We’re on the scene in Freedom Hall for the 2009 Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford will be participating for the Gold Team. As we move closer to tip-off, we’ll team with the Herald-Times for a live blog.
Considered by many to be the prize of Tom Crean’s 2009 recruiting class, Birmingham native Christian Watford showed off his skills Friday night in the Night of the Future Stars at Bellarmine University. Watford competed with Louisville signee Peyton Siva in the 2-on-2 contest and also participated in the dunk contest and 3-point shootout. Here are the highlights from Watford’s performance:
Future Indiana teammates Maurice Creek and Jordan Hulls advanced to the finals of the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Classic 3-point shootout Friday night at Knights Hall at Bellarmine University.
In total, four players advanced to the finals of the event which will be held at halftime of Saturday’s Derby Festival Classic game.
Creek led all shooters with 17 first round points while Hulls tied Louisville signee Mike Marra with 15 points.
Dunk contest: Creek and Christian Watford both participated in the preliminary round of the dunk contest, but neither advanced to Saturday’s final.
2-on-2 contest: Creek and UCLA signee Brendan Lane fell 13-8 in the final to Eric Bledsoe (undecided) and Rakeem Buckles (Louisville). Hulls, who teamed with Stephan Van Treese (Louisville) and Watford, who teamed with Peyton Siva (Louisville), both fell in the first round.
After watching him for a couple of hours yesterday, it’s not hard to see why Christian Watford is considered the prized recruit of Indiana’s 2009 class. He’s a legitimate 6-8, can play inside or outside and is extremely athletic. As is the case with most freshmen, he’ll need to put in work in the weight room over the summer, but he’s got a chance to be a very good player for the Hoosiers.
I caught up with Watford before yesterday’s practice for the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic and here are some excerpts from that conversation:
On what he’s looking to get out of the experience of playing with Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek this weekend:
“I’m looking forward to building a little chemistry together and keep it going on to Indiana. Just having fun with each other, that’s the main thing.”
On what ultimately led him to choosing Indiana:
“I knew Bennie Seltzer. He’s from Birmingham. When they were at Marquette, it was a little too far for me to go, but they moved closer to home. It was easier for me to get adapted to Indiana than it was Marquette. They just stayed on me hard the whole time. Colleges would sometimes lag off of me and come back on, but they stayed consistent the whole time.”
On what he got out of the recruiting process:
“I liked it. I tried to enjoy it. It only happens once in your life. Everybody doesn’t get a chance to go through it. I thought it was fun to get a chance to go through it.”
Three of the six Indiana signees – Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford – practiced together for the first time this afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. I’ll have more on the practice, including quotes from all three players, later this evening and tomorrow. For now, here’s a picture I took of the three of them before the workout:
Here are the final rosters for the 2009 Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford will play together on the Gold team. Inside the Hall will have coverage throughout the weekend beginning late on Thursday.
Maurice Creek, Indiana, 6’5″, 200, Guard
Tyler Griffey, Illinois, 6’8″, 230, Forward
Jon Hood, Kentucky, 6’7″, 190, Guard Jordan Hulls, Indiana, 6’0″, 170, Guard
Brendan Lane, UCLA, 6’9″, 205, Forward
Michael Snaer, Florida State, 6’4″, Guard
Daniel Orton, Kentucky, 6’10”, 260, Center Christian Watford, Indiana, 6’8″, 215, Forward
Maalik Wayns, Villanova, 6’1″, 190, Guard
Rodney Williams, Minnesota, 6’6″, Forward
Kyryl Natyazhko, Undecided, 6’11”, Center
Coaches: Vince Walden, IMG Academy – Florida; Lewis Howard, Largo H.S. – Maryland
Nolan Dennis, Memphis, 6’5″, 180, Guard
Rakeem Buckles, Louisvile, 6’8″, 203, Forward
Eric Bledsoe, Undecided, 6’0″, 160, Guard
Lakeem Jackson, South Carolina, 6’5″, 220, Forward
Elijah Johnson, Kansas, 6’2″, 183, Guard
Noel Johnson, USC, 6’7″, 180, Forward
Mike Marra, Louisville, 6’4″, 200, Guard
Eric Murphy, Florida, 6’10”, 220, Forward
Raymond Penn, Oklahoma State, 5’9″, 150, Guard
Peyton Siva, Louisville, 6’0″, 180, Guard
Stephan Van Treese, Louisville, 6’9″, 225, Forward
DaShonte Riley, Syracuse, 6’11”, Center
Coaches: David Gaines, Christ School- North Carolina; Andre Flynn, Fayette County H.S. – Georgia
Mark Shallcross, communications manager for the Kentucky Derby Festival, just sent along a press release with the rosters for the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.
Three Indiana players, Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, will compete April 11th at Freedom Hall and will also participate in the Night of the Future Stars on April 10 at Bellarmine University.
Creek, Hulls and Watford will join Mike Marra (Louisville), Rakeem Buckles (Louisville), Lorenzo Brown (NC State), Jon Hood (Kentucky), Lakeem Jackson (South Carolina), Elijah Johnson (Kansas), Noel Johnson (USC), Brendan Lane (UCLA), Eric Murphy (Florida), Daniel Orton (Kentucky), GJ Vilarino (Kentucky), Raymond Penn (Oklahoma State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Michael Snaer (Florida State), Stephan Van Treese (Louisville) and Maalik Wayns (Villanova).
Siva, Snaer and Wayns are McDonald’s All-American’s.
Ticket information: Basketball Classic tickets are $17 and $12 (includes $2 KEC facility fee) and are available at TicketMaster locations (www.ticketmaster.com), the Freedom Hall Ticket Office, or by phone (502) 361-3100 or (800) 487-1212.
Inside the Hall will have coverage of the Night of the Future Stars as well as the Derby Festival Classic.