Saturday, March 12, 2011


"Sick." It is a phrase that I've found myself using a lot while watching basketball recently.

Tonight, the Bulls hosted the Atlanta Hawks, fresh off of an embarrassing collapse against the team last week in Atlanta. Atlanta puts up 50 in the first half. 3rd Quarter? 10 points. Though one minute left in the fourth quarter (down 20 points)? 10 points. Sick.

No Carlos Boozer. Kurt Thomas queued up from "DNP -- Coach's Decision." 3 of the 5 starters account for a grand total of four points. Bulls win by 18 over the fifth seed in the East. Sick. Sick.

We missed DeMatha's WCAC championship win for the Bulls visit and we missed their City Title victory because of work commitments. So I missed more chances to get wowed by James Robinson, Mikael Hopkins, Jerami Grant, Jairus Lyles, and Beejay Anya this season.

We are four miles north of DeMatha, but three miles west of Eleanor Roosevelt. So after missing the DeMatha games and having to give up tickets behind the basket for the Bucks visit last Tuesday, we carved out a night to watch E.R. tackle Baltimore's Patterson Senior High School at Comcast in the state 4A semifinals.

Go for Eleanor Roosevelt, stay for Aquille Carr. We took our time getting to the game and Carr spent much of the second quarter on the bench. Eleanor Roosevelt was dominating and seemed to have the game in hand. Carr took over in the third quarter. Jaw-dropping ball handling skills, incredible leaping ability, and impressive court intelligence (anticipates the movement of other players). Merits all the hype and heads and shoulders above everyone else on the floor. Sick. Sick. Sick.

Not that the kids from Greenbelt's finest were slouches. Chaun Miller (Junior) and Prince Okoroh (Senior) played well and the team's defense was strong enough to hold Patterson's potent offense to less than seventy points in the game.

I walked out curious about what options Okoroh has for D-I play next year. Not only is he a good ball player who has excelled as part of E.R.'s basketball team, he is also apparently a promising academic prospect. His play matches his description of his own game and that of Coach O'Connell's.

And, yet, despite being thought of as one of the top ten basketball prospects in the region and one of the nine nominees from PG County for McDonald's All-American Game, Okoroh does not appear to have generated a great deal of interest from mid or high major programs.

Left off most subscription service listings for basketball recruits, Okoroh is reported to have scholarship offers from two Ivy League schools (Brown and Columbia), three local schools (UMBC, Howard, and Mt. St. Mary's), and Fordham (although a UMBC basketball supporter blog indicates that no offer has been made).

I'm a bit surprised, from just a limited viewing of his game, that Okoroh does not have options to play at higher levels. But, perhaps, it is simply a reminder of the truly exceptional talent required to play D-I basketball on scholarship in this country. Sick.

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