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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tarik Black and Hippolyte Tsafack Commit to Jack Jones Shootout

Prep all-star game will debut before Grizzlies' final home game
By Dan Wolken
Posted April 4, 2010

Four University of Memphis signees have been confirmed to participate in a new high school all-star game at FedExForum next Saturday in honor of local philanthropist John Paul Jones.

The Jack Jones Shootout, starting at 3 p.m. before the Grizzlies' final home game of the season against Philadelphia, will feature guards Antonio Barton and Sheffield's Chris Crawford as well as big men Tarik Black (Ridgeway) and Hippolyte Tsafack, representing four of the seven incoming freshmen from the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.

The game also will feature several other highly ranked players from around the country as well as four locals: Arkansas-bound Mardracus Wade and Minnesota signee Austin Hollins of Germantown, former Central guard Masceo Harmon and East's Jarekious Bradley.

The all-star game is the highlight of a weekend put together by Ernie Kuyper, general manager of the M33M AAU program, whose youth teams will play preceding the main event. The weekend will also feature clinics for local youth and a practice Friday night with former NBA coach Eric Musselman and former Virginia assistant Drew Diener.

The event is named after Jones, a noted basketball fan who regularly attends Tiger games and whose name adorns the arena at Virginia.

"Our ultimate vision is to have one weekend in Memphis where it's all about basketball," Kuyper said. "We'd like to rival the McDonald's (All-American) game eventually. It's going to be tough, but that's our future."

Fans who want to watch the Jack Jones Shootout will only be admitted to FedExForum with a ticket to the Grizzlies game that night; no separate tickets for the earlier events will be sold. The game will be streamed live on the Internet via the High School Sports Network at

Given the amount of Div. 1 talent that comes out of Memphis every year, Kuyper said this is a natural spot to have an all-star game. Though it may be difficult to get them all for the Jack Jones Shootout if they are invited to the McDonald's All-American Game or the Jordan Brand Classic -- by NCAA rule, players can only participate in two all-star games -- there's a second tier of players who deserve opportunities.

"(Ole Miss guard) Terrico White played in one all-star game, (Missouri forward) Laurence Bowers, those guys didn't get invited," Kuyper said. "For somebody like Austin Hollins, playing one more game in Memphis, at FedExForum, is a great thing for local basketball."

Kuyper assembled a solid roster of prospects from out of town, including future Minnesota center Elliot Eliason, Virginia forward James Johnson (ranked No. 99 by Rivals), 6-10 New Mexico signee Alex Kirk, Xavier signee Jordan Latham and UAB-bound guard Preston Purifoy.

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