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Demetrious Johnson All-Star game...


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The St. Louis Metro All-Stars defeated the National All-Stars 116-112 tonight at Fontbonne University.

DeSmet grad Blake Ahearn scored 41 points. A 6-foot-3 guard headed to Southwest Missouri State in the fall, Ahearn made six 3-pointers in the game -- including a couple from NBA range -- and knocked down all 11 of his free throws in the fourth quarter.

University of Missouri recruit Thomas Gardner and South Carolina recruit Renaldo Balkman led the National squad with 18 points apiece. A 6-5 swingman, Gardner displayed an impressive outside shot, while Balkman, a 6-8 forward, did most of his damage around the basket and had several highlight-worthy dunks. Chicago Whitney Young High point guard Anthony Harris, who is headed to Miami, added 16 points, while Illinois recruit Warren Carter scored 10.

The St. Louis University-bound duo of 7-footer Bryce Husak and 6-4 guard Darren Clarke combined for five points. Husak, who played sparingly in the first half, scored four point on a pair of putbacks. Clarke, who displayed a lot of athleticism in warmups, played point guard and made one highlight pass for an assist.

Southern Illinois recruit Randal Falker, a 6-7 forward from Gateway Tech High, scored 16 points for the Metro squad. Warrenton guard Brett Ledbetter, who is headed to Southwestern Illinois next year, added 14 points.

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My 2 cents:

Ahearn was on tonight. He was on fire in the first half and really had his outside shot working. He looked like he came out with a chip on each shoulder, and out-played everyone on the floor. In addition to scoring a ton of points, Ahearn also had a handful of assists and really got his teammates going. The St. Louis suqad looked hesitant at first, like they were a little intimidate, and several guys passed up shots that they could have knocked down. Ahearn scored his team's first four points and, even though the National squad jumped in front early, he kept his team in the game and gave them a spark. Ahearn showed a lot tonight -- and there were probably a lot of Billiken fans in the house that wished he was a St. Louis U. recruit, instead of Clarke and Husak.

Carter, the Illinois recruit, was decent. He was a lot skinnier than I had imagined he would be. He is like a slashing small forward, but at 6-9 he has the ability to score inside. I think he could be a decent player off the bench for Bruce Weber.

The St. Louis U. recruits didn't show much. Husak is tall and has bleached-blonde hair. He's not the worst 7-footer that I've ever seen, but I saw much better 7-footers at the Nike Hoop Jamboree recently. Clarke looks like a physical guard who can play the point or shooting guard spot. I don't remember him shooting the ball from the outside, but he can definitely handle it a little bit. Based on what he did tonight, I think the Bills could have gotten the same type of player from somewhere in St. Louis County -- maybe even in South City at the Ahearn household.

Gardner will be a good player for the Tigers. He can knock down the 3-pointer and is strong enough that he won't get pushed around by the other guards of the Big 12 Conference. Gardner will have a very good career in Columbia, probably starting at shooting guard his sophomore or junior season and averaging in double figures soon after that.

- Nate

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You reported that he scored 18; I had him for 21. Did I possibly credit him for a three-pointer that someone else hit? I know he hit two in the first half, and I thought he hit three in the fourth quarter. Were you reporting from the "official" stats?

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I don't know anything about Darren Horton, either, but on tigerboard there's some question or thought that he may be related to a Mizzou 2004 recruit, Jason Horton. IF that's true, then it could be that Mizzou alum Demetrious Johnson is trying to boost Missouri's chances of landing the recruit by tabbing his Dad (or relative) to be the national team coach at a prestigious all-star game.

I'm not saying that's good, I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying. Besides, I could be way off base, anyway.

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Maybe DJ trying to make good for the whole Mckinney fiasco that he basically instigated. Jason Horton's father's name is Daryl Horton so I don't know if this is the same guy. He was the head coach of his son's AAU team until recently.

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I'm not sure about this but I believe the coach of the National All-Star squad WAS Daryl Horton, and his name was mispelled -- like a couple others -- on the roster. I was sitting behind the TV guys and I think I saw one of them had scratched off Darren and wrote in Daryl.

But like I said, I'm not sure.

- Nate

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if that is true, it was a very slick recruiting move by the tigers considering the ego's most of these aau guys have.

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Would a guy come up all the way from Texas to coach a low level HS all-star game?

Has anyone considered that this guy could've been related to Onion Horton? Only other Horton I know of who could possibly get tabbed as coach.

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Lets face it I didn't exactly see LeBron James playing there. The highest rated player was Gardner nad he was lucky to break the top 50 in most lists.

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I don’t know the answer but if the “charitable foundation†paid for the flight, hotel room and maybe even an appearance fee for this coach he must be the next John Wooden.

The fact the charity foundation is run by one of Mizzou’s biggest boosters and the fact the coach is father to a top 20 senior-to-be very interested in attending Mizzou had nothing to do with it.

If Horton paid his own way and for room and board then I’ll take it all back.

Here’s an idea…maybe Cusumano and Ramsey should put together a charity foundation, get plenty of Billiken fans to contribute to it and then pay the parents of Lisch, Grimes’ Liddell, Polk and Shaw to come speak.

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boy that does smell. i wonder if anyone has or will ask demetrius to tell us if horton's dad got paid or the freebies for coming up and being that coach? frank c. ask for us?

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For one thing, I don't see anything other than a good tactic. A Mizzou alum sees that his alma mater is recruiting a highly-regarded kid whose dad is his AAU coach. (Perhaps he's even a good coach, though Saturday night didn't exactly demonstrate it.) Therefore, he invites him to be the national squad coach at his annual all-star showcase. Who else should he have asked, anyone as long as it was "recruiting-neutral" to fans of every other Div. I program? What good would that do him? Are you telling Demetrious Johnson that he can't be a booster for his alma mater? Does it create an advantage for Missouri? Maybe (or maybe not), but it will still be up to the Missouri coaching staff to close or break the deal with the recruit. Please show me where it says in the NCAA bylaws that it's against the rules for a coach to get expenses. If Johnson says, "Get your son to commit to Missouri, and I'll bring you up to coach an all-star squad in St. Louis," then it's flat-out wrong -- he's gotten into recruiting -- but if he just calls him up and says, "You're my first choice to coach an all-star squad in St. Louis; I'll pay your expenses," then it's just a good tactic.

Second, I don't want there to be a SLU-induced inquiry into DJ's motives for inviting this particular coach (I already know what they were), because Johnson has no particular affinity for SLU. He doesn't have to invite SLU's incoming recruits to play in his all-star game, particularly if they're not nationally regarded in the top 50 or 100. He does it because he's in (and from) St. Louis, the game is in St. Louis, and many basketball fans around here would be interested in having an early look at SLU's incoming high-school recruits. However, should we tick him off by pointedly questioning his selection processes, he may begin to not invite SLU's below-top-notch recruits.

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so you see nothing wrong with a very active and vocal tiger booster that runs an all-star game bringing in the father of the tiger's top recruiting target for next year to coach this all-star team that he has nothing to do with and keep in mind mr horton has never coached this team before, now getting cash and prizes for this grand gesture that could have just as easily been fulfilled by any of the local high school or aau coaches?

i guess then as someone else has presented, maybe a slu booster should start his all-star game and pay rusty lisch to coach it as well. and dont give me the experience line, rusty coaches/has coached all of his kids summer league teams since they have been able to walk and imo that is about as much experience as any aau coach would have.

i couldnt care less if johnson invites the slu players or not. as was stated above, other than getting the kids to the game, that is about the extent of effort that is put into making the slu players stand out. yet mckinney and gardiner are given perferred minutes and roles. i.e. the game is a highlight opp for the tiger player(s) imo.

as to the crime, i get mailed information each year about the extent of involvement a booster can have with a program and those players that the program has on scholarship and is recruiting. ultimately the program is responsible for the actions of the boosters even if the boosters are acting on their own. (see michigan) and if the actions incurred by the booster are obvious to all concerned and the missouri a.d. and coach do nothing, imo that exhibits lack of institutional control big time.

i have no problem with the game itself, but to out of nowhere bring in the father of the top recruiting target and compensate him for doing a joke of a job, doesnt seem to be within ncaa guidlines or close to ethical.

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...but you're as big of a spin-doctor as there is when it comes to Missouri. Just as I've had to deal with MakeShift and his makeshift arguments against SLU on Tigerboard, I have to deal with you and your conspiracy theories against Missouri here.

You still haven't shown me any NCAA regulation that what DJ did was against the rules. You can't hide behind the bluster of saying it's not ethical just because it's subtle and benefits the program you love to hate.

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if there is no rule to govern paying recruits parents for temporary employement that does not require a special skill that that parent might possess i would be shocked. the possibilities of exploitation of such opportunities are mind boggling.

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...Show Me

Show me the rule, Roy; don't just say you'd be shocked if it didn't exist.

Here are some points for you to consider:

The NCAA allows defrayment of expenses; paying the way for a coach to get to the game does not constitute paying the coach.

This thing was done by Demetrious Johnson, organizer of an event, not the U. of Missouri.

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I'll start by saying I don't have an NCAA rule book in front of me.

I'm guessing that Daryl Horton didn't have to pay for his plane ticket to St. Louis and didn't pay for his hotel room. The same probably goes for all the national kids that played in the game. (Why would those kids pay several hundred dollars to play in a second-rate all-star game in St. Louis? They wouldn't.) But I really doubt Horton was paid for his "services" or received any kind of gifts. If he did, that COULD be a violation.

Roy, I don't see how you could argue that the Missouri recruits, Jimmy McKinney and Thomas Gardner, got undeserved preferential treatment the last two years. I hate to use the word "star" in reference to a high school athlete, but McKinney was as close as a star in St. Louis as you'll find anywhere. He led Vashon to three state championships and helped the Wolverines gain national recognition. He wasn't the highest-rated recruit in the game last year, but he was obviously the fan favorite. Thomas Gardner WAS the highest-rated recruit in the game this year and he deserved to get more minutes than the rest of his teammates. He was also probably the best player the National squad had on Saturday night. I know Bryce Husak started the game -- I'm not sure about Darren Clarke -- but neither of the SLU looked particularly good Saturday. There were better players on the national roster that deserved more minutes, but the SLU duo got their fare share of time.

- Nate

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nate i wont defend bryce's clock. sounds to me as it would have been better he didnt show or begged off for an "injury". but clarke didnt deserve to have to play the point. all we have been told is that he was a wing. and he has to come to his first public showing in st louis and play a position he may have never played. in fact, if you think about that, the fact he did a credible job of running the show tells me that he might be even better than we all thought.

btw, a free plane ticket and hotel room, with meals and transportation provided is likely considered income i.e. "pay" by the internal revenue service. was he here alone? i.e. did he make it a short vacation? if so, let me know how i can get in on some of these coaching gigs for similar events out of town. whitewash it all you want nate, but it is more than coincidence that horton was the coach and you know it. if not, wouldnt the "charity" have been better served using a local basketball enthusiast or coach to handle the duties of this nite? ulterior motives screaming out.

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Obviously none of us know the rules here, but I honestly don't have a problem with it(and i dislike mizzou very much). DJ had the right to pick any coach in the country and chances are most of those coaches have kids that play basketball. Who's to say what schools are looking at what kids and how young do u go? What if they guy kid is eight years old then he becomes the next MJ? 15 years later is the school in question gonna have NCAA sanctions?. I think there is a very fine line here, one too small to define a rule or penalize a program for.

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>in fact, if you think

>about that, the fact he did a credible job of running the

>show tells me that he might be even better than we all

>thought.

Agree with you here, Roy. I thought Clarke did a decent job passing the ball and getting it to his teammates in position for them to score. He didn't shoot the ball well. Thats the only knock against how the kid played Saturday. I think he did fine.

>whitewash it all you want nate, but it

>is more than coincidence that horton was the coach and you

>know it. if not, wouldnt the "charity" have been better

>served using a local basketball enthusiast or coach to

>handle the duties of this nite? ulterior motives screaming

>out.

Agree with you again, Roy. It's smells really, really fishy. BUT I don't think it is against the rules. All we know about the guy -- or think we know -- is that he is the father of one of Mizzou's primary recruiting targets. Horton could be one of the best coaches in Texas, too. Who knows? The "charity" might have been better off having Travis Lawrence from Gateway Tech coach the national squad.

- Nate

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I find it strange that a charity sees it nessasary to fly in a coach from Texas and pay for his hotel room, when there are dozens of area coaches who would have done it for free(even some who would have given money to the charity to have the privelege of coaching it). I believe this is a valid issue, I will call Frank up tomorrow on his show and see what he says about it, unless Tiger Tim cuts me off.

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In case it hasn't been clear by my posting here, I don't care about Mizzou, St. Louis U. or Illinois. I am a (struggling) sportswriter and I am a basketball fan.

I want to see all three of the local teams do well. I liked Bill Self. He seemed like a nice guy -- not just a coach -- from my limited experience with him. (I haven't met Quin Snyder, but I do like Gary Pinkel and think he's a good coach and a nicer person.) I like the two SLU assistant coaches I met last season while watching local high school games. I even offered some insight to help them out with a couple of the players they were looking at.

I come to this site to interact with passionate basketball fans, like Billiken Roy or THicks or thetorch, because I am a basketball fan, too. If I have any information you guys might be interested in -- like that Nebraska and SLU had offered Luke Meyer a scholarship -- I will share that. On some occasions, I will offer my opinions. One thing I believe strongly in is that SLU needs to recruit local basketball players if it wants to build a strong program.

- Nate

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