There is nothing better than the unintentional comedy that occurs when an occasional foreign newspaper taking a dip into the American sports scene. I still contend that for those of us lucky enough to be around, the African Sports News Service’s internet reports of the Senegal team (featuring Jules Camara) at the African Basketball Games was the highest comedy in the history of the internet. I have tried and tried to find these famous reports, but at this point to no avail. However even if we may never see those quotes again, we do have this article about Australian sensation Ater Majok to get us through the day. While not quite as comical as the Camara entries, it does showcase the difficult perspective that exists for an Australian newspaper trying to cover an American college recruitment.
The newspaper does however get a scoop, which heretofore the local news reports have missed. Majok will be playing in the Derby Classic in Louisville, a huge coup for the event, but also for Kentucky’s recruitment of the big man. If you havent followed the news on Ater, he is a 6’10” long, athletic big man, originally from the Sudan, but now a resident of Australia. His scoring ability is high and has led him to be praised by NBA scouts as strong prospect for the next level. He is committed to coming to America to play college basketball however, and is currently looking at Kentucky, Kansas, UCONN and Baylor, among others. He plans on visiting UK while in the country for the Derby Classic and will certainly enjoy the Kentucky fanbase at the event. A few quotes from the article:
“It’s exciting – and so important,” Smith said of the recruiting process which, in Majok’s case, has been conducted in reverse of the norm because he is the talk of the court and can choose to play wherever he wants to.
I love that Ater is the “talk of the court”….I wish I were the “talk of the court”….and you can see how Australia differs from the US, as the newspaper notes it is not normal for schools to reach out to players rather than the other way around.
Last year the Classic all-star game drew 10,000 but organisers are expecting up to 17,000, based on the fact Ater has been recruited by the University of Kentucky and they want to show him some love so that he might commit to Kentucky,” Majok’s coach Edward Smith said yesterday on his return to Sydney
This paragraph takes the Derby Classic (a great event no doubt) and suggests that it will be the Ater Majok show. While I think Ater will make a difference, 7,000 tickets may be a bit ambitious. My favorite part however is this one:
Majok is excited about breaking into the Derby Classic because it includes a three-point shooting event, dunk contest, a two-on-two competition and culminates in an all-star game involving the best high school players in the US. Last year’s Derby Classic MVP, Michael Beasley (Kansas State), is predicted to be No. 1 pick for the 2008 NBA Draft.
“It gives me a chance to show my individual skills. I’m looking to take all of them (the category titles) back to Australia,” Majok said, whose confidence has also grown through positive US reinforcement.
Majok is confident at winning all of the events, including the two-on-two game….presumably by himself. Gotta love that.
In all serious though, Majok has great potential and is exactly what UK needs as a big man. While he may not be quite as ready to immediately be an impact college player like Josh Harrellson, he is likely the best option from a potential standpoint and could become a star at UK. Getting him to the Derby Classic and on campus at UK is huge….and if he ends up in the Blue and White, fans should rejoice.