Florida versus USA Hardwood Classic, currently scheduled for March 25th in Orlando, Florida. Based his significant hoops resume and national reputation, Gahanna Lincoln’s Stevie Taylor will represent Team USA as they face off against a team of Florida’s top basketball prospects.
Although the actual Hardwood Classic game is only in its 4th year, the event’s unsigned senior games (3 this year) have been around for 13 years. According to Jack Love, Event Founder and Executive Director, “the event started as a local unsigned senior game designed to generate exposure for kids from a 4-5 county area. The event has grown in prestige over the years.” Year five of the statewide event pitted East versus West all-stars, and 4 years ago, the Florida versus USA Hardwood Classic was formed. As proof of the event’s place on the national scene, for the first time in the event’s history, the Hardwood Classic will be played at the brand new Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic.
Love and his army of volunteers have grown this event from a 1-day showcase to the current 4-day format. Love is most proud of the numerous volunteers who have embraced the mission of the Classic. “People who work the event really treat the kids like their own kids; they treat them first class,” said Love. “It’s amazing how quickly the players and workers bond during the week,” continued Love. Love is also proud of the fact that the event is “fully sponsored by local business and organizations, is high quality and done with class.” Love added, “The event gives kids exposure to college coaches and provides the players with one last positive experience before they move onto college.”
For the 24 players invited to participate in the event, the list of activities is impressive, and include: a welcome reception for players and coaches; a trip to the NBA Center and Universal Orlando City Walk; attendance to the Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets shoot around; attendance to Magic vs New Jersey Nets basketball game with half-time on-court recognition and three-point shooting and slam dunk contests. In addition to the above activities, the players will participate in education workshops, and will be involved in a community service appearance in the Orlando community.
Though the final rosters will not be released until next week, some of the players already committed to this event include: DePaul bound, Shane Larkin (Fla); Western Kentucky commit, Cesar Guerrero (USA); Tyler Harris (USA); Adonis Barbage; Steve Moundou-Missi (USA); Wayne Martin Jr. (Fla), Kansas State pledge, Angel Rodriquez (Fla), UCF bound, Rod Days (Fla); Virginia Tech pledge, Robert Brown (Fla) and Temple commit, Will Cummings (Fla). Also, a few of the past participants include Miles Plumlee (Duke), Ian Miller (Florida State), Juwan Staten (Dayton), J.D. Weatherspoon (Ohio State), Glenn Rice Jr. (Georgia Tech), Travon Woodall (Pittsburgh), Jeremy Lamb (UCONN), Jared Swopshire (Louisville), Chandler Parson (Florida), London Warren (Dayton), Alec Ruoff (West Virginia) and Alonzo Gee (Alabama),
If you want to catch the action, the game will be broadcast on television and live-streamed throughout the world. Also, Buckeye Prep will be in Orlando to provide complete coverage of this prestigious event. To find additional information about the Hardwood Classic, visit their Facebook page.