Feature Game at Sat.'s Jordan Brand Classic

Unlike the preliminary game where three players couldn't participate, all 20 of America's prime-time players were on the floor in Saturday's feature game at the Jordan Brand Classic in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Renardo Sidney and Derrick Favors were the Co-MVPs at this top postseason all-star game.

Note: Since I'm writing this on Monday, two days after the game, this story will be less of a game recap and more about noticeable happenings in the game. Three of the already-published game reports are linked below.

The Jordan Brand Classic, in it's eighth year and fifth in New York City, appears to place a lot of stock on the honor of being selected. Substituting for injured players, etc., dilutes that award.

During the Game

  • I can still see this play in my head. Power forward Renardo Sidney, from Los Angeles, gets the defensive rebound about 10 feet away from the rim, sees he's got a clear path, and dribbles the ball the rest of the way for a layup. Don't see many high school or college post players do this, and don't see those who do handle it as well as Sidney did, nor do it a few times in the game. Impression was 'he's done this a lot before.' Few worried that he wouldn't get it done. A dribbled ball travels a lot further for a 6-foot-9 player, who comes in at 245 pounds, than a 6-foor-2 point guard. He's headed to USC.
  • On the next offensive set, Sidney hit a long jump shot for three points. He's headed to USC.
  • The teams were divided into groups of 10 with a fair distribution based on size and position rather than geographic breakdown. The players in the white jerseys were the home team, normal for basketball home teams but less so Now in the NFL and NHL, and those wearing black were the 'away' squad.
  • The visitors (black suits) had a 10-point halftime advantage. The home team (white uniforms) got to within six, 65-59, with about 12 minutes to go, but that was about it. The final score was the a win foir the visitors, 110-103.
  • Sidney and Atlanta's Derrick Favors (6-9, 220 - Georgia Tech) who were MVPs for their teams. They were provided a courtesy room for a press conference. Both were well spoken, showed a lot of majority and were very polite. Actually, not that unusual for kids we meet, but perhaps not said enough.
  • Coach Dan Hurley, from St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., talked about one can handle an game like this. "Do a little coaching, make sure each player gets a even chance, and, get out of their way," Hurley said. The range for both teams was 14 to 21 minutes with 17 mins. the most frequent number. (Stu Vetter from Montrose Christian in the Washington, D.C. area was the other head coach.)
  • The geographical area of the continental Unites States was well represented:
    • The home team was coached by Vetter, Mark Blevins from Nashville, Tenn. and Ed Azzam for L.A., Calif.
    • The away squad coaches were Hurley, Carl Arrigale from Philly and Ken Novak from Minnetonka, Minn.
    Weighted toward the northeast, understandable to me since that was where the game was played.
  • Early in the second half, the home team had five fouls, the vistors, zero. That evened out as the game progressed.
  • A ref called traveling. (These guys, who do an excellent, anonymous, and frequently criticized job, knew this was an all-star game. They let the kids play, but within the rules.)
  • A number of players acknowledged that they were fortunate to have the capability to achieve their goals in basketball. As Sidney put it, "God-given talent."
  • All 37 players were impressed that they had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Michael Jordan. "I got to shake his hand," said one with glee.
  • Daniel Orton showed his strength and intensity throughout the game. The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder from Oklahoma City, Ok. who signed with Kentucky, wrestled a rebound away from an oppponent who was alone (no one except teammates within seven or so feet) with a sure rebound. The play resulted in two free throws for Orton's team from a lay-up attempt.
  • One play that didn't count in the scorebook exemplifies teamwork that we saw. With time running out, a player gets the defensive rebound, throws it like a basketball to another, who could have shot but instead set up an alley-ooop for a third teammate, who was just above the rim when the buzzer sounded and the backboard, etc. turned red. These guys were definitely looking for their shots. They were also looking to make their teammates shine.
  • The trainer for the home team twice (that I saw)came to player's aide. Didn't appear there were any serious injuries.
  • Guys can get hurt here as anywhere there's basketball in action. One player who was unable to compete in the prelim, the local battle between players from the City and those from the extended metro area, was Rutgers-bound Dane Miller from Henrietta, N.Y. near Rochester. He was held out because he re-injured his shoulder during an early practice. He was advised to give it more time to heal. But he traveled over 300 miles to be there on the bench. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle quoted Miller in a pre-game story, "I'm not really that disappointed because I'll still be there, I just won't play. I'll still get to meet people and hang out with players."



Derrick Favors (A)      21 points
Wally Judge (H)         18
DeMarcus Cousins (A)    17
Renardo Sidney(H)       15
Kenny Boynton (A)       11
Xavier Henry (H)        11
Mason Plumlee (H)       11
John Henson (A)         10
Royce White (H)         10
Daniel Orton (H)         9 rebounds
DeMarcus Cousins (A)     7
Ryan Kelly (A)           7
Wally Judge (H)          7
Mason Plumlee (H)        7
Renardo Sidney (H)       7
Jordan Hamilton (A)      6
John Henson (A)          6
John Wall (H)            6 assists
Jordan Hamilton (A)      4
Tommy Mason-Griffin (H)  3
John Henson (A)          4 blocks
Renardo Sidney (H)       2
Jordan Hamilton (A)      2
Abdul Gaddy (A)          4
John Henson (A)          3
Avery Bradley (A)        2
Derrick Favors (A)       2
Marcus Jordan (H)        2

Well I sure can see something and not know. Just realized that Michael Jordan's youngest son, Marcus who is headed to UCF, was one of those 20 players in the national game.


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