post-Christmas schedule because of the quality of events and players I can see in a week. I live in Wake Forest, N.C. which is about 3 ½ hours away from Myrtle Beach, my first destination and the site of the prestigious Beach Ball Classic.
Michael Clayton Telep woke me up at 6:30 a.m., I got to feed "the man", kiss the wife goodbye, drop some clothes off at the dry cleaners (which was closed, go figure!) and it was off to the Beach Ball where the highlight of the day was a 27-point effort by future Buckeye Daequan Cook. Toss in a breakout performance by sophomore forward Delvon Roe out of St. Edwards and the drive was worth it.
Dec. 27, Myrtle Beach
The second day of the Beach Ball lacked pizzazz. For most of the teams it was their first game of the event and that meant "cupcake city." One game finished up 106-52. Yikes.
Juniors ruled the day as Mater Dei's Taylor King dropped 35 points with Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Jay Wright making the trip to see King. The private air strip in Myrtle got a workout with those fellas touching down that evening. Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski was there as well. Congrats to "Wojo" who got engaged four days ago!
Getting back to basketball for a minute. The other outstanding effort of the evening belonged to future Hoya Austin Freeman. The junior is a big strong wing talented enough to be on any roster in America; he had 28 points. Left the gym by 10:45 and, after filing a story, was able to get in bed by 12:30 for a brief rest.
Dec. 28, Raleigh, N.C.
The alarm (and various phone calls I set up to insure my awakening) rang at 5:45 a.m. The first game I needed to be front and center for in Raleigh didn't tip until 12:40 but by leaving early, I figured I could run home, change into some fresh gear and most importantly, spend an hour with Michael. Mission accomplished. With no traffic on the road, I got home early.
Nothing says disappointment like a post-Christmas event billing Spencer Hawes as the main attraction then having him get injured and be unable to showcase his talents at the GSK Invitational. A sub-par slate of games was highlighted by Kinston (N.C.) High knocking off a big frontline of Montverde defenders.
The hot name out of the Kinston camp is sophomore wing Donovan Ingram who scored 18. The Kinston-Christ The King tussle should be a win for the Big Apple boys. Meanwhile, over at an event in Chi-Town, a buddy dropped word of another Jon Scheyer 52-point performance! December has been Scheyer's personal month of McDonald's resume performances.
Dec. 29, Raleigh, N.C.
A light schedule at the GSK Invitational meant a little extra sleep. A morning radio show kicked off the day at 8:30, got in a few more "feeds" with the newborn and it was off to the games for a 2:20 p.m. tip off.
Another uneventful slate of games did produce one big time outing as Chris Wright (pictured) and St. John's took down Montverde Academy. Kevin Sutton's guys probably never envisioned losing two games here but it happened.
The title game belonged to Christ The King as they never seriously worried about the Kinston upset special. Future Wolfpacker Larry Davis was the tourney MVP.
Dec. 30, Charlotte, N.C.
Ah, another 5:45 a.m. wake up call and I was ready for the day! The 3 ½ hour ride has to be early to catch the 10 a.m. tip at the Dell Curry Shootout. Since retiring from the NBA, Curry is big time in the local community and his event is well attended, partly because of the manner in which he's revered in his hometown. The guy could be mayor if he wanted and he takes the time to chat up all the teams at his event.
Norcross and Our Savior survived to play in the championship game of the event. Norcross received a big time senior effort from Kentucky-bound guard Jodie Meeks (pictured) in the semis while Our Savior enlisted Tim Ambrose's athletic ability to match wits with Gerald Henderson and Wayne Ellington.
To cap off my post holiday adventure, I was asked to provide the color commentary for the televised Norcross-Blair Academy game. It was the first time I've pulled that duty since college. What a blast!
Dec. 31, Charlotte to Wake Forest
The original plan was to cover the Dell Curry Shootout until the very end. However, a 9 p.m. championship game tip off would mean watching the ball drop on the new year by myself in a hotel room. Option #2 was to wake up, drive home, check out the box scores online and sit with the family to ring in the new year. Excellent call!
Hope you and yours had a merry and blessed holiday season!