The chatter among coaches Saturday is that this tournament is too spread out. It's nice because of the nearly 100 17-under teams participating this weekend. However, it reminds a lot of coaches of tournaments in Las Vegas where you drive for 20 minutes at a time to get to your destination.
Allow me to backtrack a bit.
8:00 AM - After registering with the front desk for my media information, I head over to the Memorial Hall (Akron practice gym) hoping to catch the D-1 Greyhounds and William Buford. I'm met with a flurry of coaches walking out of the gymnasium including Rick Barnes, Billy Donovan and Billy Gillespie. Turns out, D-1 won by a forfeit as the other team didn't show up.
8:15 - I find a pretty good game between the World Wide Renegades Black and the New York Elite. Watching the action were an Iowa assistant, USC head coach Tim Floyd and Ohio State assistant coach John Groce. Most impressive to me was 6-11 Teeng Akol, an athletic, rangy forward for New York.
9:40 - Thinking I was heading to Wadsworth High School to watch the King of the Court 16's (Pe'Shon Howard), I got there to find out I had looked at the wrong schedule code and they weren't playing. I did get to catch a glimpse of Stephan Van Treese and I found OSU assistant Dan Peters catching the action on another court.
11:05 - Here at Green High School. I'm watching King of the Court led by an ultra sensational Delvon Roe. WOW is all I can say about Delvon. he's the real deal. Anthony "Noopy" Crater has a few sweet dishes. Kenny Frease is working hard down low. I'll be hoping to catch the Indiana Elite while I'm here at Green. Emmanuel Negedu is supposed to be rolling with Indiana Elite.
(back in time) 9:15 am - I was walking at a frantic pace toward my car with my laptop in one hand and duffle bag and rosters in another when Michigan coach John Belein passed me saying, "boy, working on the run?" Noticing his Michigan windbreakers I joked with him, "you need to get used wearing those colors down in this state. It's dangerous." He laughed and acknowledged he was in enemy territory. He seemed like a real genuine, down-to-earth guy. I think he's charismatic and real enough to make a splash there at Michigan.
11:30 am - With the game getting out of hand and Roe and Crater seemingly taking it easy the rest of the way, I left the Green High School main gym and went over to the second gym where Indiana Elite was playing. Although Walter Offutt is back home in Indiana this week with Indiana all-star festivities, Negedu didn't disappoint. In the limited amount of time I saw him, he was relentless around the rim. Negedu was only about 6-6 in reality, but his physique and aggressive demeanor allowed him to get to every loose ball and put back every miss inside. In probably a half of action that I watched, he had around 8 points and eight rebounds. I can see why Ohio State likes this kid.
12:30 pm - Just got back from Green High School. Negedu was a treat to watch, but as I sit here at lunch getting ready to watch sensational DeShaun Thomas at 1:20, I'm listening to Negedu's quotes and it does not sound promising for Ohio State's chances. Saying Walter Offutt has talked to him about Ohio State, he noted, "in their class, they have all five positions already. So when they offered me, it's like I'm the second man in their class. I don't want to be that guy but I was like, 'I'm thinking about it.'"
1:45 pm - To borrow a line from a friend of mine, "DeShaun Thomas is the truth." First impressions of the 6-7 Ft. Wayne forward were good and then some. The lefty has been rebounding, blocking shots, hitting spinning runners and connecting from 3-point range. My only criticism of him thus far is that he's not using a lot of effort trying to defend on the perimeter. There's no question this kid will be one of the top five players in the 2010 class. OSU assistant Groce and Indiana assistant Ray McCallum are both here at Norton High School watching. Those are the two teams likely battling for Thomas.
2:45 pm - Although Thomas and Indiana Elite Ft. Wayne Flames dropped a heartbreaker to Ferrari, Indiana Elite coach Leroy Nard confirmed the status of Ohio State and Indiana in Thomas' early recruitment. "Those two are definitely after him," Nard said. "Florida and Purdue have been in contact with me trying to get involved."
3:00 pm - After getting back to James A. Rhodes (The Jar) Arena, I was joined by Bill "The Bank" Greene. The party has started.
4:30 pm - At 5:20 I'll be watching William Buford and the D-1 Greyhounds. At 6:40 I'm planning to catch King of the Court once more. Still hoping to catch the King of the Court 16's among others. I also want to see 2009 guard Kenny Boynton.
6:30 pm - William Buford was one of the most solid performers of the day by scoring 27 points and grabbing three boards in an easy D-1 Greyhounds victory. Buford impressed many spectators including Matta, Donovan and Bob Huggins - who was chummy with Matta for an hour.
7:00 pm - Bill "Bank" Greene found Terrelle Pryor playing on the court next to us. Afterwards, Pryor told us in an interview that he will visit Texas and Ohio State for sure this fall. Pryor also said he would likely wait until signing day before announcing a decision and that Jim Tressel was in his school this past Friday. Greene will have much more on Pryor's interview later this weekend.
7:30 pm - Greene starts talking with Donovan about an encounter 15 years ago in Canton. Donovan actually remembers Bill, or at least he acted like he did to be nice (ha ha Bill.) In any event, who knew Nevada wasn't the one with all the connections?
8:00 pm - Bill and Kyle chow down on some tasty chicken fingers in the media room. Next up is King of the Court over at the Akron rec center.
10:00 pm - It was an unbelievable game between Team Breakdown and Kings of the Court. While Delvon Roe certainly held up his end of the bargain despite a bleeding elbow and a lot of grief directed toward the officials by the Breakdown fans, it was 6-1 point guard Kenny Boynton that stole the show. Boynton showed why he is a top-10 player in the class of 2009 and why, as he said after the game, Louisville, Ohio State and Florida have recently offered. I'll have more on Boynton later but Roe still got the best of Kenny by draining two free throws with 0.9 seconds left - breaking a tie by getting fouled attempting to put back a rebound. Boynton ended up with over 20 points.
That's a wrap for Saturday's King James Classic blog. Stay tuned for stories on Negedu, Buford, Boynton, Thomas and more.