Wins should be plentiful for local teams at Red Carpet Classic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 2006

Now that the Saints’ dramatic run from last to second in the NFC is over, it’s time to do a little housekeeping.

The Red Carpet Classic, no not the football edition, is scheduled for Saturday at Vicksburg High.

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The annual event is a six-game basketball marathon that historically has brought in some quality opponents.

The locals should have little trouble this year with the field being rather advantageous for Vicksburg, Warren Central and St. Aloysius, the host teams.

In addition to almost certain wins – I’m predicting at least five of six locals come out on top – it gives local fans a chance to see how other local schools play the game. With most high school games played on Tuesdays and Fridays, St. Aloysius fans rarely get to see basketball at the two public schools and vice versa.

St. Aloysius’ girls tip off the classic at 10 a.m. and the host Vicksburg boys will conclude the event with a 5:30 tipoff.

It will mark the final Red Carpet event until the highly anticipated football matchups in August between Vicksburg and Clarksdale, and Warren Central against South Panola.

We have a football showcase and a basketball showcase. Is the next move getting a Red Carpet Diamond Classic?

With the rise of baseball in this area, a number of former players here in college and the pros, and a future as bright as any sport, one wonders why a Red Carpet Diamond Classic wouldn’t work.

We have the fields. We have the teams. We can get the opponents. We have cooperative volunteers.

So what’s the holdup?

Chance at the big time

Michael Myers, a defensive lineman for the Denver Broncos, is currently the only player in the NFL who played high school ball in the county.

That may change this year as three former Vicksburg Gators will attend the NFL Combine in hopes of catching the eyes of pro scouts.

Mississippi State defensive back David Heard, a key cog in Vicksburg’s 2001 run to the North State championship, will join Grambling State lineman Andre Bennett and Ole Miss early entry Rory Johnson at the annual event in Indianapolis.

Players will be poked and prodded, weighed, timed, quizzed and be tested for both brains and drugs in an effort to give pro teams a feel for prospective players.

Heard has started 31 games in his Mississippi State career, including the last 28 in a row.

Johnson is the most physically gifted of the crop. His size and frame match the prototype for an NFL linebacker.

Johnson did play only one season at Ole Miss after two at Hinds. That lack of playing experience may cost him.

Bennett is built like a mountain, has starred since arriving at Grambling and could be the highest drafted of the three.