Future Mountaineers on display tonight at Scott Brown Classic
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Vic Herbert might be sort of torn tonight as he coaches in the 24th Scott Brown Classic at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Herbert, the boys basketball coach at South Charleston, is honored to have been selected to coach the Little General All-Stars - that's the team with four West Virginia University signees and state player of the year Donte' Grantham of Martinsburg - in tonight's event.
But Herbert is a defensive coach at heart, and he may have to bite his tongue if the national game featuring 14 future Division I players turns into a freewheeling score-athon, as many all-star games do.
"It's going to be a lot of fun,'' Herbert said, "but you know how all-star games are - and I'm a defensive guy. I don't know how this is going to work.
"Here's what I'm going to tell them at practice: I'll give you 20 minutes [the first half] and the first five minutes of the second half, then the ones who guard on defense are going to play the rest of the game. Hopefully they understand that. I can't stand someone just going through the motions, on the offensive or defensive end. Some all-star games can get like that.''
Bob Bolen, the former coach at Mountain State University, did a superb job lining up talent for the Scott Brown Classic, which is actually two all-star games in one. The first game at 4 p.m. today pits Class AA standouts from West Virginia high schools against Class A stars (see rosters, Page 2B).
The game that's caused all the buzz, however, is the 6 p.m. national contest that's being billed as the third-best all-star game in the East, trailing only last week's McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center in Chicago and the Jordan Brand Classic today at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In the national game, four WVU recruits have been placed on one squad - the Little General All-Stars - along with Grantham, a non-committed 6-foot-7 forward from Class AAA state champion Martinsburg who's been offered scholarships by several Division I programs, including WVU.
The other squad - the Crossroads Chevy All-Stars - is stocked with three of the top players from Huntington Prep's powerhouse team, as well as three from Massanutten Military Academy (Va.), including former Hedgesville all-stater Q.J. Peterson. Huntington Prep's top talent, Gatorade national player of the year Andrew Wiggins, is competing at the Jordan Brand Classic.
The four new Mountaineers on the Little General squad are 6-9 Nathan Adrian, the all-stater from Morgantown; 6-10 Brandon Watkins of Grady, Ga., the nephew of former Greenbrier East and WVU standout Warren Baker; 6-9 Elijah Macon of Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.); and 6-8 Devin Williams of Montverde Academy (Fla.).
"It's a neat thing. It's taken a lot of work, but I had a lot of time on my hands this year,'' said Bolen, whose job at Mountain State disappeared when the school closed last year. "People in southern West Virginia really enjoyed watching Mountain State and they haven't gotten to see production on the floor like that all year.
"This [game] just kind of came together. It was a pretty easy sell to get all these WVU kids to play their first game in West Virginia. They're all excited about that. The original plan was maybe to split them up, but I got a call from Rob Fulford [coach of Huntington Prep, about adding his players]. I know people in the state live to see WVU kids, and I know they didn't have a good year, but these four signees are being counted on to come in and play and we thought it'd be a good idea to put them all on one team.''
The Huntington Prep trio playing on the Crossroads Chevy team is comprised of 6-0 point guard Travon Landry (who's headed to Tennessee), 6-9 Moses Kingsley (Arkansas) and 6-9 Dominic Woodson (Baylor).
"It's not like we're going to be playing against Swiss cheese,'' Herbert said of the Crossroads Chevy team. "They're going to be loaded, too. They've got guys going to Virginia Tech, Utah, Baylor, Tennessee, VMI - you name it. Unless you've coached at the college level, you've never coached that kind of talent all on one team.''
Ryan Arrowood, a former Mountain State assistant coach and current assistant to Fulford at Huntington Prep, will direct the Crossroads Chevy squad, and will be helped by a pair of former Woodrow Wilson standouts - Jason Slay, now an assistant coach at Hargrave Military Academy, and Shane Maynard, an assistant at Massanutten Military Academy.
The event, which is named after the late Scott Brown, a former Beckley Register-Herald sportswriter, previously paired West Virginia Class AAA standouts against their AA-A counterparts in a single game.
Bolen, however, saw a chance to spruce it up this season, and is considering making it a permanent change.
"I don't know, it's been pretty enjoyable putting it together,'' Bolen said. "We may do it every year.
"I'm not a big all-star kind of guy for just sitting there and watching, but when you can put something against something to make them play . . . single-A kids want to beat double-A kids. All those Huntington Prep kids want to beat those other [WVU] kids. I think people prefer that kind of game. It's not just throw it off the backboard and dunk it. I ran this game for 24 years as triple-A against double-A and single-A. It's always been about competition and never been just a show.''
Some of the state's top AAA players are sprinkled onto either roster in the national game. Playing for Little General are Andrew Johnson (Woodrow Wilson), Ryan Meadows (Princeton), Ra'Shaud Kincaid and Hunter Moles (SC) and Chase Connor (Shady Spring). On the Crossroads squad is Jalen Lewis (Martinsburg).
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.