Monday, April 10, 2006
Tiger Signee Willie Kemp in All-Star Classic
Kemp at ease playing at Tigers' home
Bolivar Central star's 13 points, 8 assists lift team to victory in All-Star Classic
By Craig Wack, Commercial Appeal
April 9, 2006
University of Memphis basketball fans can take heart -- point guard signee Willie Kemp is very comfortable playing in FedExForum. The Bolivar Central star showed all of his skills in his future home arena Saturday at the Memphis All-Star Classic.
"I came out and my shot was falling," Kemp said. "I'm looking forward to coming up here and playing for the University of Memphis. It's going to be great for me to come up here and play." Kemp led the Black Team to a 92-71 victory over the Red Team with 13 points, eight assists and zero turnovers.
"We had a great game, I had some good perimeter players around me," Kemp said.
The game was an opportunity for Memphis's best players to have one more game in front of the home crowd.
Hamilton High's Jay Watkins, a San Francisco signee, did his best to put on a good show.
Watkins wowed the crowd -- and his teammates -- with an array of dunks and 3-point shots.
"He's a good player," said Wayne Chism, a Tennessee signee from Bolivar Central who was on the Red Team with Watkins on Saturday. "He came out and played good too. He had a couple of assists, blocks and 3-point shots. He got his own rebound and dunked it -- that's a sign of a good player."
Watkins led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting with six rebounds and two assists.
"Any time you have and all-star game, you are going to try and make it fun," Watkins said. "Especially me, I'm kinda the clown out there. I try to make everybody laugh and take the tension out of the game. This is our last game together playing with and against each other. So we're trying to make it a game we can all remember."
For the unsigned players, the game was an opportunity to make an impression on college scouts.
Darren Currie, who played on the Black Team, made the most of his opportunity.
Currie, who played for Class A Middle College, scored 11 points, was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and was 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He also dished out more than a couple flashy assists.
Currie said he has offers from Chattnooga, Austin Peay and Freed-Hardeman, but he said his play would maybe turn the heads of larger programs.
"Because my school is very small, I don't get much exposure like everybody else," Currie said. "But today I went out there and had fun."
Austin Peay signee Wes Channel of Ridgeway added 17 for the Black squad, while Mitchell's Brandon Powell (Florida) had 11.
-- Craig Wack: 529-2799