The Jordan Capital Classic is quickly becoming an All-Star exhibition on par with the storied McDonald’s All American game. Many of the nations best players were on display, including this year’s potential top pick in the NBA draft, Dwight Howard. Even with all of that talent on display, the most excitement may have been generated when a veritable who’s who of sports celebrities walked into the arena prior to the opening tip. On hand were LeBron James, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Derek Anderson, Jarret Jack, and the man himself…Michael Jordan. To top it all off, rapper Kanye' West, whose single “It All Falls Down” is on top of the charts currently, drew a whole swoon of fans when he made his way down the aisle.
The task of keeping the crowd’s attention after they got worked up over the famous faces amongst them was a tough task to be sure, but the young athletes were up to the challenge for the first half of the contest. The Black Team, coached by Detroit Renaissance head coach Mark White started D.J. White, Isaiah Swann, Jordan Farmar, Dwight Howard, and Malik Hairston. The White team countered with a line-up of Corey Brewer, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, Al Jefferson, and Jason Rich. The Black team sprinted out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back. They took a 52-40 lead into the half before holding off a spirited 2nd half comeback to claim the 107-96 victory. Even though the action got a little monotonous toward the middle of the contest, the game still had its crowd-pleasing moments.
Howard led the way on the night with his above the rim acrobatics. He threw down a few ferocious slams and even led the break on one occasion before dishing it to Hairston for an easy stuff. “The Choir Boy” as he’s affectionately known to those close to him truly was a man amongst boys on the evening, netting 18 points on 6/12 shooting, grabbing a game high 15 rebounds, blocking 6 shots, and collecting 3 assists. “Dwight Howard is a special special young man…not just athletically, but in the type of kid that he is,” said Coach White after the game. “It’s a bright spot in our society today and the game of basketball the way he carries himself and how he cares for and shares with his teammates. It was a pleasure working with him over the last couple of days. I think he’s going to be very successful because he has great gifts athletically and the kind of character he has will really shine through.”
On the Michigan front, Malik Hairston led his team with 23 points and was by far the most efficient player of the night. His efforts didn’t resonate quite as loudly as Howard’s, but they were nonetheless valuable. He converted 9/11 shots including 2/4 from three-point range, grabbed five boards and dished three assists. He indicated that he’d really cherish the memory of his last high school game with Joe Crawford and Coach White. “It’s going to be something that I remember for the rest of my life, just like the whole Renaissance run,” Hairston said. “It was just another great opportunity…another great experience.” While their time together on the court as coach and player is ending, Coach White indicated that it’s just the beginning of another chapter. “Our relationship will last a lot longer than just coaching, so I already got past that (their time together ending) when we won the state championship,” White said.
On the game the Black team shot 58% (40/69) from the field and 47.1% (8/17) from beyond the arc. Dorell Wright led the White team in scoring with a game high 24 points on 9/17 shooting. Al Jefferson was next in line on the losing squad after chucking up a game high 21 shots and converting only 8 on his way to 17 points. As a team the White squad shot 41.3% (38/92) from the field and 22.7% (5/22) from three-point range.
Check back shortly for much more on Malik Hairston. He gives GBW the latest on where things stand in his recruitment