In addition to those coaches mentioned yesterday, head coaches Billy Donovan, Kelvin Sampson, Louis Orr and Mike Anderson watched games on Ed Jucker Court, but the strangest site was seeing Eric Martin wearing a West Virginia shirt. Despite being a Mountaineer, Martin made it clear that Cincinnati will always be his school, and he vowed to return to his alma mater as a coach in the future.
The morning started with a very closely contested quarterfinal game between the New England Playaz and the Indiana Elite featuring 7 footer, Tyler Zeller. The primary object of Bearcat Insider's attention was the performance of Playaz's guard, Terrell Holloway, since word has surfaced that the Bearcats have interest in the Long Island product. The Playaz lost a heartbreaker even though Holloway managed to get the ball to the basketball in the final seconds to take a shot, but even a tip attempt by a teammate eluded the goal, and the Playaz were eliminated.
After the game, Bearcat Insider spoke with New England Playaz's AAU coach, Jay Murphy, about his star guard. (The 6' 11" Murphy played four seasons in the NBA.) "First of all, Terrell's talent level is really high. He shoots the ball well, really passes it well, and pushes the ball for us. He's a high major talent kid. I think a lot of schools are looking at him right now, including Cincinnati. Terrell is really improving as he goes along this spring." Coach Murphy also identified what needs work in Terrell's game. "He needs more consistency and needs to play at a high level all the time. But really, all these players out here need to work on that. He's come a long way on the defensive end since the spring, and he's really working on it now. The sky's the limit for him." In the loss to Indiana Elite, Holloway did a fine job driving to the hoop but showed some reluctance to shoot from the outside, but Coach Murphy says that's atypical of Terrell. "He can do both, but I like seeing him get to the basket to create for other people. But he can shoot the ball too." Holloway said he has offers from Houston and South Florida but was very interested in hearing more from the Bearcats.
Another player with interest in the Bearcats is Jared Swopshire, who plays for the Florida Rams. The Rams easily beat Yancy Gates and his Ohio Basketball Club teammates in their quarterfinal game but were ousted themselves in the semi-finals by California's Pump-N-Run Elite. Swopshire is listed at 6' 7", but when standing next to Gates in their quarterfinal game, Jared looked only slightly shorter. When asked about it later, Swopshire said he really stands 6' 8". Travis Jones, one of the fine coaches for the Rams and the head coach at Winter Springs High School in Florida, spoke about his forward. "He's played really well this weekend, but he hasn't always been this consistent. If he can continue to play like this, more and more people will be interested in him."
In addition to Cincinnati's interest, Coach Jones identified some other schools recruiting Swopshire. "I know Marquette is really interested and Michigan and Michigan State. Kansas State is interested too. There are a lot of Midwestern schools. He's from St. Louis originally." Coach Jones gave his prediction for Jared's college career. "I think he'll be a small forward. He can get out and run and shoot it well. He can put it on the floor and flash to the basket. I don't see him as a back-to-the-basket player in college although we have to use him there a little bit." The Rams were pleased with their semi-final showing since they were missing two of their top players; Dagoberto Pena and recent Florida commit, Ray Shipman.
If Bearcat basketball fans have a wish list, Chris Singleton should be at or near the top. The 6' 9" athlete can do it all for the Atlanta Celtics, who beat the Indiana Elite on a last second three pointer to advance to the finals against Pump-N-Run. If Singleton hadn't gotten into foul trouble while guarding Elite's 7 foot Tyler Zeller, I don't think the game would have been close. I saw Singleton doing it all. He hit threes, made clutch foul shots, rebounded and defended. Another player on the Celtics that said he is getting interest from the Bearcats is 6' 6" Delwan Graham. The three star small forward from Dunwoody High School plays much bigger and is extremely active on both ends of the floor.
A point guard that impressed me was 5' 9" Lewis Jackson from Eisenhower High School in Decatur, Illinois. The three star Jackson plays for the Indiana Elite, and with offers from several Big Ten schools, it may be impossible to pry this quick playmaker away from the Big Ten.
In the next few weeks, Bearcat Insider will be contacting a number of those mentioned in these reports for further interviews.