The videos have been making their rounds on Twitter and YouTube as Mac McClung and the roster of the Iverson Roundball Classic 2018 got together Thursday for a couple pre-event contests. We’ve been excited for a chance for the world to see Mac against some of the best high school players in the nation for a while. (I promised I’d relay that tickets are still available for Saturday’s game—and I believe there may be a live stream coming...)
As the event became “NBA-certified,” I received notice that this humble blog-contributor was no longer invited to the afternoon workouts and had to wait for the evening events to see Mac and the crew. Apparently, The Overtime and BallerVisions were still allowed to go, as each put together pretty sweet highlight reels of the practice and scrimmage, featuring some nifty moves by our boy (BOTH well worth a watch).
The Thursday night festivities at Souderton Area High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia featured a dunk contest, 3 point shootout, and 1 on 1 games. At the event, cell-phone reception was spotty, but we commandeered the @PhillyHoyas twitter account to share some images quickly.
Arriving at 5pm to try to get a word with Mac McClung—like much of the crowd—we waited a bit longer than promised after the warm-ups for an eventual start near 6:30pm. The night featured non-stop music by the DJ and endless commentary by an emcee who lived up to his title. They succeeded in keeping the crowd interested, as well as reminding everyone who these young hoop stars—identified only wearing a number and “Iverson” on the backs of their jerseys—really were and where they were destined to play ball next year.
In the three-point contest Mac shot well in a slow first round, scoring 18, a mark that was only bested by one or two players in either round. In the 2nd/final round, Mac was the victim of sitting a bit too long and ended up getting 3rd in the round, or 2nd overall (if scoring was by total). Javonte Smart—who the announcer referred to as “Smart Guy”—won it and probably looked the best. The contest was a nice, fun feature, and we could see Mac has some shooting skills, but shootouts like this condition more of a quick set shot than true jump-shots, so it’s not entirely clear which invitees are really the top shooters.
During the night Mac was giving high-fives and bro-hugs to every competitor, and genuinely seemed to be appreciated and respected by the other players. He was easily the best-known guy in the room, in spite of two Villan*va-commits being present in what most people would assume is strictly N*vaNation. Then Allen Iverson made his entrance.
There was a 1-on-1 contest that featured several of the players in tournament-style match-ups (no Mac). Each game was played to 3, make-it-take-it, and only 5 dribbles were allowed each possession. The ambitious event succeeded in bringing tough, physical defense to an All-Star game (if that was a goal), but failed in maintaining crowd excitement for the duration. Ballislife has a terrific cut of the highlights but, overall, buckets were hard to come by, fade-aways and long twos were aplenty, and fouls and travels could have been called on every drive. Perhaps they, too, were distracted by Iverson’s prominent presence in the background.
This type of play above was typical in style, but the video is atypical in that the ball went through the hoop. Again, it was a very ambitious contest for the night, and interesteing to watch, but the implementation was far too physical and the pace was too slow for an All-American All-Star-type game. Allen Iverson even stepped to the other end of the floor to shoot buckets, drawing a crowd of young fans.
The dunk contest was the main event—and well worth the wait. The expectations were high with Mac in the building, so the competitors really went for tough, unique dunks early—with predictable results. They just could not make it look as effortless as Mac does. The Overtime’s fantastic mix, and is all over social media, as is BallerVisions and Home Team Hoops, but here are some shots we took from the stands:
An alley-oop to weakside eastbay - between the legs to the left hand:
Alley-oop to windmill reverse:
And the last one, where he put the old-school KENTE Georgetown #3 Iverson jersey on...
And Iverson was loving it:
Allen Iverson records and reacts to Mac Mclung dunk #IversonClassic @McclungMac @HoopKidz @GTownHoyasFans @HSBasketballBR @slythesportsguy @MarqBurnettSUV @bluedevilslive @GCHSDevilDen pic.twitter.com/T0FR2ugXlJ— SUVtv (@SUVtv) April 20, 2018
The Bristol Herald Courier has this to say:
The 6-foot-2 McClung had scores of 50, 50, 45 and 50 on his four jams, the most impressive of which was a between-the-legs reverse slam while wearing a No. 3 Georgetown University with Iverson’s name on the back.
The 6-foot-5 Porter, a University of Southern California signee from Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Washington, took home the crown. His most electrifying dunk came when he leapt over Iverson – the event’s namesake and a dunk contest judge – and threw one down.
Mac clearly had the most consistent dunks throughout the competition—with the scorers and AI actually trying to give him ratings of 16 (on a 1-10 scale) and higher for one of the between-the-legs dunks—but the alleged winning dunk was when Kevin Porter, Jr. jumped over Allen Iverson. The leap was cool and made a great photo-op, but the hardest part of the dunk was convincing AI to stand there.
After Mac’s last dunk, everyone rushed the court and Mac was at the center of the crowds.
There was a throng of younger suburban-Philly kids, sweaty from doing the flossin’ dance all night, gathered around Mac to watch him sign the forehead of an 11-year-old.
Unfortunately there was no opportunity for an interview or quick chat with Mac as the crowds of children kept coming (and, admittedly, the Sixers game was still close at that point). Everyone I’ve encountered has nothing but excellent things to say about Mac and how politely and graciously he handles fans and interviews.
But overall, it was a very fun event that made for some great highlights and helped get Mac and Iverson together. What could be better?
Last night, the Iverson Classic dunk contest went to another level! pic.twitter.com/iE80xZsZ6r— Allen Iverson Roundball Classic (@iversonclassic) April 20, 2018
While I can’t make the actual game, due to travel, hopefully we’ll have one more post to collect some of the highlights and quotes on Mac and the guys at the Iverson Classic 2018.