CANCER RESEARCH CLASSIC.
The Harlem Globetrotters, who will appear in Wheeling on Jan. 28, have nothing on some of the 12 teams who will compete today in the 4th Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit.
The touring Globetrotters have piled up millions of travel miles during the years but the ''road warrior'' label could be justified with some high school teams.
DeMatha Catholic of Hyattsville, Md., is one of the best-known programs in prep hoops and will be making its first appearance in the CFC. The 12-0 Stags, No. 7 in the Powerade FAB 50 ESPN RISE rankings, have already won a showdown in Ohio, plus the Les Schwab Classic in Portland, Ore., where they defeated two nationally ranked foes -Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, Nev., and Jesuit of Portland.
Next Saturday, DeMatha will take on FAB 50 No. 3 St. Anthony of Jersey City, N.J., in the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass. That is a matchup of the two high school programs that have produced the only two prep boys coaches enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame - current St. Anthony mentor BOB HURLEY and retired DeMatha coach MORGAN WOOTTEN.
DeMatha will face St. Andrew's of Barrington, R.I., and the Saints aren't strangers to road games. They earlier played in the National Prep Classic in California and will take on preseason FAB 50 No. 1 Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev., next weekend in the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield.
The three New York teams in the CRC all have track records with travel schedules. Rice of New York City has seen much of the nation's landscape during the last several years and, this season, competed in the established Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Christ The King of Middle Village was the preseason No.-1 ranked team in New York and its schedule included a trip to the prestigious City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., and will take part in the Hall of Fame event and a Prime Time Shootout in Virginia.
The other New York team competing in Wheeling, Mount Vernon, has already played in the Iolani Classic in Hawaii and will play in the Hall of Fame event.
Ohio is represented by No. 1-ranked Northland of Columbus, which returns 13 players from last season's 23-1 team and is No. 27 in the FAB 50. Veteran coach SATCH SULLINGER, father of current Ohio State freshman star and last year's Parade National Player of the Year JARED SULLINGER, will be taking his team to West Virginia twice this season. Besides the CRC opening game vs. Rice, Northland will take on defending W.Va. Class AAA champion Logan in the King Coal Classic.
The other three out-of-the-area teams in the CRC have good track records. A youthful Gonzaga team from Washington, D.C., already has competed in the Beach Ball event and will face Christ The King in Wheeling.
Another youthful team, Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia, will face Mount Vernon at the CRC. Last season, N-G finished No. 2 in the nation in the FAB 50 rankings.
Archbishop Carroll of Radnor, Pa., will take on unbeaten Wheeling Park, the No. 1 ranked W.Va. team, and St. Joseph's Prep of Philadelphia will face the other co-host team, Wheeling Central, in the nightcap.
Individually, the tournament will feature some of the top seniors in the land.
They include four players committed to Big East teams - Mt. Vernon point guard JABARI HINDS to West Virginia; MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS of St. Andrew's to Syracuse; DeMatha's MIKAEL HOPKINS to Georgetown; and Rice's JERMAINE SANDERS to Cincinnati. Northland junior JALEN ROBINSON has verballed to WVU.
The McDonough Center will be a showcase of high school roundball talent. The first of six games tips off at 12:30 p.,m.
(1) Don't be surprised if LSU coach LES MILES returns to Michigan as the head coach of the Wolverines. LSU played Texas A&M on Friday night in the Cotton Bowl. Miles rejected the Michigan overtures when previous coach LLOYD CARR stepped down in 2007 because LSU was involved in the BCS championship game. There's no such hurdle this time.
(2) The outgoing Michigan coach, RICH RODRIGUEZ, exited after the Wolverines suffered their worst bowl loss to Mississippi State. Wonder if he had any flashbacks to the "good old days" when he guided West Virginia to two straight victories against Mississippi State?
(3) It's no coincidence that DANA HOLGORSEN was tapped as the coach-in-waiting at WVU and Texas Christian U., which capped an unbeaten season and probably will finish No. 2 in the final polls, was admitted to the Big East Conference. Holgorson has hired three staffers - all with Southwest college experience, to join the former offensive guru at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech. Now, if only the four new coaches can bring some Southwest talent for the Mountaineers' roster.
(4) Enjoy the wintry weekend.