Charlie Weber Notes

Observations and opinions from the Charlie Weber AAU tournament on the campus of West Virginia University.

Tourney to return: Charlie Weber, director of his namesake tournament, said the tourney will return to Morgantown next year.

"Teams have told me they have never been treated so well," Weber said. "It's been very well-run, very smooth. I haven't seen any problems."

West Virginia University can only benefit from the increased exposure, and the city of Morgantown stands to gross an estimated $1.5 million. The teams are also benefiting from the availability of courts.

Coaches have also been pleased with not having to drive to many separate venues the watch games. WVU's Student Rec Center, which has seven courts, has been the main place to play. The championships were held at the WVU Coliseum.

"The facilities are great," Weber said. "The people in the community have been tremendous and the volunteer and restaurant support has been great, too. I couldn't ask for anything better."

Numbers game: One-hundred and twenty-eight teams were listed as playing in the Charlie Weber Invitational. But not all 128 were here on the first day, and some did not show at all. Others did not bring every player, but that didn't hurt the tourney. Organizers simply slid another team into their slot. It did, however, hinder WVU's recruiting effort as many of their most prized prospects missed action or did not attend.

Also, 174 schools were listed as having coaches or scouts attend the tournament. That number wasn't accurate. Cincinnati was not listed, though head coach Bob Huggins made himself highly visible at the No. 3 court in the Rec Center on Monday. The bet here is that more than 200 schools, from defending national champion Maryland and fellow powers Connecticut and Florida to Fairmont State and Salem International, made the trip.

Among the most recognizable names: Maryland, UConn, Florida, WVU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia Tech, College of Charleston, Penn State, UMass, Princeton, Virginia, Wake Forest, Providence, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, N.C. State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Texas, Cincinnati, Xavier and Rhode Island.

Head coaches seen: Billy Donovan, Florida; Bob Huggins, Cincinnati; John Beilein, WVU; Herb Sendak, N.C. State; Steve Lappas, UMass, among others.

O-fer: The West Virginia MoHawks finished 0-3, while the West Virginia Rimrockers, playing with WVU head women's basketball coach Mike Carey's son, Chris, went 1-2.

The bright spot? The Patriots. The Parkersburg-based team, consisting of mainly Parkersburg South players, finished 2-1. It went through the tourney largely unnoticed, however, because of its plain blue uniforms with white numbers. No names, no fluff, and no matching shorts.

Pure fans had to enjoy it when the West Virginia-based squad, sporting just six players in its opening contest, ripped New York Gold, which had home and road uniforms complete with shorts and shoes.

Said one player from the Virginia Cobras -- which beat the Patriots to advance -- prior to the game: "Who are they?"

Athletes from Ohio and Parkersburg also joined the squad, which featured Matt Shamblin, PSHS quarterback and Kennedy Award favorite, as its main scorer.

The kid can shoot, and he plays the game intelligently and hustles. Can't ask any more from any player.

One better: Says here the fan favorite team in the tournament was Bloomington (Ind.) Red. The squad, from the same town as the Hoosiers, wore red uniforms trimmed in white. They looked like IU and resembled, physically, the movie squad. Big, white, muscular farm boys. The parents were similar. All the fathers were big, big hands, broad chests, etc., giving sons their size.

Bloomington ran a motion offense and smothering man-to-man defense. In an era of inner-city hoops, where dunks and poor fundamentals replace basic jump-shooting, boxing out and hustling defense, the Red was refreshing.

Passing and scoring were selfless. They shot, minimum, 40 percent from behind the arc. No dunks. Few turnovers. The assist-to-turnover ratio, if kept, was likely three to one. All players could handle the ball. And they won.

It was a pleasure to watch, and this writer found himself rooting for them, even in a 48-47 loss to Team Richmond, which had twice as much talent but didn't play together half as well.

Maybe these AAU tourneys are meathouses, where the individual is supposed to showcase himself. But the burning image here is of the boys in Red screening and back-door cutting their way to the championship game of their pool.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories