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Best of the Best
Best of the Best
Jim Meadows
Published by Swampy Meadows
Best of the Best

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) -- The Michigan HS All-Star Game was held tonight at Pontiac Central HS and I was there. You can thank Mrs. Swampy for that fact, since she is actually the one who saw the small blurb in the Freep sports section this afternoon and said "Gee, don't you want to go see your guy play?"

All 4 candidates for Michigan Mr. Basketball were in attendance: the winner, Brad Redford, who as we all know is headed to the school down south; Draymond Green who is going to Izzo U; Devin Searcy's HS teammate Dominique Buckley, soon to be an Iowa State Cyclone and "our guy" Paul Williams.

PW was on the West team with Eric Evans and Shawntez Patterson, who are both going to be Duquesne Dukes; 6'11" Jason Washburn, destined for Utah; Buckley; Blake Cushinberry, headed to BG's alma mater Oakland; Austin Calhoun who will be playing at BGSU; Henry Smith, St. Joseph (IN); Demetrius Ward signed with Western Michigan; Lawrence Bridges who will play for CMU and a couple of "undecideds" Joseph Lewis and the guy with the best name of the bunch, Isiah Phlegm. There is no truth to the rumor that Isiah's nickname is "Booger."

The West team was headed by Green and his Saginaw HS buddy PG Daniel West (Tennessee); Redford; 6'7" Drew Maynard, another Oakland signee; Kavon Rose headed west to Oregon; 6'9" Chris Clarke, SMU; Flenard Whitfield a WMU signee; 6'9" Davide Curletti destined for the Big Ten and Northwestern; a pair of 6'2" guards in Darnell Brown (BGSU) and Rod Hunt (Cleveland State) and three guys currently committed to "Undecided U" in Latreze Mushatt, Drew Hopkins and Josh Eichelberger. With a name like Josh Eichelberger and the fact that he attended predominantly Jewish West Bloomfield HS you would think Josh is an MOT, but you'd be wrong.

Paul finished with 19 points, on 7-18 shooting (with 5 three pointers), as his West squad beat the East something like 176-170. I forgot to write down the final score, because it truly didn't mean anything. Needless to say, not a lot of defense was displayed, but they did play two 24 minute halves, which partially accounts for the increased offensive production. If you ask me, the lack of D had a lot more to do with it. Fouls were equally scarce and remarkably, neither coach ever used a TO.

There were several players besides Paul who stood out:

--Draymond Green: best player on the floor by far. He has a really good handle for a 6'7" guy, can shoot the three, is a beast on the boards and dunks "with authority" as Bucky likes to say. Didn't get back on defense, but then again, who did?

--Jason Washburn: he's skinny, but runs the floor and rebounds well. Had a ton of dunks. Kinda goofy, but fun to watch. If he fills out, watch out.

--Eric Evans: prototypical PG. After bricking his first 3 three pointers, I wrote down that his long range shooting was suspect. I crossed that out after he drained 4 of them in a row to help lead the West team's comeback. We'll get to see him for the next 4 years.

--Flenard Whitfield: all I can say is, the boy can leap.

--Drew Maynard: he can really sky as well, plus he has a quality three point shot. At 6'7" he will do some serious damage in the Mid-Con.

And there were several who didn't:

--Kavon Rose: he was essentially invisible, which is really hard to do in a 176-170 game.

--Blake Cushinberry: he's a tweener, a 6'4" PF in HS who may have trouble establishing his power game in college.

--Daniel West: yeah, he's lightning fast, but I don't get it. True, he was the PG on the two-time Class A HS Champs, but he had Draymond Green to pass to all of the time. We'll see if Bruce Pearl was right.

--Mr. Basketball: and no, Stacy Decker, I'm not picking on Brad just because he's going to X. Redford was 2-7 from the field, with 1 three pointer, which came as time expired and after the game had been decided. His previous three point attempt, which he took when the game was still up for grabs, was an airball. Redford is much faster than I thought and really has a great stroke, but they just weren't falling for him, plus he had guys like Eric Evans draped all over him. He better get used to that.

I found it interesting that only the MAC, with 5 commitments had more players in the game than the 4 who will be playing in the Atlantic 10.

The guys all know each other from AAU and HS, so there was a lot of good natured ribbing going on throughout the game. Paul was laughing and smiling the whole time. He and Draymond had an animated conversation at half court during half time.

I talked to Paul after the game and he said he enjoyed himself, but that he's "gotta get back in shape." He looked fine to me. Paul wasn't sure what other HS All Star Games he'll be playing in, but I'll let you know as soon as Mrs. Swampy alerts me.

That's it "From the Swamp."
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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