Well we are back at the Kentucky Sports Radio compound after one of the longest days of my life at the Marshall County Hoopfest. A combination of poor planning on finding a place to stay, a LOOOONG day of games that were amazingly uncompetitive and the hottest gym in America made our trip to Benton not quite the glamorous star-studded event we had hoped for. Thus I arrived home in Louisville at 5 am, tired but not deterred. Whereas the Hoopfest usually has lots of close games with great teams, this one was a bit lacking as the last three games of the night were all blowouts, and the final team on the court, The New American School in New York, may have been one of the worst basketball teams ever assembled. So a so-so event from a usual stellar source.
So how about the games? Well for Kentucky purposes, the game of the night was AJ Stewart’s game against Teeng Akol and his New York team. It was the main event, the last game and the gym was packed. When Stewart was announced, he got a standing ovation and the crowd was psyched. Then the game started. With 3 minutes left in the second half, AJ’s team led the New York team 59-7 (and no I am not kidding) and everyone had gone home……it was bad.
So what about AJ? Well it was hard to tell. Because the New York team had no defense at all, AJ’s team had wide open three pointers the entire game…..thus AJ finished with 13 points while his teammates did the heavy lifting. It was obvious that AJ was frustrated by the events as he soon realized that he would get little ability to showcase his talents with future coach Tubby Smith in attendance. AJ hit the glass well, repeatedly rebounding over the FIVE seven footers on the New York team. His team played spectacular and AJ led the breaks, showing his athleticism than Tubby covets. All in all, a solid performance from AJ, whose team won 101-39, but not one that was the best showcase for his abilities.
Much more was seen about the New York center Teeng Akol. Akol was the only one of the five seven footers who was even respectable and is clearly the only player on his team worth even mentioning. Tubby watched intently throughout the game and Akol’s peformance could be called uneven at best, and fairly poor at worst. Akol has a bit of an outside jumper and is a decent rebounder. But his ball handling is atrocious, decision-making worse and he has hands that even would make Woo cringe. Akol is the type of guy that you get as a 5th man in an already stellar recruiting class to work on and develop. We have that guy with Mike Williams. I hope Tubby chooses a passs on Akol this year.
The news of the day may however turn out to be Gabriel Charley, AJ’s teammate in Jacksonville who set the Marshall County Hoopfest record by hitting nine three pointers in the win. In his pre-game interview with us AJ Stewart said that Charley has begun hearing from UK and that Coach Rigot had told Gabriel they would be watching him at the game that night. Well Charley did well…..after a SLOOOOW start (0-4 from the three point line), Charley seemed to never miss again, hitting jumper after jumper and wooing the crowd. Charley, who looks very Rastafarian, was the highlight of the game and it will be interesting to hear what else progresses with his recruitment.
Finally, we got LOTS of good information from the recruting gurus in the country at the event. In our nightly recruiting report tonight, we will give most of it, but also look for a VERY INFORMATIVE interview with Scout.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep, who updates UK’s stance with everyone of importance and will be part of our weekly show. We have lots of tape coming this week from the Hoopfest, including our broadcast of AJ’s game (at least the first half……down 50 at halftime, we couldnt bring ourself to broadcast the second half), an interview with some of the Oak Hill stars and other tidbits, including Hubby’s exclusive with Bill Keightley.
Anyway, all in all, a fun, if a bit lackluster, trip. AJ will be good, but yesterday will tell us little.