Road Show: Julian Wright Shines

Kansas head coach Bill Self looks on as future Jayhawk Julian Wright and his Homewood-Flossmoor team take on Oak Hill at the Marshall County Hoopfest.<br>

After seeing plenty of good hoops at the Marshall County Hoop Fest on Friday evening, the road show stayed in town for another night to check out Saturday’s offerings. Mighty Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill was still in town and they were slated to take on future Kansas Jayhawk Julian Wright and his Homewood (IL) Flossmoor teammates.

Playing in the event finale, Homewood-Flossmoor shocked Oak Hill 68-67 behind Wright’s 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in what is going to go down as one of the bigger upsets in the event’s history.

With Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend looking on the 6-8 Wright got off to a slow start as he failed to score during the first quarter and H-F found themselves trailing by eight. In the second quarter Wright asserted himself more knocking home a three of a curl, a pull-up jumper from 16 feet and converting on a nifty finish around the hoop. Despite Wright’s emergence, H-F went into the half trailing 40-31.

“Talent wise we probably couldn’t match up, and I’m not trying to down what they did but we stuck to playing team ball,” said Wright. “We tried not to play out of character and that is what we did even when we got down.”

During the third quarter Wright continued to pick his spots as he was satisfied to keep his teammates involved while they hung around. However, once H-F fell behind by 10 with time wasting away in the fourth quarter Wright began to take over.

First he turned up the pressure a notch on the defensive end while playing a decoy role on the offensive end as H-F clawed back into the game. Then at approximately the 4:02 mark Wright took over and got things rolling when he made the play of the game. Catching the ball on the right wing, Wright used a nasty crossover to leave a defender in his wake as he drove the baseline and then elevated for a gliding one handed jam that he finished on the other side of the rim to cut the lead to one.

After that, Wright hit a hanging 17 foot jumper off of the left elbow and finished things up by stepping up and calmly draining two free throws with only 7.3 seconds to go.

“I try to leave it out on the court and we got a little anxious and exhausted and kind of let the atmosphere get to us,” said Wright who refused to take credit for the victory. “I think I played ok, but this is an unbelievable game for us. Stats don’t matter, I just wanted to get the win and we got it.

 

Other Notes

To understand H-F’s upset over Oak Hill, it is important to have a full understanding of just how much talent the Steve Smith’s Warriors roll out on a nicely basis. 6-9 combo forward Kevin Durant is arguably one of the top three players in the class of 2006 and is on his way to being a lottery pick straight out of high school.

5-11 PG Tywon Lawson is one of the top three PG’s in the class of 2006, 6-3 WG Eric Devendorf will take his game to Syracuse next year and is a lock to make the McDonald’s All-American game in 2005 and 6-3 wing Jamont Gordon is generally regarded as one of the top 50 players in the class of 2005.

Heck, big man Bamba Fall is headed to SMU and at one time David Palmer was on his way to Illinois and neither is relied upon for any kind of significant contribution.

Bill Self wasn’t the only high profile coach in the building as Bob Huggins and Roy Williams both stopped by the check out the action. Williams had to be excited by the play of his prize recruit, 6-9 BF Tyler Hansbrough. The Poplar Bluff (MO) High product put on a dazzling offensive display as he went for a hard fought 35 points and 11 rebounds against a very talented Jacksonville (FL) Arlington Country Day squad.

Houston (TX) Westbury Christian’s 6-8 BF/C Jeremy Barr who wears size 22 shoes and weighs in the neighborhood of 250 muscle-bound pounds probably doesn’t run into may situations where he is facing a guy bigger and stronger than him but it happened on Saturday. Matching up with Barr was future Florida Gator Jimmie Sutton a 6-10 and 265 pound beast from Coconut Creek (FL) North Broward Prep.

If you ever find yourself stuck in Paducah (KY), the road show recommends the El Chico Mexican Café for a good meal. Reasonable prices, big portions and all the free queso dip and ice cream that you desire.

Schools in the gym- Kansas, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Murray State, Southern Illinois, and Northern Illinois.

  • Total games seen- 19
  • Total teams seen- 28
  • Total miles traveled- 1581.7

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