Derby Festival Classic Live Blog
Louisville is host for the final major all-star game for the class of 2011
by Rodger Bohn/@rodgerbohn
The Derby Festival has been one of my favorite events to cover since I got started in the game back in 2005. I still remember my initial Derby like it was yesterday. It was 2005, back when NBA scouts were allowed and things were popping off like no other. What makes the Derby Classic different from most other all-star games is that they make it a point to show the state of Kentucky some love and do everything in their power to ensure that they get U of L/UK kids in if any way possible. There were a few unfortunate late withdrawals (namely Tony Wroten and Wayne Blackshear), but the event still ofers many of the most exciting players that the class of 2011 has to offer.
-Connectivity issues severely limited what I was able to post in the first half. The game was typical of the majority of all-star games: Up and down pace, plenty of dunks, very little defense. From a fan’s prospective, great game to watch. From a scouting prospective, not a ton to learn.
The attendance wasn’t anywhere near what it has been in year’s past, due to the fact that the game was broadcasted on television. Not sure whether you could say that it’s a good or bad thing. Sure, more fans are watching the game. However, it takes away from the die hard atmosphere that the game had in year’s past.
The Gold team was up 70-59 at the half, largely due to the play of Indiana recruit Cody Zeller. He’s not the most athletic guy and you won’t catch him on Hoopmixtape or Ballislife anytime soon, but he’s one of the more productive big men in the class….as seen by his 13 points and 5 boards in the first half.
-The finals of the dunk contest took place at halftime. There were a lot of insane dunks attempted, but none converted. Deuce Bello tried to 360 eastbay going both ways (and nearly got them), which is a testament to how incredible of an athlete he is. Levi Randolph wound up taking the crown, showing off some surprising bounce from a guy who usually isn’t a highlight guy.
-Louisville recruit Chane Behanan seems to be the fan favorite here. A McDonald’s All-American, he played for an Adidas based AAU Program (Ohio Basketball Club) and showed loyalty to the 3 stripes and his future fans by playing in this game. He has been using his bullish style of play to get buckets in the paint against weaker defenders.
-The best dunker in the class, Deuce Bello, hasn’t been putting up huge numbers but is showing me an improved skill level since I last linked up with him at Westchester. He’s still got plenty of work to do, but Deuce looks like he’s improved his handle a bit and his first step looks more explosive than ever.
-LeBryan Nash has it going on all cylinders. Posting guys up, getting to the rack, and finishing well in transition. Given Oklahoma State’s relative state of rebuilding, there’s certainly the opportunity for him to go in and do work right away.
-Future Ohio State Buckeye LaQuinton Ross is one of the more unique players here. At 6’8, he’s clearly a wing player and won’t be posting up anytime soon. He definitely surprised me a couple of times with his athleticism. Silky smooth J and a killer handle for his size, though.
-D’Angelo Harrison certainly isn’t filling up the stat sheet, but dude is playing harder than anyone out there. Hustling all over the floor, making the right pass, and not playing strictly for the highlights are a few of the things that the St. John’s commit is doing out there.
-Some of the Louisville faithful were still mad bitter about Deuce Bello not committing there. When the future Baylor wing had a crucial turnover in the last 5 seconds of the game, the Cardinal fans busted out a “Let’s go Baylor” chant to show him their love.
- The Gold team came away with a 126-122 W in a game that must’ve had over 50 dunks. Indiana recruit Cody Zeller stepped away with MVP award for the victors after dropping 16 and 9.
-Make sure to check out SLAMonline this upcoming week for dope interviews with Quincy Miller, Deuce Bello, Zach Price, Chane Behanan, and Kevin Ware!