Make no mistake, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to being in weird environments. Last year, I helped set the Guinness Record for participating in the largest gathering of zombies. But from a sports perspective, sitting at the Hoophall Classic last week, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but think the whole thing was pretty perverse.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not about to tell you itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entirely possible to make decisive empirical conclusions based on watching someone, particularly a high schooler, play exactly one game. With that disclaimer, I think it is possible to frame an idea of what a playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strengths and weaknesses are. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of my favorite pastimes at high school tourneys: trying to figure out what a player is going to be like on the next level.
I caught most of the games on Sunday and all of them on Monday, and here are some thoughts on some of the significant players I saw last weekend at Hoophall.
Right before Christmas, I flew down to North Carolina to visit Duke, something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d previously done five times since I graduated in 2001. Though a lot remains unchanged in my life since my last trip three years ago Ã¢â‚¬â€œ same job, same apartment, same obsessive sneaker collection Ã¢â‚¬â€œ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve since met my future wife, which qualifies as a very significant positive change.
When we stopped for a snack at the general store adjacent to my freshman year dorm, a couple of wide-eyed freshmen, still shell-shocked from their first final exams, asked me what had changed about Duke in the thousand years since IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been a student, and it got me to thinking.