Lavender to play in prestigous all-star game

OU signee Andrew Lavender talks about making the McDonald's All-American High School team, Lebron James and his future at Oklahoma

Oklahoma's prized point guard recruit Andrew Lavender of Columbus (Brookhaven HS), Ohio received the highest honor for a high school basketball player today when he was named to the McDonald's All-American High School team today. The honor will give the five-foot-seven Lavender a chance to play with the nations' elite. The game will be played in Cleveland, Ohio on March 26 and will be nationally televised live on ESPN. Lavender becomes the second player in the Kelvin Sampson era to play in the presigous game. Ryan Humphrey was the first McDonald's All-American to sign with the Sooners under Kelvin Sampson.

Brookhaven is once again ranked No. 1 in Division-1 in Ohio and won an opening round playoff game by 50 points tonight. LeBron James' high school team (St. Vincent) is ranked number one in Division-2 in Ohio. Following the game, I had a chance to catch up with Lavender and get his thoughts on his latest honor, playing against Lebron James and his future at Oklahoma.

James Hale: How did you do and Brandon (Foust) do in your playoff game tonight?

Andrew Lavender: We are seeded number one in the tournament, so in our first two games we play teams that have won about ten games between them. They don't provide much competition and we won by 50-something points tonight. Brandon played great on both ends of the court and finished with about 10 points and 10 rebounds. I was the games leading scorer with 18 and I also had 10 assists.

JH: You were named to the McDonald's All-American game today, so congratulations and what do you think of the honor?

AL: I have been watching that game for a long time, really ever since Kobe (Bryant) was first noticed in the game. asked Coach (Bruce) Howard (Drew's high school coach) at that time what it would take to play in that game because I wanted to play in the game so bad. He told me to just work hard and concentrate on my game and my schoolwork and that I had the talent to play in the game. I followed his instructions and that has certainly paid off for me.

JH: Are you surprised that were named to the team?

AL: I have always done petty well against the top competition in the country. We played many of the top teams and the top players in the country and we always have one of the top teams. I have always matched up pretty well. We have won several championships on our AAU team and our high school team has won state championships as well. When you are a central player on those kinds of teams you will earn some postseason honors.

JH: You are the only player who signed with OU that is playing in the game. How does that make you feel?

AL: I am proud to represent my high school and OU in the game, but there are a number of great players who are not playing in the game. Brandon and Lawrence (McKenzie) are both good enough to play in the game. In my mind, OU should have three players that have signed playing in the game.

JH: Brookhaven played LeBron James and his St. Vincent Mary's team and it was a fantastic game won by St. Vincent by one point. Tell us about that game and what did you think of James?

AL: It was a great game. Many people say it was the greatest high school game that they have ever seen. Both teams played up to their potential and the fans certainly got what they paid for. James is a great player, the very best in the country. He is very special and it is unreal how good he really is. We played great against him and I thought that Brandon did a great job defensively on him. I don't remember how many points he scored, 29 points or something. I missed two free throws at the end of the game that hurt us, but he didn't go off on us or anything. I played pretty well. I think I would have won the game for us. I still can't believe I missed those free throws. I am shooting 86 percent from the free throw line and since that game I haven't missed two free throws back-to-back.

JH: Have you been keeping up with Oklahoma?

AL: Yes I have, and they are playing great. I watched that Missouri game the other night and it is tough to win in Missouri. Nobody has beaten Missouri at home this year and Oklahoma didn't play well. They weren't shooting the ball well and that really hurt them. They need to regroup and come back and play very hard against Texas A&M to get back on the winning track. I also watched hem against Kansas and they played great. OU always plays great defense, but sometimes they don't shoot the ball well. If OU is shooting the ball pretty well I don't think anybody can beat them. I think OU is going to put everything together and win a national championship this year.

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