On June 21, 2005, diehard UC Bearcat basketball fans got their first glimpse
of what is in store for the future, as they got a chance to see 3 prized
recruits take the court for the first time, live in person.
Devan Downey, Abdul Herrera, and DeAndre Coleman took the court with soon to be teammates, James White and Jihad Muhammad for the SLATS team in the 20th annual Deveroes Summer League, entitled "reloaded".
The league, which first started back in 1986, at Purcell Marian High School, and has since relocated to several different gyms across the city, hit a low point last year.
The league lost its NCAA certification last year, so college players were unable to participate. Long considered a highlight of the summer to college basketball fans in the area yearning to see the new players for their favorite college team, a void was created last year during the off season.
So, with renewed excitement and optimism, the Deveroes Summer League is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year at Woodward High School, with college players from UC, Xavier, Dayton, Miami, Wright State, as well as former college stars from the area.
About 200 people packed the tiny gym to check out some fast paced, open court style of basketball, to see players up close and personal in a setting they rarely get a chance to observe.
While many UC fans were there to see the new recruits that were in action, it was the returning players that looked the most comfortable in this kind of atmosphere.
James White was the best player on the court tonight, scoring 18 points, including hitting a few threes. He wowed the crowd with his usual freakish athleticism on two rim rattling dunks. On the play of the night, during a fast break, Muhammad tossed the ball up on the backboard at the perfect angle for White to swoop up behind him, and throw it down with authority. Another highlight was on a two on one play; White faked a trailer pass and elevated like you wouldn't believe over a defending Xavier player and slammed it very hard. Needless to say, the crowd was impressed with James's theatrics tonight.
Jihad also had a nice game. Known for being out of control at times during his junior season, he did a solid job tonight. Although he made a few questionable decisions, he provided a lot of energy, and sparked the SLATS with 11 points, including draining a couple of threes, making some crisp passes, and getting some steals with his quickness and hard work.
As far as the recruits, here are some quick observations upon first glance:
-Devan Downey, who is no more than 5-8, looked very good, like he belonged on the court with those guys. He scored 8 points, and is super quick. He harassed defenders all night, and was able to create some turnovers because of it. He did not look out of place in his first game in Cincinnati, and should be able to make a solid contribution at the point during his freshman year. He has star written all over him.
DeAndre Coleman, who stands about 6-5 to 6-6 and played small forward, played a solid game. Got off to a slow start with his jump shot, and looked a little nervous, being out there with some good competition. As the game settled in, he calmed down, and got into a nice little rhythm towards the end. He seems to be able to do a little bit of everything. He ran the court well, threw good outlet passes to get the break going, and showed some toughness, by getting inside and rebounding. He can also handle the ball well, and hit a couple of threes late in the game. Should develop into a solid contributor his next few years with the 'Cats.
Abdul Herrera, the 6-10 Center from Florida, struggled big time tonight. He just didn't seem comfortable, understandable in his first game, facing this kind of competition. He will have to get a lot better, and he knows it. (Looked very frustrated out there tonight.) His jumpshot looked ugly; he didn't handle passes very well, didn't rebound like he needs to, and fouled a lot. However, with all of that said, he has a very good body for a Center, and has the size that the Bearcats have been sorely lacking the last few years. Should be very good with time, but it will take a lot of hard work. Has the talent, just has to develop the skills.
With the SLATS team getting off to a slow start tonight, and never being able to recover, they lost to the Xavier team, Mike Albert Leasing, 77-64. The SLATS team returns to action Saturday at 1:00.
Notes: Armein Kirkland, Jamaal Lucas, Eric Hicks, and Damon Flint could be seen at various times on the SLATS bench, observing the action.
BEARCAT INSIDER NOTE***
Adam Blecher is a lifelong Bearcat... His parents got together at UC and raised their son right "The Bearcat Way" While Adam is his real name, those who visit message boards around the net know him better as Bearcatfan4life. Bearcat Insider is a fan first site... We always are looking for stories that have the fans of UC athletics in mind. We want to thank Adam for taking the time and hitting the keyboard for this story. If you have a story and want to share it, please e-mail Bearcat Insider Publisher Dave Berk. He may just take you up on it. Click here to reach Dave's E-mail