Hoop Fest: Maurice Joseph gets lots of attention

<b>LOUISVILLE, KY</b> Canadian guard Maurice Joseph, who participated in the ABCD Camp last week, drew lots of attention from major college coaches at the Kentucky Hoop Festival Sunday night.

Eddie Ford's Kentucky Hoop Festival, played annually at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, is tradionally a mid to low-major extravaganza.

If you've ever attended the Hoop Fest, you've probably seen lots of coaches walking around the gym wearing shirts that read Western Kentucky, Bradley, Tulane and Colorado State, to name a few. So you get the picture.

But there's always a few big-time talents in attendance that draw attention from the big-time college programs. On Sunday, 6-foot-5 Maurice Joseph and 6-foot-3 Lewis Clinch were the headliners.

In the evening, Clinch, from Crisp County, Georgia, drew assistants from Auburn, Indiana, Purdue and Georgia Tech. Alabama head coach Mark Godfried also observed from courtside.

An athletic guard, Clinch listed Georgia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Miami, Alabama, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest and claimed scholarship offers from the Bulldogs, Yellowjackets, Tigers, Hurricanes and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Spurned by the three major shoe camps, Clinch said he was disappointed when an invite wasn't forthcoming but is using it as motivation on the court.

"I felt like I deserved an invite and could play at those camps," Clinch said. "I played real well at the NBA players association camp and I'm just using the situation as motivation."

Clinch says he doesn't have any current favorites and he's looking for a comfortable fit in college. "I'm very open," Clinch said. "I'm looking for the right fit with a coach that I feel relax around."

But it was Canadian guard Maurice Joseph who drew the biggest crowd of the night.

Joseph, who participated at the Reebok ABCD Camp last week, drew assistants from Boston College, N.C. State, Michigan State, Wake Forest, UNLV, Ohio State and Stanford. Virginia's Pete Gillen was courtside for both of Joseph's games. Louisville assistant Vince Taylor caught Joseph's afternoon contest.

An athletic slasher, Joseph has a quick first step on the baseline, scores well going to the basket and is a good on-ball defender.

6'6" Jeff Cumberland from Brookhaven High School in Columbus, Ohio also deserves mention.

At 17, Cumberland will be a junior next fall and already sports a strong frame and tremendous athleticism.

He plays center for his high school team but has solid perimeter skills and could develop into a very nice collegiate wing. He's got excellent hops, a nice stroke from the outside, can put it on the floor and get to the hoop and attacks the offensive glass. He's also an active defender who challenges shots in the lane.

According to Cumberland's AAU coach, Willie Jordan, Cumberland is "wide open," in his recruitment.

News and Notes

  • Former U of L player Todd Howard, an assistant at IUPUI, attended. Howard spent time tracking 6'8" Carl Bachaum from Indianapolis.
  • Head Coaches in attendance: Gottfried, Alabama, Gillen, Virginia, Travis Ford, Eastern Kentucky, Mick Cronin, Murray State, Kyle Macy, Morehead State, Dana Altman, Creighton.

    Derek Smith Shootout

    Prior to our arrival at the Kentucky Hoop Fest, we first made a quick stop to the Derek Smith Shootout at the MidAmerica Sports Center.

    Briefly, Louisville Central pulled off a nice win over defending Seventh Region champion Trinity. Ballard also handled rival Eastern.

    File this one away in your memory banks. Jamal Crook. If the name sounds familiar that's because he's the nephew of former University of Louisville standout Herbert Crook.

    Crook, who will be a freshman at Ballard in the fall, is a point guard that appears to have a bright future ahead of him.


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