JamFest Wrapup

Closing up the notebook from last weekend's Triple S Harley Davidson JamFest in Morgantown.

Who says it's just AAU basketball? Just because there isn't a state championship on the line doesn't mean that the players, coaches, and parents aren't just as competitive as they are during the high school season.

Case in point: prior to Sunday's game between Team ADIDAS and the Renegades, tempers boiled before the clock was even set for the first half. As the teams finished their warmups, removed their shooting shirts, and got ready to play, it became apparent that everyone was wearing black jerseys. For whatever reason, uniforms tend to be a lightning rod for emotions not just in AAU basketball, but in all sports.

What happened next included parents from one side yelling at parents from another, coaches yelling at event organizers, and players standing around in utter confusion while watching the adults act like children. Meanwhile, the scorekeeper for the Renegades was dilligently retrieving an equipment bag from behind the bench and began passing out white jerseys to Renegade players.

In the end, it all worked out for the men in white, as they defeated Team ADIDAS by a comfortable margin.

* * *

One of the best things about the JamFest is seeing all the different college coaches sitting amongst the throngs of people at the various venues around Morgantown where the event takes place.

While at the Coliseum on Sunday, BlueGoldNews.com publisher Kevin Kinder and I struck up a conversation with Drexel associate head coach Geoff Arnold. Though the Dragons haven't visited Morgantown anytime recently, Arnold has certainly been in the Coliseum a time or two.

As a player for old Atlantic 10 foe St. Joseph's in the mid-1980's, Arnold had the task of guarding former Mountaineer great Greg Jones.

"Best player to ever play in this building," he said without a hint of reservation in his voice. "I thought I did a good job guarding him and he still ended up with 30."

Names of former Mountaineer stars such as Darryl Prue, Dale Blaney, and J.J. Crawl made their way into the conversation. Arnold was also an assistant coach for St. Joseph's in the early 1990's prior to West Virginia's move to the Big East.

On that same afternoon, a familiar face was spotted near the top of the coaches seating section. John Beilein, sporting the familiar blue and gold but this time with a different logo, flagged down Kinder and myself as we were making our way up the stairs.

To say that speaking to Beilein was awkward wouldn't be doing the situation justice. Frankly, it was just weird to talk to him in the Coliseum while wearing a different logo on his sweatshirt. Nevertheless, he was just as polite to us on Sunday as he was for his five years in Morgantown, and had nothing but positive words to say about the community, next year's Mountaineer squad, and new head coach Bob Huggins.

* * *

Watching Class of 2009 prospect Wally Judge was a treat, as Kinder summed up in his interview with the well-spoken D.C. Assault forward. Though he still has two years of high school left, his talent is easy to spot. On the first play of one game Sunday night, Judge won the opening tip, streaked down the court, and caught an alley-oop from a teammate.

If you're looking for a comparison, think back to forward Calvin Bowman. While not as tall (yet, at least) as Bowman, Judge has a similar offensive arsenal, with even better range on his jump shot. His versatility is apparent as he has the ability to score in the post (which will improve has he puts on more muscle) and the ability to face up and take the ball to the hoop.

It will be interesting to see how much he develops over the course of a year if he returns to Morgantown next summer for JamFest.

* * *

Finally, has anyone seen Joe Alexander? If you haven't, you may not recognize him when you do. Every Mountaineer player we talked to this weekend mentioned Alexander's growth without being asked. The junior forward has reportedly gained 30 pounds of muscle this summer, all the while not losing a bit of his athletic ability.

That's a scary thought for Mountaineer opponents.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories