Buford Excels At ABCD

Recent summer camps have proven that the string of elite basketball talent in Ohio will be continuing for years to come. One reason is the emergence of Toledo Libbey junior William Buford. Some say he is the top prospect in Ohio for his class, and at ABCD camp, he didn't do much to prove that thought wrong.

There was a pause in the action on the two floors playing games simultaneously with William Buford and his Hawks' team.

As the whole gym was quiet for just a moment, Buford intercepted a pass and drove the length of the court. He sliced through the lane and exploded past the lone remaining defender attempting to stop him from scoring two points, and threw down a wicked one-handed windmill slam that drew a big reaction from the crowd and caused college coaches to turn their heads and look at one another in amazement.

But square behind the basket of the coaches' section on the opposite side of the floor was Ohio State basketball assistant coach John Groce with the same emotionless look on his face.

He had seen it all before from the 6-5 junior wing from Toledo Libbey.

Buford finished the game, and more importantly, the ABCD Camp last week in Teaneck, NJ as one of the top juniors in the nation. In fact, in the latest summer rankings for the class of 2008, Dave Telep and the ScoutHoops.com staff bumped the Ohio schoolboy to No. 15 overall.

He finished the camp averaging over 15 points a game – second in the class in the entire camp. He also shot 57 percent and the camp rating system, based on a culmination of statistics, had him as one of the top five players in his class in attendance based on performance.

"I was pretty nervous at first," Buford said last Friday, "but I've gotten comfortable and now I'm having fun with my teammates. It's fun."

Fun isn't the word for the display Buford put on at times.

He was scoring on the break, on the drive and even from the outside. He showed why he's quickly becoming one of the best scoring wings in the country.

Telep told Bucknuts.com editor Steve Helwagen in a July 3 article that Buford is going to be an important target for Ohio State.

"With every jump shot Daequan Cook makes for Ohio State, the recruitment of Buford becomes even more important," he said.

Chris Johnson of HoopscoopOnline.com has Buford as the No. 1 player in Ohio in the class of 2008, while Telep has him No. 2 behind Delvon Roe.

Buford, who was teammates at times with North College Hill's O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker on the D-1 Greyhounds in AAU, averaged 22.4 points and 11 rebounds a game for Libbey.

Customarily, Buford plays down on the 16-under team. He did, however, enjoy the fact he was on the roster with Mayo and Walker at ABCD.

"I don't really get in with them since we play in different quarters, but it was pretty good for my first time," he explained. "It's good to be here with them."

For several months, Buford has been a target of Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Louisville and many others. He's already taken trips to Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State for games and just visited Ohio State again in late June for an unofficial visit.

At ABCD Camp, Buford reportedly listed Ohio State and Michigan State among four schools to other reporters, although he wasn't always in the mood to talk recruiting.

"I'm trying to stay pretty open," he said. "I like a few schools a lot but I'm keeping my options open."

Those many other schools, the same coaches that witnessed some of Buford's electrifying dunks and dazzling plays last week, would love to get involved.

He showed he belonged among the nation's elite last week.

"It was great playing against the best players in the country," Buford said. "I'm just trying to see what my game is like."

If ABCD is any indication, his game is just fine.

Ask all those stunned onlookers.

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