Holiday tournaments have become the norm in high school basketball these days, but never have we seen anything like the “Throwdown in Motown.”
There was a plethora of talent on the court in the “Throwdown,” and it started with the fabulous Detroit native Josh Jackson, who led Detroit Consortium to the 2014 Class C state championship as a sophomore before transferring to a high school in Napa, Calif., to play for Prolific Prep.
And then there was the electrifying Flint native Miles Bridges, who signed with Michigan State and plays for Huntington Prep, a school in West Virginia that also logs a lot of miles looking for games.
The two-day event featured two sets of three games with more talent on display than we will see at the Breslin Center in March when the Michigan High School Athletic Association hands out four state championship trophies.
But the players who advance to the Breslin Center in March will play out-of-their-minds hard. The players at the “Throwdown”? Not so much.
By all rights, this event should have sold out any high school venue in the state, but this was not held in a high school gym. You needed a GPS to find the event at … HYPE Recreation Center in Dearborn Heights.
You could say the HYPE facility was packed, and it was … with between 150 and 200 people.
The problems with the venue were many. First and foremost, there was almost no fan seating. Chairs were set up around the court, and behind them were bleachers only three rows high.
And the court was nowhere near a 94-foot court. It even seemed shorter than 84 feet, the minimum allowed for high school play.
And there was no line of people trying to get in. One of the reasons may have been the cost: $25.
If you think charging $10 for holiday tournaments is too much, then you had to love the “Throwdown” demanding $25 from fans who were there basically to see one game — Jackson’s Prolific Prep team against Bridges’ Huntington Prep team.
Then the game began.
This was nothing more than the combination of the worst possible AAU game meets open gym.
Other than Jackson, a terrific player, few players seemed interested in passing, and they weren’t bashful about launching shots as soon as the ball hit their hands. There was nothing to stop them, because even fewer players showed the least bit of interest in playing defense.
Instead we had a series of highlight-tape plays. Bridges threw down an amazing tomahawk dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
But those few good plays were outnumbered by plays like the time Jackson stole the ball and not a single player on the other team made a move to get back on defense, preferring to stand and watch as he headed down court for an uncontested dunk.
This was more like a dog-and-pony show than a basketball game.
Essentially the “Throwdown in Motown” was nothing more than a money grab. Let’s hope we never see it again.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.