Sunday, February 7, 2016

Don Marshall RAM "E" Classic

This weekend Pulaski County High School hosted the "Don Marshall RAM 'E' Classic", which is affiliated with Tanager Sports. While attending this afternoon's session, I got the chance to watch some of nation's best 2016 and 2017 prospects. 

Here are some of the stands outs from this weekend--
Sacha Killeya-Jones (ESPN #27 player-Virginia Episcopal, committed to play for The University of Kentucky)
Jared Vanderbilt (ESPN #7 player)
Josh Jackson (ESPN #3 player)
Deandre Ayton (ESPN #1 player)
Thon Maker (#1 International Player)
Miles Bridges (ESPN #6 player, committed to Michigan State
Trevon Duvai (ESPN #4 player)
Billy Preston (ESPN #6 player)

The University of Alabama's coaching staff was also in attendance this afternoon. In between games, I was able to get two quick interviews with Deandre Ayton and Miles Bridges, posted below! 
Deandre Ayton

You're ESPN's #1 ranked player for the class of 2017, how does that feel, knowing that? 
Ayton: AH! It feels great. There's a lot resting on my shoulders but that's what motivates me the most. It keeps me up and aware of the fact I still have to keep working to maintain my spot. 

What's it mean to you that you have offers from some of the most elite programs in all of college basketball? 
Ayton: It's another motivation to keep me going, I want more to come and a lot more love! I like that. I love attention especially receiving it for doing what I love, its fun!

What would you recommend to young athletes who hope to be in your shoes one day?
Ayton: It takes a ton of hard work and dedication, you gotta be ready for that. You gotta fight through every trial and tribulation that comes your way.

Ayton is being pursued by numerous college basketball programs and has recently released his top 3, which are UK, Kansas, and Duke (no order.) Deandre, if you're reading this, Big Blue Nation would love to have you!
I really enjoyed watching him play today and was very impressed with the positivity he kept throughout the game. Every time he came out, there wasn't anything negative about him. He sat on the bench and motivated his team the entire time. I loved watching his passion for the game. 
Good luck with your future Deandre! 
Nice to meet Alabama's head coach, Avery Johnson!
Miles Bridges 

Earlier you attempted a dunk that didn't quite go in but managed to shatter the ceiling light! You ever done anything like that before?
Bridges: Nah, no never! That was crazy.

What's it like playing against Jared Vanderbilt?Bridges: He's great player and a tough player to guard. I love having challenges for games and I like our match ups.

What type of advice would you give to younger players who hope to one day be in your shoes?
Bridges: Just continue to work hard, just play your game, and really listen to your coach. If you do those things you're on the right track.

What influenced your decision to commit to Michigan State? Bridges: Distance wise it's only 45 minutes away from home which makes it more convenient for my family to be able to watch me play. I really loved the coaching staff and everything it had to offer.

Is it hard to manage keeping up with your school work when you have tournaments so far away, frequently? Bridges: No, we're lucky enough to have a lady (teacher) travel with us to help us out and she knows what we need to be successful. She knows a lot and keeps all of us focused and we're all real lucky!

Do you still keep in contact with former teammate, Andrew Wiggins? 
Bridges: Yeah I still talk to him occasionally, he's great at always being sure to give me some good advice and keep me motivated. He keeps it real when telling me what I need to work on and I like that. 
         I appreciate Bridges taking time out for my quick interview. I would also like to mention this guy is a BEAST! In the game I watched today, I felt like he dunked every time I looked up. The entire gym was in awe the whole game! When he came out towards the end, he even got a huge standing ovation. I'm still slightly bitter he didn't choose UK, :-/ but I want to wish him the very best of luck at Michigan State! 

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