1 post • Page 1 of 1
DETROIT -- Past the kid with the head-to-toe Michigan gear, up the stairs that lead to a banner on the left urging students to come to Ann Arbor and back to the office in the weight room, theres a coach with championship rings featuring a Block M on both hands. Derrick White Jersey .In the beating downtown heart of Detroit sits Cass Technical High School, a program that has become something of a breeding ground for the most storied rivalry in college football. But despite all those ties to one side of the feud, including the coach churning out all the talent, there will be almost as many Technicians in Ohio State jerseys as Michigan ones in The Game on Saturday, in a matchup that will have Thomas Wilchers fingerprints all over it.I mean, its not about the rivalry for me, Wilcher said in his cramped, trophy-stocked office. Its all about the best interest of the child. You have to always keep the child first because if the child is not first, then who is? I cant be first. Im not going to college. Ive already been to college. Its about him.The only belief I have is that I like to have kids stay at home so their parents can see them play. If you dont have a school here in the state of Michigan, lets go out there and travel the country and find that bad boy for you so you can be happy.Former Cass Tech standouts?Jourdan Lewis, David Dawson, Delano Hill?and?Michael Onwenu stayed in-state and now play for Michigan. But it turns out theres a place across the states southern border and about three hours south of Detroit that is making a few of Wilchers former stars happy. With Mike Weber and Damon Webb both playing prominent roles and a third high school teammate, Joshua Alabi, on the bench for the Buckeyes, one of the preeminent college-preparatory schools in Michigan is becoming a key factor in Ohio States run to the playoff.Saturdays game isnt the only high-stakes battle between Michigan and Ohio State. ESPN 300 wide receiver?Donovan Peoples-Jones, who hauled in a game-winning touchdown Saturday in the state semifinals to set up a date in the championship, which will kick off one hour after The Game starts, is a recruiting priority for both the Buckeyes and Wolverines. But if the top-ranked player in the state of Michigan feels any heat from being thrust into the middle of the rivalry, he doesnt show it.I dont really feel pressure because I know guys that I have played with who go to both schools, Peoples-Jones said. I love watching my teammates, and I want the players that I know to do well, but as far as teams, nah, I dont pay attention to that.I want them all to have a good game. Unfortunately, one team has to lose, but Im not at all paying any attention to that. Im paying attention to my guys. Im happy for them, respect them and want to see them have success. Weve got guys from Cass Tech who have gone everywhere.The bulletin board behind Wilchers desk and the framed photos scattered throughout the office prove it. They show uniforms from dozens of schools around the Midwest, further validating Cass Techs place as one of the top college-preparatory schools in Michigan.As true as that is on the football field, it might go double in the classroom. High test scores and a solid GPA are required to get into the glistening building on 2nd Avenue -- and stay there. Technicians also must choose a specific academic program, which determines their course load. That combined academic and athletic experience is a significant reason Wilchers office is so popular on the recruiting trail. Cass Tech is essentially producing ready-made college athletes, and considering the standards at Ohio State and Michigan, that has turned the school into yet another battleground in a never-ending feud.Yeah, at first I thought it was kind of like an airport down here, recent Michigan commit Jaylen Kelly-Powell said. But really at our program, our players put in, our coaches put in, everybody all puts in 100 percent to what were doing. Thats how we get better, really: great coaches, great football, great academics. Best of all worlds.Coach Wilcher, he just wants the best for us, no matter what. Wherever you go, hell support you. If something about a situation doesnt feel right, hell say his opinion. But hell get the details about whats going on, and hes always looking out for everybody.There is a priority for Wilcher, though, and he doesnt even bother hiding it.A former track star with the Wolverines who won an indoor national championship as a hurdler, a running back who helped them win the 1986 Big Ten title and a former teammate of Jim Harbaughs, Wilcher has a rooting interest when it comes to The Game. But he will also speak glowingly of Michigan State, praise Western Michigan and rattle off all the other places within the state border that could offer his players a chance to stay close to home and represent a state he clearly cares deeply about.If that doesnt work out, then those frequent visits from Ohio States coaching staff can become a larger part of the conversation.I feel like he knows the best interest for all his players when it comes to getting all the potential out of you, pushing you to work hard, Weber said. Winning, sending good players to good schools, I think hell probably end up going to the high school hall of fame in Michigan.Hes a good coach, and I still talk to him to this day. He still calls me and gives me advice about how I can play and what I can do differently. He never really settled. You can break off an 80-yard run, and hell find something you didnt do right or you could have done better. He sees the potential and gets it out of you.The current Technicians wont be watching the Wolverines try to snap their four-game losing streak in the series and stay in the hunt for the College Football Playoff. Theyll be focused on their own playoff game. Wilcher, obviously, wont be keeping tabs from his sideline on the coach he met when he was a 17-year-old star athlete himself.But there is an outcome that would make the high school epicenter of the rivalry proud, and its more about the players than the teams -- well, mostly.I think its good to have Michigan and Ohio State back at the top fighting like they used to because it always came down to that final Saturday, baby, Wilcher said. It always came down to that game, and its just right back at it again. Its a real good thing to see them going at it.But, you know, you just kind of root for the players, root for [Cass Tech], and thats it. I want Mike to do well, I want Damon to do well -- but I do want a Michigan win.No matter what happens, both schools figure to be right back in Wilchers office looking to reload with Technicians for the next time. Cheap Spurs Jerseys Authentic . PETERSBURG, Fla. Pau Gasol Jersey .Y. -- Sabres forward Drew Stafford has witnessed plenty of turmoil during his eight seasons in Buffalo. http://www.cheapspursjerseys.com/?tag=c ... can-jersey . -- About a third of the way through the regular season, the Washington Wizards are at . The 2016-17 college basketball season will be the Year of the Freshmen, featuring what could be the best class weve ever seen. Over the next two weeks we will get familiar with the best of the best, examining who they are and where each of the top 10 prospects in the 2016 ESPN 100 came from.Read more: No. 10 Dukes Frank Jackson | No. 9 Kentuckys Malik Monk No. 8 Michigan States Miles Bridges | No. 7 Washingtons Markelle Fultz No. 6 Kentuckys DeAaron Fox | No. 5 Kentuckys Bam Adebayo No. 4 UCLAs Lonzo Ball | No. 3 Dukes Jayson Tatum No. 2 Kansas Josh Jackson | No. 1 Dukes Harry GilesLEXINGTON, Ky. --?DeAaron Fox emerges from the locker room with the sleepy, heavy-eyed gaze of a teenager who woke up 10 minutes ago. He yawns, rolls his head and stares at the ceiling of the Joe Craft Center as if hes never heard of 10 a.m.Hes long but lean, still a few months from adding 15 pounds to a frame that will be enhanced by weight training and the meals prepped by the private chef at Kentuckys Wildcat Coal Lodge housing complex.Once the offseason pickup game begins, hes spry, bouncy and determined.And fast. Faster than everyone in the gym.One moment hes on the left side of the practice floor. Then, the elusive point guard who will lead Kentuckys talented fleet in 2016-17 teleports to the rim and scores. On a later possession, he twirls his finger, and his teammates rotate as he creates a crease in the defense and finds Brad Calipari, a walk-on and John Caliparis son, in the right corner for an open 3-pointer.Its his show. Its his team.Its not difficult to see how the 6-foot-3 freshmans frame, length, will, burst and speed remind those around the program of a legend and NBA point guard who came to Lexington in 2009 with the same size and traits.[Hes a] very talented kid, can pass the ball, shoot the ball, said three-time NBA All-Star and?Washington Wizards?point guard?John Wall. I actually saw him play in Houston last season when we played the Rockets.Its one thing for fans in barbershops and bars to suggest a freshman stud reminds them of a professional star who once led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight before securing the No. 1 slot in the 2010 NBA draft. But Walls acknowledgement of the conversation only enhances the credibility of the comparison and enlarges the spotlight Fox will play under this season.I mean, being compared to someone like him, its a huge honor, Fox said. I see similarities, but I still feel like we play differently. With speed and athleticism, I think were really similar. ... I feel like he handles the ball better, and I feel like I shoot the ball better.This year, Fox will replace?Tyler Ulis?-- a second-round pick by the?Phoenix Suns?in the 2016 NBA draft -- as Kentuckys point guard.Kentucky point guards become rock stars when they excel: Ask Wall, Ulis,?Marquis Teague and Brandon Knight. They also become?the subject of a Big Blue Nation social media onslaught if they fail to play like lottery picks.Ask?Andrew Harrison.Fox understands the stakes. He does not, however, only aim to emulate Wall. He hopes to learn from him.The duo connected after Wall tweeted about the Katy, Texas, natives highlight reel last year.Since then, theyve formed a relationship, one nurtured through biweekly text messages.He says, Just stay up, youre young, youre a freshman so never get down on yourself, Fox said.In recent months, Wall -- Caliparis first point guard at Kentucky -- has advised the freshman, No. 9 on Chad Fords Big Board for 2017 NBA draft prospects, to prepare for the coachs tutelage and, at times, his wrath.He told me to just go in really open-minded, Fox said. He told me Coach [Calipari] is gonna get on me a lot so go in and be ready to be criticized.And scrutinized.Fox now plays point guard at Kentucky, a program thats reached the Final Four in foour of the last six seasons. George Gervin Jersey. The current Wildcats enter the season as the No. 2 team in the AP poll and the SEC favorite.Fox said the praise doesnt worry him.I dont really see it as pressure, Fox said. At the end of the day, were just going out and playing basketball.Those who know Fox doubt hell crumble.In 2012, he scored 50 points in a win during the third game of his freshman season at Cypress Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. As colleges began to call and inquire about Fox, Cypress Lakes coach Emmanuel Olatunbosun worried about his young star.He warned Fox about the deluge that would soon arrive. The colleges that would visit. The reporters who would request interviews.Fox told Olatunbosun he did not fear the crush. Yeah, right, Olatunbosun thought.He looks at me and says, Coach, Im not gonna change, Olatunbosun said.Three days later, Fox hit the game-winner in another victory.He could become the aggressor in pressing moments for his high school team. But he also understood his role as a maestro and leader. If he dominated each possession (he could) he risked alienating his teammates. So on the court he was the hero and the sidekick. In practice, Fox would often defer to teammates. Hed pass on open layups to put other players in a position to score.Olatunbosun asked Fox why he played that way in practice. Why didnt he dominate? Why didnt he slash and score and dunk the way he did in games? Fox told him he had to make other players feel confident. If he took over, they might feel insignificant, he said.Two other kids on that team got scholarships (Devin Anderson at NAIA Friends University and?Josh Nebo?at St. Francis, Pennsylvania), Olatunbosun said. I would say that had a lot to do with him. He wouldnt score in practice. Ultimately, it was the right thing to do. He would not ball hog. He knew when to go and when not to go.Thats the next starting point guard for Calipari, a coach who recruited six of the top 40 assists leaders in the NBA last season.?But Fox will face grown men in the SEC and throughout college basketball, a leap for any freshman, even a projected lottery pick.Like those who played with his talented predecessors, however, Foxs teammates (many underclassmen), trust his leadership. Thats significant for a young team.He plays a lot like John Wall, Kentucky freshman Bam Adebayo said. Hes just left-handed. There you go. Little John Wall.Calipari said Fox is a special athlete, but he cant imagine any player, including Fox, outrunning Wall, perhaps the fastest player in the NBA.Fox and Wall do share an ability to see the game in slow motion even as they pace across the court like an auctioneer mumbles, the coach said. Calipari wants Fox to mimic Wall, who used his speed to attack opponents.Everyone says hes as fast as John Wall, Calipari said before pausing.?Stop. See, John Wall used his speed as a weapon. And it was his No. 1 weapon. Wasnt just a weapon, it was the weapon that he used to beat you. DeAaron doesnt see himself that way and Im trying to get him to just fly, man. Go at people, try to get to that rim and then, if its not there, lets play.Few will want to play Fox and a roster full of matchup problems.His performance at point guard, however, will impact a unit with the promise to become the nations most powerful offense, more probable if the Wildcats can shoot and execute against the zone schemes theyll see often in 2016-17.Fair or not, the comparisons to Wall will persist all season. Foxs skills and capabilities, coupled with Walls compliments, suggest theyre not crazy.I think hes more of a scoring guard than I was, Wall said. Im really excited to see what hes going to do this season. ' ' '
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests