It's Prep All-Star Time Around The Nation
Notes and leftovers.
The next few weeks will keep Kentucky coaches and fans busy following the all-star games which have UK recruits playing in them.
The first of several all-star events is Thursday, April 2 in Landover, Md., where the U.S. All-Stars will take on the Capital All-Stars in the annual Capital Classic. Such big names as Lyndon Jones and Jay Edwards of Marion, Ind., and King Rice of Binghamton, N.Y., will be in action there.
The action shifts to Pittsburgh, Pa., the following night (Friday) when the East meets the West in the annual Dapper Dan All-Star Classic.
There will be a definite Kentucky flavor there as the likes of Sean Sutton, LeRon Ellis and Eric Manuel will all be suited up for this big one. Elliot Perry, the hotshot point guard from Memphis, Tenn., will also be on the West team with Sutton and Ellis.
Manuel will be in action on Sunday, April 12 at the annual McDonald's Ail-American Classic in Philadelphia. Perry will also be playing iti that game which will be televised live over ABC-TV.
Other tops names in that game include Chris Corchiana, Rice, Dennis Scott, Edwards, Jerome Harmon, Sean Higgins, Larry Johnson, Treg Lee, Marcus Liberty, Mike Maddox, LaBradford Smith and Brian Williams, among others.
The biggest of all the star attractions will be on Saturday, April 18 when the Derby Festival Classic is staged at Louisville's Freedom Hall.
It'll be the South versus the North and five of Kentucky's six signees will be suited up, all on the South team. They are Ellis, Jonathan Davis, Deron Feldhaus, John Pitt-man and Sutton.
Other stars include Livingston Chatman, Jerome Harmon, Richard Dumas, John Pelphrey, LaMonte Ware, Desmond Porter and Smith.
One spot is still open for the Derby Festival Classic and reports have it that officials which eventually decide between Kentucky all-Stater Kevin Ellery who is headed to Notre Dame and an unnamed player who most likely will attend the University of Louisville.
Because NCAA rules permit a high school player to participate in only two high school all-star games while school is still in session, many players often miss out on some big games and the recognition which goes along with them.
Right now, Ellis is playing the price, but we'll talk about that situation later on.
The rule is actually a good one. There was a time when player and coach virtually quit school and took their show on the road for extended periods of time after the prep season was over.
Some refer to the NCAA regulation as the Dirk Minniefield Rule because Minniefield played in virtually every all-star game possible his senior year. In many situations, all-star classic promoters encourage the kid to play in game after game by enticing the player's coach to tag along.
Dirk seldom said no. His team played three weeks after the regular season ended as the Lafayette Generals won the Kentucky state championship. He and his coach (Jock Sutherland) continued. It was late April before the games were finally history.
It was only a short time later that the NCAA said high school players should not be allowed to play in an unlimited number of all-star games which required mem to miss so many classes.
So, the NCAA enacted legislation which permitted each player to play in two all-star games.
Later, the rule was amended to allow a player to play in as many other all-star games as he wishes once his senior year of academic work is completed.
At one time there were few all-star classics. First there was the Dapper Dan and then the' Capital Classic. Then the Derby Festival came along with a multitude of others. Practically every state has at least one or two national all-star events.
Players now must choose which two to exhibit their skills. The Big Four are generally considered the McDonald's All-American Game, the Dapper Dan, the Capital Classic and the Derby Festival Classic, in no particular order.
Factors in deciding where to play involve the player's hometown, where he is going to school and national recognition.
Underlying factors involve the recruiting of a certain player's coach by the directors of the classic, promises of making a player an All-American if he chooses a particular classic, etc.
For instance, if a kid is going to attend a Big East Conference school, you can almost bet he'll play in the Dapper Dan in Pittsburgh. The same holds true for a kid who figures to play at Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana or Purdue. They're most likely to play in the Derby Classic.
The Captial Classic had a loyalty among the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East Conference.
Most of the all-star games do wonderful jobs and are class operations and over the years, none has been better than the McDonald's All-American Classic which rotates around the country each year.
This year is an exception.
The player selection committee for the annual McDonald's All-American squad (one of if not the most prestigous selections in the country) omitted a player because that player
could not play in the game because he made committments to play in the Dapper Dan Classic and the Derby Festival Classic.
Thus, Ellis was not among the famous McDonald's All-American team announced recently. There was no mention by McDonald's why he didn't make the team. He just wasn't there.
One of the McDonald's selection committee advisors told us recently that they thought it was wrong for Ellis to turn down the opportunity to play on national television to play in the Dapper Dan Classic.
The same person said the McDonald's people could understand why Ellis wanted to play in the Derby Festival Classic (which just happens to be sponsored by McDonald's also) because Ellis will be attending Kentucky.
The point that was .being made is that the McDonald's people didn't like the idea of a kid choosing Dapper Dan over the McDonald's game. That sounds a bit selfish to me.
It's one thing if Ellis doesn't deserve to be a McDonald's All-American. It's another thing when Ellis is invited, wooed and then threatened that unless he plays in their game, he will not be on the All-American team.
And the McDonald's people stuck by their word. Ellis' name is nowhere to be found on the 1987 McDonald's All-American team.
You might say the McDonald's people have sent a message out to all the young, budding high school stars of tomorrow. And that is, "If you want to be a McDonald's All-American, then you'd better not be caught at Burger King."
Quite frankly, I have a lot less respect for those people today than I had before I heard of this episode.
It's getting lunch time so I'd better wrap this up and grab a bite. Anybody know where the nearest Burger King is located?
I'm back. You know, that Whopper was pretty doggone good. Maybe those folks at McDonald's did me a favor.
Speaking of whoppers, how about that Sweet Sixteen last week at Rupp Arena where Bobby Keith's Clay County Tigers won their first ever state tournament by turning back Louisville Ballard 76-73 in overtime.
Playing before a crowd of 19,000, the 13th
Big Blue Basketball Due In Mid-April
Due to the basketball national letter-of-intent signing date being the second week of April. Oscar Combs' Big Blue Basketball's monthly printing schedule will be changed to accomodate the signing period.
Instead of monthly issues from September through April, with bi-monthly issues for May-June and July-August, the schedule will be monthly from August through March and bi-monthly issues for April-May and June-July. There will be no change in the total number of issues per year, which will still be 10..
The change will also help provide a full issue of summer all-star basketball in August, rather than having to wait until September.
The next issue, dated April-May (Volume 1, Number 3) will be pubished April 15 and should be on the newsstands by April 23 with complete coverage of the national letter-of-intent signings. plus articles on the Dapper Dan Classic and the McDonald's All-American Classic in Philadelphia.
Region champions led much of the way, then fell behind in the fourth period before rallying late and winning in overtime.
The sparkling play of brothers Richie and Russ Farmer was the big reason why the Clay County team became the first mountain team to win the title since Carr Creek turned the trick back in 1956.
But it was the inspired play of 220-pound forward Eugene Rawlings which captured the hearts of the fans Saturday night. Richie scored a game-high 27 points while brother Russ had 14 and Rawlings had 10 in a reserve role.
Earlier in the tourney the big hero was Russ Chadwell who exploded for 43 points against Ft. Thomas Highlands in the opening round. He responded with 19 points in the championship game and finished the tournament with 99 points.
Although many favored Clay County to be playing in the championship game, the Tigers weren't the top mountain team expected win all the marbles.
Paintsville, which had been to the state tournament the previous two years, came in as a favorite along with the likes of Owensboro, Ballard, Madisonville and Mason County.
Ballard and first-year coach Scotty Davenport quickly eliminated those teams in the upper bracket with some down-to-the-wire efforts behind the sophomore sensation Allan Houston, who is the son of University of Louisville assistant Wade Houston.
The younger Houston put on as great a show as I've ever witnessed by a sophomore in the state tournament. He almost led Ballard to the state title, had it not been for the crowd-pleasing Richie Farmer.
Farmer, who missed three shots late in the championship game, regained his eye, hit two jumpers and three free throws in the final 2:44 of regulation, when the Tigers came back from a 57-54 deficit.
For his heroics, Richie Farmer was selected the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
In addition to the thrilling overtime climax, fens enjoyed other monumenal achievements as the Friday night quarterfinal session set a world attendance record for a high school game.
Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner Tom Mills said 24,041 went through the gates for the session which saw Clay County turn back Oldham Country and Madison Central whip LaRue County.
The four-day event also set a new KHSAA state tournament attendance record with an estimated 149,088 patrons. Although final official figures will be released later this week, the new mark will easily erase the previous high of 136,035 set back in 1969 at Louisville's Freedom Hall.
Last year's attendance was 114,597 and the year before was 114,173.
Next year's tournament will move back to Louisville and then return to Rupp Arena in 1989. No site has been selected past the 1989 tournament.
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