Morning Huddle: Five Ohio football stars land spot on ESPN Rise roster for 7-on-7 game


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Kids get chance to learn streetball from basketball legends

• Soon-to-be independent football team, Northwest, struggles to find opponents

• Quarterback Coyne among those selected for elite game

• Deconstructing the Lebron debate

Best in show: Badin quarterback Patrick Coyne was among five Ohio football players selected for the second annual Champion Gridiron Kings event July 24-25 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. “It’s an honor,” Coyne told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I definitely count my blessings for that.” The “elite high school football event” features 65 of the best players in the game’s seven skill positions – quarterback, running back, tight end, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and safety. The event will include performance training, position-specific training, skills challenges and a 7-on-7 competition. Joining Coyne are a handful of other highly recruited Ohio players: defensive backs Doran Grant (St. Vincent-St. Mary/Akron), Eilar Hardy (Pickerington Central) and Ron Tanner (Eastmoor/Columbus), as well as athlete Shaquille Washington (Maple Heights). The players will get hands-on training from 12 former pros, as they prepare for the 7-on-7 matchups. It’ll be interesting to see how the Midwest does against other regions. See the full, nationwide roster here.

Learn how to play streetball: Slots are still open for an Aug. 7 basketball camp with a group of legendary streetballers who went on to play pro basketball internationally. The camp costs $5 for students in grades 6-9 and will be held at Harvest Preparatory High School in Canal Winchester. The former pros include Spyda, Hot Sauce and Helicopter, and they’ll go over fundamentals with the young players as well as share stories from their lives.

“Several of these guys that are part of this legendary streetballers team have taken wrong turns in their lives, have done some things that have gotten them in trouble, and through this vehicle of basketball they’ve been able to get their lives on the right track,” says Curt Caffey of the Christian Athlete Impact Zone (CAIZ), the sponsors for the event. “Over and above, they’ve been able to position themselves as mentors for these future athtletes. I think one of the messages for the kids is to help them understand how sports mirrors life in regards to how the discipline in sports matches up with a lot of the disciplines in life.” The a.m. camp will be followed by an evening exhibition game between the streetballers and several former college stars including Brent Darby and Shun Jenkins who played for the Buckeyes. To learn more about the camp or public exhibition game, visit the CAIZ web site at, or call (614) 806-5683.

Game anyone? Anyone? Northwest athletic director Gary Woods has his hands full as he tries to fill the Northwest (Canal Fulton) football team’s schedule for 2011. As it stands, the Indians only have two opponents lined up: Canfield and Orrville. “The biggest problem I’m running into, is that I have, for Northwest, a tremendous sense of urgency,” Woods tells The Independent. “I call you up and say, ‘Hey, you’re open Week Nine. Do you want to play?’ I get back, ‘Well, let me talk to my football coach. Let me think about it.’ You’re sitting there with nine games looking for one. I’m sitting here with one game looking for nine. That’s what I’m getting.” This is Northwest’s last season in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference, and they’re knocking on all the doors they can to get matchups scheduled. So far, they’ve contacted Dover, New Philadelphia, Cambridge, Claymont, Youngstown Chaney and Poland Seminary among others. “You know what, if we have to play eight games on the road in 2011, the question is, is that better than not playing any games at all?” Woods asks.

A Cav no more? In a one-hour special on ESPN tonight, Lebron James will announce his decision after a frenzied free agency. All told, James visited with six teams: the Nets, Knicks, Heat, Clippers, Cavaliers and Bulls. Perhaps the best part of the negotiations have been the varied Internet comments that are popping up everywhere: “He’s just not a humble person,” writes Scardelletti on “This whole free agency thing is downright embarrassing,” adds jrolley325. “I don’t ever remember guys like Jordan, Bird or Magic ever acting like this. Just sign a contract, tweet it or whatever you do and be done with it. No need to make an hour-long event out of it. You play basketball. You’re not curing cancer. Get over yourself.” I, for one, disagree. It seems like the world does care, and I have no doubt that ESPN was jockeying with other media outlets for the chance to land the announcement. Not only that, but the glorified press conference should satisfy the media, and help James start focusing on basketball. Now, lets just hope he stays in Cleveland. If he does, we’ll put this circus behind us, and everyone will forget his hubris. If he doesn’t, well, he won’t really like showing his face in Ohio anymore.

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