Robinson will coach, Phelps won’t play in all-star hoops classic|[03/20/08]
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2008
Fate may have denied Vicksburg High basketball coach Dellie C. Robinson a second state championship, but tonight the veteran coach gets to help the Mississippi keep the upper hand against Alabama in the Mississippi Alabama Boys All-Star Classic in Pelham, Ala.
The 18th annual game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Pelham Civic Complex. Mississippi leads the series 9-8 and has won the last two games, including last year’s 118-113 decision.
Warren Central girls coach Donny Fuller is again the administrative coach for the Mississippi girls all-star team. Their game with Alabama tips off at 5 p.m.. Alabama holds the lead in that series at 9-8 after winning last year’s game 90-65.
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Vicksburg High guard Jonathan Phelps, however, will not play. Phelps, the 2007 Vicksburg Post Player of the Year, injured his knee in the Class 4A North State Championship game in Oxford and then missed the Gators’ state tournament game against Moss Point.
“Phelps is not going to play,” Robinson said this week before departing for workouts with the Mississippi All-Stars, which began on Tuesday. “Chris Wallace of Wingfield will take his place.”
Phelps had his knee repaired four days after the Gators were beaten by Moss Point at the state tournament.
“It’s feeling better but I can’t play until late April,” Phelps said. He will miss an opportunity to reconnect with some of the players he played with in last July’s Mississippi Coca-Cola All-Star game when he helped the North to a new team scoring record in trouncing the South.
“Yeah, it would’ve been fun playing with those guys again. But at least I got to see them up in Tupelo during the Grand Slam Tournament. We had a lot of fun just chilling at the hotel,” Phelps said.
Phelps and Robinson were in Tupelo to be introduced as members of the Mississippi All-Stars. Five of Phelps’ teammates in the July all-star game will be playing for Robinson and Mississippi head coach Drew Tyler of Oxford. They include 6-foot-10 New Hope center Rashanti Harris, University of Connecticut signee Scottie Haralson, 6-8 center Latavious Williams of Starkville, and Romero Osby of Northeast Lauderdale.
Osby signed early with Mississippi State while Haralson led Provine to the Class 5A title. Harris, whose team beat the Gators 61-58 in the north state finals, paced New Hope to the 4A title.
Robinson said the big challenge for the Mississippians will be Alabama’s size.
“They’re big. They’ve got a 6-11 center, who’s already been signed,” Robinson said in reference to Alabama’s Xavier Gibson, who has signed with Florida State.
Mississippi did catch a break when Alabama’s top player, 6-7 forward JaMychal Green, an Alabama signee, pulled out of the game to concentrate on the McDonald’s All-America game.
Prep basketballAll-Star schedule5 p.m. – Girls game7 p.m. – Boys gameGames at Pelham, Ala.