Shooting guard Xavier Henry (Oklahoma City) and center DaMarcus Cousins (Mobile, Ala.), a Memphis signee and a Memphis commitment, respectively, spent the days before Wednesday's McDonald's All-America game following the move of Tigers coach John Calipari to Kentucky. With Calipari now firmly entrenched in Lexington, Henry and Cousins played Wednesday unsure of their next step. Meanwhile, post Renardo SidneyJr., a USC commitment from Los Angeles, learned shortly after the East team's 113-110 win that he might face a similar predicament.
Midway through Wednesday's first half, FoxSports.com reported USC coach Tim Floyd interviewed for the opening at Arizona. Afterward, Sidney said he had no idea Floyd had planned to interview for another job, but that if Floyd left, he probably still would sign with USC. "I hope he doesn't leave," said Sidney, who scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds Wednesday. "If he does, then I probably would just stay. I think USC is a great program by itself."
Still, Sidney didn't seem completely convinced. He said he hopes Floyd makes a decision "before I sign" later this month.
Cousins, who scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, said he hadn't spoken to Calipari on Wednesday, and he declined to offer specifics about his options. "Ask me about that later this week," Cousins said. Like Sidney, Cousins has not signed a letter-of-intent, so he can sign with any school he chooses. Calipari probably will continue recruiting Cousins, but don't be surprised if new Alabama coach Anthony Grant tries to get Cousins to stay closer to home.
Henry's situation is a bit more complicated. Since he signed with Memphis in November, the school must release him from his letter-of-intent. Henry's family already has applied for that release, and Henry said he had a written agreement with Memphis that he would be released if Calipari left. Henry said he will return home and discuss his options with his parents, who both played basketball at Kansas. Henry said he probably will visit Kentucky and Kansas before he makes a decision.
"I just want to take as much time as I need to make a decision that's going to stick," Henry said. "It could be quick. It could be long. I just want my decision to stick."
Henry said he spoke to Calipari shortly before Calipari officially accepted the Kentucky job. "He just told me that he was leaving Memphis and that Kentucky was his dream school," Henry said. "He didn't want me to feel betrayed by him leaving Memphis. Like my dream of going to the NBA, his dream was going to Kentucky. He should follow his dreams, just like I'm following mine. If we cross paths, if I go to Kentucky, then it's still a good thing. If I don't, then I don't, but at least we'll be on the way to our dreams."
Certain players just look ready for the next level. Atlanta power forward Derrick Favors is a prime example. The Georgia Tech-bound Favors earned MVP honors Wednesday by scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He also probably earned the respect of a national TV audience.
The 6-9, 235-pounder showed off his speed and power, running the floor for dunks and fighting for rebounds, though, since it was an all-star game, he didn't have to put up much of a fight.
Also impressive in the post was Keith "Tiny" Gallon, whose nickname seemed a lot less ironic this week than it did last July at the Peach Jam. Then, the 6-9 Gallon weighed 350 pounds. Wednesday, the Oklahoma signee played at 290. He's faster, quicker and stronger, and without all that weight, he's probably less susceptible to foul trouble because he doesn't tire as easily.
Gallon said he lost the weight with an eat-less, exercise-more diet that cut out fast food and sodas. He even had to refrain from enjoying too much of the title sponsor's products. "We had McDonalds," Gallon said. "I ate a chicken sandwich and I was done."
Come November, tune in to a Louisville game. You won't be disappointed.
Future Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva was by far the most fun player to watch this week. Monday, the 6-footer from Seattle was a dark-horse contender in the slam dunk contest, and he threw down a beauty after catching a ball bounced off the side of the backboard.
Wednesday, Siva dished out nine assists and radiated joy on the court. His signature moment came on a breakaway. Texas-bound guard Avery Bradley Jr. ran stride for stride with Siva, but Siva leaped and whirled 360 degrees before he laid the ball in the basket. Later, Siva would joke that he only went with the layup to spare Bradley's pride. "That's my guy, Avery," Siva said. "I'm not going to dunk on him."