For the 32nd year, the top 24 high school seniors from all over United States gathered for the annual McDonald’s All-American Game. The University of Miami had the privilege of hosting the 2009 event.
The chatter amongst the players was not about March Madness, AAU tournaments, South Florida beaches or the opportunity to showcase their talents in the national spotlight, however.
The talk centered around the impressive facilities at UM, particularly the new basketball practice facility.
Adjacent to the BankUnited Center is a new state-of-the-art basketball complex, called the Fieldhouse. There are two basketball courts, locker rooms and a multipurpose room. Each court has the U logo emblazoned on it, with vibrant orange and green colors embodying the Hurricane spirit.
“It’s awesome,” said 6’9″ forward Milton Jennings, a Clemson commit. “It’s a really great facility. [Miami] is going to get a lot of recruits because players love playing in nice gyms. The ACC is going to be fun every night.”
6’11” center DeMarcus Cousins, a Memphis commit and the second best player in the class of 2009 according to rivals.com, raved about UM’s building.
“It’s nice out here,” Cousins said. “You can tell it’s a brand new floor because it is all shiny.”
6’3″ point guard Kenny Boynton Jr. is the home town hero in this star-powered event. Boynton, who attends American Heritage High School in Pompano Beach – just 30 miles away – is glad to be playing right in his back yard.
“It feels great. Out of a million players in the country, I got chosen to be one of 24, and it just feels great,” said Boynton, a Florida commit. “I am looking forward to the game and I know the community is going to support me. I was definitely shocked when I saw [the new Fieldhouse]. It definitely looks good. I didn’t even know they were building this practice facility, but it turned out really nice.”
Cousins and Boynton also spoke volumes about Miami recruit Durand Scott. Scott is a 6’4″, 180-pound shooting guard from New York City and chose Miami over perennial powerhouses Pittsburgh and the University of Connecticut.
“[Miami] just got a nice recruit in Durand Scott,” Cousins said. “I played him all the time in [AAU] basketball. He is a baller and afraid of nothing. He is going to be a special player.”
“I think the University of Miami is definitely on the rise,” Boynton said. “I would have thought they would have done better this year, but they are going to be good next year with Durand Scott and Dequan Jones.”