Shawnee Two former teammates of Kansas University basketball players Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur squared off in the championship game of the Honda Classic on Sunday at Okun Fieldhouse.
Dion Dixon, Collins' former high school teammate at Chicago's Crane High, got the better of J'Mison Morgan, who played with Arthur at Dallas South Oak Cliff High and on the same Urban Dallas-Fort Worth Elite AAU team.
"It was a tough match-up because both teams are physical," Dixon said after his Chicago Express team beat the Urban DFW squad, 52-44. "There was a lot of scrappiness, and the refs were just letting us play, which was a good thing."
Dixon scored 11 points with five rebounds and five assists in propelling the Express to their first tournament title of the summer.
Morgan scored eight points to go with 11 blocks - altering three other shots - and six rebounds.
"I just know how to time shots. I let them release it, and then I go get it," said Morgan, who has KU on his list of prospective schools. "It's just kind of natural. I like blocking their best player's shot because it kind of gives you confidence and kind of lets them know they can't get any layups this game, so they rely on their jumpshots more."
Although the Express was undersized, its small guards crashed down on the low block whenever the ball was in Morgan's hands.
"He has to adjust to play against the smaller guys," DFW Elite coach Jazzy Hartwell said of Morgan. "In college, he'll play against bigger guys all the time, and that's going to help him a lot."
David Kyles, who has received offers from TCU, Tulsa and Wichita State, scored 15 points for the Dallas team.
Morgan and his teammates planned to stop by KU Sunday afternoon to view the campus and visit Arthur before heading back to Dallas.
¢KU confirmation: Morgan said his favorites include KU, Georgetown, Alabama, Baylor and Texas. He hopes to sign in November. KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend attended the championship game Sunday, as did assistants from Alabama and Baylor.
¢Reputable Rose: Chicago Express coach Reggie Rose is brother of Memphis freshman point guard Derrick Rose, the No. 3-ranked player in the country by Rivals.com.
"He comes up to the school, works with the kids and just gives the help," Reggie said. "Derrick might throw a bad pass or make a bad play - and I don't coach him anymore - but I'll still get on him. So they're looking on like, 'Oh, he's getting after the great Derrick Rose.'"
Last summer Reggie also coached Indiana signee Eric Gordon, the No. 2-ranked player in the country.
¢Redbird recruiting target: Chicago Express' Kenyon Smith has been getting looks from D-I schools.
Former Kansas assistant coach Tim Jankovich, who took over the head-coaching position at Illinois State in March, was on hand to watch Smith in the championship game.
"He (Jankovich) had a one-day camp, and I went down there," Smith said. "We had a nice time. They showed us the gym and the weight room and everything."