August 27, 2010
Someone want to tell John Calipari about this?
"I'm taking my talents to South Beach" is a quote that will live on in sports infamy, no doubt. Will 2010 give us seven words that can ring louder?
When LeBron James said them during "The Decision" on ESPN in July, one of the happiest men in Miami outside of anyone working for the Miami Heat had to be Hurricanes coach Frank Haith. Say what you will about the way James went about his business — the man opened up a dinner table-sized window for Haith.
LeBron's presence in the city meant it was possible there'd be a trickle-down effect on recruiting at the U. James, who has become buddy-buddy with Calipari, has a new college coach to befriend and promote, even if not directly.
To wit: James surprised the 'Canes at a practice Thursday, showing up a with a bevy of NBA talent to run game with. From AP:
The NBA's two-time reigning MVP and some of his new Miami Heat teammates made a surprise stop at the university's basketball facility for some informal scrimmaging against the Hurricanes. James, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Patrick Beverley and New Orleans guard Chris Paul — a close friend of James — played pickup for more than an hour.
That probably made the walk-ons' dreams, being in the same gym with James and Paul. Miami, which finished at the bottom of the barrel, 4-12, in the ACC last year, could really use all the positive morale it can get.
It's not uncommon for NBA players to ball with college guys, but obviously we've never seen a move in the NBA come with as much noise as LeBron's, so his appearance in any gym of any size is going to attract attention.
James can't officially help the Hurricanes recruit, but his aura lingering in and around the U's program will only bolster Haith's chances of bringing in big talent — and keeping a job.