My first McDonald’s All-American Game, the “Chi”(Chicago that its), second visit to the Windy City, first time was for well basketball and my last, well for basketball, the game I love. Excited, most definitely because it was a once in life time chance to see to University of Memphis commit Dedric Lawson, my nephew on the biggest stage in all of high school basketball, pinnacle of basketball, a basketball right of passage as it said on the game booklet and across both team buses on the outside of the team hotel. The 24 chosen, the best in the country from all over. Ben Simmons, the number 1 player virtually on everybody’s list, Cheick Diallo, Jaylen Brown, Antonio Blakeney, Isaiah Briscoe (Kentucky), Jalen Brunson (Villanova) super scorer Malik Newman and others, all stars in own right and respective state all under 1 roof. The crowning achievement , all the work, all the sacrificing, other friends hanging out, you working out, countless hours in the gym, the results, a McDonald’s All American
Chicago is well, Chicago, for a Memphian, a guy like me, it’s such a fast pace type of city especially in the downtown area. Everyone is walking, I guess that’s why in cities like Chicago and New York, you don’t have “Bookman” built people (my Goodtimes fans) and more straw built people in the North. In the South, we car riders, I don’t care if it’s up the street and around the corner, we cranking up, driving 5-6 minutes talking about walking there, are you out your mind, that’s to far. First night in, we arrive at 9:45 pm, grab the rental, it’s now almost 11:00 pm, another 40 minutes to the hotel and now it’s 11:45. Tired hungry and just ready to lay down but wait, we starving so White Castle it is. I know I know, why there, well considering the time and nothing being open, I had know choice, well I had a choice but I couldn’t pass up White Castle besides, it’s White Castle, those little onions the honey mustard but let me get back to the story. Next morning hop in the shower for an hour, in the room, it’s 74 degrees but why, well the Hilton downtown doesn’t cut on it’s on air that early in the year which is a reminder, never stay at the Hilton in downtown Chicago again, I’m sorry, I like cold hotel rooms.
Okay, let’s fast forward after driving around trying to find something to eat which reminds me, the parking in the downtown area, is unreal expensive, well for a guy like me, I’m from Memphis, we find places to park, we park but there, 12, 15, 17 dollars just to park in a parking garage, I would go broke just parking in Chicago. We meet up with big bro, my sister and the 3 Lawson brothers and head to Giordano’s for lunch and if you don’t know about this pizza place, it’s everything everyone says about it and more but also a little tad bit, Derrick is part owner. The Deep Dish, Chicken, Sausage, Mushroom, I’m full after 2 slices, yeah you would be full too, trust me but well worth every bite. Afterwards, a little window shopping and everyone is ready to go to the game and this is where the story gets interesting.
Let me say this, we get to the United Center and from the outside, I thought it would be nice or would be nicer than what it was and a from TV, its looks really nice but oh well, let’s continue. We walk up the ticket office, I see 50.00 on the wall which is what I figured we would pay anyway and also the other tickets, the 10.00 tickets in the I can’t see section or better known as the “nose bleed” section, no deals but wait , excuse me, do you guys want to buy some floor seats? They 95.00 dollars, I say no but my mind gets to wondering, man, once in a life time, she proceeds to say, she can go in after you pay, come back out and show you, they legit tickets and get you. My mind is still like, I don’t know but wait, can you drop the price of the tickets my wife ask? Well, we can do 80.00 dollars. More questions are in my mind like man, would be nice, I ask my wife what you think, she says buy them. Grab the tickets proceed to the inside, go through the scanner and uh oh, there is a problem with the tickets says the attendant. She then directs us another representative from the United Center, she says go with her and they will see what’s going on with your tickets. We walk down the hall way and I get the worse feeling. We get to the back and the tickets are coming up, what, refund. What does this mean basically? Well, we got duped by a scalper, whoever bought the original tickets, bought them, printed out the tickets and then went back in and got a refund for their money. Basically, the tickets we had were null and void. So again, what does this mean, In my Bob Barker from the Price is Right show, COME ON DOWN CHUCK, your the next idiot at the United Center.
I’m hot, I just lost out on 160.00 dollars and had to pay another 100.00 for new tickets and now my wife is going outside and I ask, where you going, “I’m going to find those two women”. I’m thinking to myself, it’s pointless, they gone but once again, COME ON DOWN, your the next idiot who’s still here after selling bogus tickets. I see her and immediately ask, where my chips and let’s just say some more choice words that I can’t say here. I wouldn’t do that to you, I’m still here says the woman but I then say, you weren’t expecting us to come back out here and see you again. I got all but 20.00 dollars of my money back and partly because I felt kind of sorry for her because her hustle is the scam people out of money and that has to be a horrible existence for anyone but never the less, a screwed up existence and a way to get herself hurt because there are a lot worse people out there than me.
Now to the game, what I was there for to watch, Dedric on this stage and I thought he played well for the most part. Yes, he had 2 points, he didn’t shoot the ball great but he showed flashes of what made him a top 20 player in the class of 2016 before he reclassified and a top 30 player in 2015. He was unselfish in what was I got it, I’m going with it type of game which is typical for the game, its a guard and wings game. He blocked a game high 3 shots, have 6 rebounds and 3 assists showing the mismatch 4 capability who will be hard to guard on the collegiate level. While there will always be detractors, I say this, this game was not indicative of the kind of player Dedric is and if you have watched him locally or nationally, you know why I say this. I was also impressed with Ben Simmons but I always am, to me, he looks like a Lebron type of player, not saying he’s this or going to be that good but he has some do it all do him, like that type. I think he’s a top 5 pick in the 2016 draft. Cheick Diallo was extremely active, motor on 10 and showed to skill set that I didn’t know he had. He’s more than a rebounder/shot blocker, showing some behind the back handle and finish. Others who I thought played well were Dwayne Bacon, Jaylen Brown, Isaiah Briscoe who will be attending the University of Kentucky but will be the much different from guards Cal has had in the previous years but he’s really good. I really like Brandon Ingram as well, a super long and skilled 3 who has star written all over him. Whoever gets him will get a top 10 pick in NBA draft whenever he comes out.
I would also like to welcome you to the new 901PrepScoop.com, we will of course talk a lot of basketball but don’t be surprised if you see some football and other sports here as well from time to time but I am at heart a basketball guy and I love this game. Thank to everyone who supports the site and continues to support. Let’s go another 7 years strong!