Sunday, April 25, 1999

Local NBA hopefuls team up for Pelfrey event

UC, XU, UK standouts work for same goal

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION, Ky. — There was a Star Wars theme for Saturday's annual Doug Pelfrey Kicks for Kids Celebrity Shootout. Star Search would have worked just as well.

        The charity basketball event at Ryle High School approximated an NBA pre-draft camp. With an unusual glut of star seniors at the region's major colleges, many of the same players who have jockeyed in recent weeks for the eyes of pro scouts have found themselves fast friends on the pre-draft circuit.

        “Even though it's an every-man-for-himself business, you end up bonding with the guys you keep seeing,” University of Cincinnati guard Melvin Levett said. “We're all out trying to do the same thing, so it's easy to relate to each other.”

        Basketball makes strange bedfellows.

        Like Levett and Xavier's Lenny Brown, Crosstown Shootout rivals, playing on the same team last weekend at the Nike Desert Classic in Phoenix. Levett teaming with Xavier's other senior guard, Gary Lumpkin, earlier this month at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational. XU's James Posey teaming with Kentucky's Scott Padgett in Phoenix.

        “It was a different atmosphere in Phoenix, so it wasn't too weird,” Brown said. “I was one (point guard), Mel was two (shooting guard), and we played well. Maybe if we were playing in Cincinnati, it'd be different.”

        Said Levett: “I've always liked the playing style of the Xavier guys, so it's been fun. They're down to earth. We get along well.”

        Many claim a feeling of deja vu from four years ago.

        “I knew Lenny from playing against him in high school, and it's weird seeing guys like him after so long,” UK's Wayne Turner said. “It's like AAU (summer league play) all over again, except it's not college scouts in the crowd, it's NBA scouts.”

        Said Posey: “When you'd see guys like this in AAU, we were all trying to get to college. It feels the same, except now we're trying to get to the next level.”

        Saturday, most of the top talent took it easy. The Kentucky all-star team beat Cincinnati's all-stars 107-86, but Ken tucky's top two scorers were Bengals Jevon Langford (28 points, 12 rebounds) and Takeo Spikes (15 points).

        Of the talent on hand, there seemed eight potential NBA draftees and a handful of other pro hopefuls. Miami's Wally Szczerbiak is a possible lottery pick, while Padgett and Posey — who, along with Levett, made the seven-player all-tournament team in Phoenix — are likely first-round picks.

        Levett also was on the all-tournament team in Portsmouth, as was Brown.

        Those two, plus Turner, UK's Heshimu Evans and Miami's Damon Frierson, are sec ond-round hopefuls.

        Lumpkin, Miami's John Estick, Louisville's Eric Johnson and UC's Shawn Myrick also were on hand Saturday, each eyeing some form of professional ball.

        Many are awaiting invitations to the last and biggest pre-draft camp, in Chicago in early June.

        “If we don't go there and don't get drafted, we'll go to free-agent camps and try to make a team somewhere,” Frierson said. “We all want to keep playing ball.”

        Pelfrey said he expects this year's event to raise between $60,000 and $100,000 for his charity, which benefits disadvantaged youths.

        The next major event for Pelfrey's charity will be a golf outing July 29 at Triple Crown Country Club in Richwood, Ky.

        CINCINNATI ALL-STARS (86) — James Posey (XU) 8 0 22, Michael Horton (UC) 7 0 15, Artrell Hawkins (Bengal) 5 0 11, Lenny Brown (XU) 3 0 8, John Estick (MU) 3 0 7, Gary Lumpkin (XU) 2 0 6, Melvin Levett (UC) 3 0 6, Damon Frierson (MU) 2 0 6, Shawn Myrick (UC) 2 0 5, Wally Szczerbiak (MU) did not play. Totals: 35 0 86.

        KENTUCKY ALL-STARS (107) — Jevon Langford (Bengal) 14 0 28, Takeo Spikes (Bengal) 7 1 15, Scott Padgett (UK) 7 0 14, Heshimu Evans (UK) 7 0 14, Eric Johnson (UL) 7 0 14, Brian Simmons (Bengal) 4 0 8, Wayne Turner (UK) 3 0 6, Steve Foley (Bengal) 2 0 4, Bill Troilo (jockey) 1 2 4. Totals: 52 3 107.

        Cincinnati All-Stars ....... 26   23  15  22—86

        Kentucky All-Stars ....... 29  26  26  26—107

Three-point field goals: C--Posey 6, Brown 2, Lumpkin 2, Frierson 2, Hawkins, Horton, Myrick, Estick; K--none. Series record: Kentucky 6-0.


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