For much of the summer in Morgantown, the WVU Student Recreation Center is a peaceful, productive place to get some exercise. When the Hoop Group rolls into town with the annual Triple S Harley Davidson JamFest, however, three days of organized chaos reign supreme.
While AAU events are typically packed full of big-time prospects and a who's who of big-time college programs, there are also moments every year that serve as reminders that AAU basketball is a very fluid product.
Take, for example, a scheduled Monday afternoon game between the West Virginia Rush and Maryland Hurricanes.
Upon entering the University High gym in anticipation of watching the WVU-bound duo of Noah Cottrill and Storm Stanley for the second time on Monday, I was alerted that the Maryland squad had failed to check-in for the tournament, apparently opting to pass on the JamFest after originally committing.
Sure, it was nice watching the Rush scrimmage each other for a half-hour or so, but not exactly ideal given the fact that I had just driven across town and thus was missing upwards of seven games at the Rec.
Don't get me wrong, I love AAU basketball. Actually, it's a chief reason why I follow basketball recruiting much more than football recruiting. AAU tournaments such as this allow the top-rated players to play against other top-rated players, thus making basketball recruiting a little more cut and dried in my opinion.
Having followed the AAU circuit for a few years, however, I have learned that rule numero uno is this: never set anything in stone (or in this case, drive across town for a game unless you know for sure that both teams are going to be there).
First impressions of recent 2010 pledge Storm Stanley? If nothing else, he's not afraid of squaring off against superior competition.
Despite just turning 16 on June 25, Stanley cast his lot with the 17-and-under entry from the Rush for this week's event. His first individual opponent? Michigan State-bound Garrick Sherman.
Welcome to the big-time, kid.
Sherman, rated as the No. 12 center in the class of 2009 by Scout.com, carried his Columbus Basketball Club team throughout the morning, though the Rush ultimately prevailed. Stanley, admittedly battling a few nerves in his first 17-and-under game, did all he could to slow down the future Spartan.
Stanley showed a willingness to mix it up in the paint, even against the stronger Sherman.
I've always said that the BlueGoldNews.com staff is like a family, and as such has an innate ability to read each other's thoughts.
Cam Huffman proved me right this afternoon.
On the drive back to Bridgeport from Morgantown, I was thinking about the chaotic travel schedule which fills the calendars of college coaches every July, flying from locale to locale following prospects on the AAU trail.
Turns out Cam was just a little bit quicker in typing up those thoughts than I was.
I've never liked mayonnaise, but lately it seems I can't get enough Mayo (cue studio audience laugh-track).
Fresh off my six-week stint as a front office intern for the Memphis Grizzlies in which I witnessed the NBA-infancy of Huntington's O.J. Mayo, I returned to the Mountain State only to find...more Mayo! Todd, that is.
While many will undoubtedly refer to the younger Mayo simply as "O.J.'s brother", turns out he has quite a few skills in his own right.
"I like it to be a fast-paced game," Mayo said. "I like to pass a lot, finding the open man. I like that a lot. I like to get mine as the game goes on, and I love helping my teammates."
Mayo, like his older brother, can play both with and off the ball on offense. Playing alongside Cottrill on the Rush, Mayo was the primarily ballhandler for much of the day.
After playing his first two seasons at South Point (Ohio), Mayo could be relocating to a Memphis-area high school for the 2008-09 season. As of now, those plans have yet to be finalized.
The same can be said for his college plans, but as he continues to raise his profile in recruiting circles. Currently, Mayo says he is receiving interest from Akron, Cincinnati, Marshall, Stanford and Southern California.
According to Scout.com's Dave Telep, one of West Virginia's top targets for the Class of 2009 has taken himself off the board. National Christian Academy's Dante Taylor has verballed to Pitt.
Taylor and promising 2010 shooting guard prospect Will Barton are both playing for NCA's entry in the JamFest.
Spotted: freshmen Darryl "Truck" Bryant and Kevin Jones. And from the looks of things, plenty of people have been spotting Bryant...in the weight room, that is.
In fact, "Truck" might not be an accurate enough nickname for the physical point guard. The kid is built more like a tank.
Note to WVU opponents of the next four seasons: good luck keeping this guy out of the lane.