“Interesting” Is Such A Lame Descriptor…

However it is the best I can muster today. I spent some time over the past two days at VCUs Siegel Center, where the school hosted–through its SportsCenter graduate program–the International Showcase 2008.

The short version: about 80 kids who have completed their eligibility are split into teams and play five exhibition games over a couple of days. The upside is that they play these exhibitions in front of NBA, NBDL, and most importantly international scouts. The goal is to give the kids exposure in hopes of securing tryouts and/or contracts to play professionally. Perhaps a few will sign with an agent.

The best part is that these players are “our” players. They come from Savannah State and Hampton and Dayton and Southern Illinois and all kinds of directional schools. They are getting the exposure they never received while in school and this is only a good thing.

It is a very “interesting” atmosphere, something only gym rats can appreciate. There are only a smattering of people in the seats. Those people aren’t just the handful of scouts alternating between furiously scribbling notes and idly checking their Blackberry. You see some family, a press guy or three, players from other teams waiting to play, and folks like me.

The games aren’t hardscrabble playground tilts, either. Not at first, anyway. Games are run in two 20-minute halves, the officials are not just real officials but they wear standard officiating garb. They also, gasp, call fouls. There is a shot clock. (Side note: I’d comment about my appreciation for the lack of four media timeouts each half, but I like to dabble in reality.)

Until players get tired, they run versions of the weave offense and work for a shot. There were several shot clock violations. In short, the kids were getting after it. And like you would expect, once everyone got tired and got their shots it became a giant garbage time exercise.

So what did I see?

I saw a familiar face that I didn’t immediately place. He was a big man with pretty good hands and some solid post moves. I checked the program to find #16 in grey was former JMU Dukes center Chris Cathlin. I’d say he looked approximately 452 times better than he ever looked in the CAA.

I didn’t see VCUs Jamal Shuler or Michael Anderson, but I heard from an unbiased source Shuler lit the place up.

The best player there, from those I saw, was New Mexico’s Jamaal Smith. That kid could shoot, penetrate, dish, and defend. Shaun Reynolds, a point guard from New Orleans, stood out as well. Reynolds seemed to have a gear nobody else could match, and I doubt anybody had more fun playing than he did.

Greg Gonzalez (Carnegie Mellon) and Beau Muehlbach (Texas A&M) also made my note cards.

 

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~ by mglitos on May 28, 2008.

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