Jeffrey Taylor, standing at 6-foot-5, took one glance at the ACC basketball all-stars as they walked into the gymnasium at The Epiphany School of Global Studies.
“Man, those boys are big,” said Taylor, a senior forward on New Bern’s basketball team.
A group of 15 assembled high school basketball players got an opportunity to showcase their talents against some ACC stars on Friday evening in the ACC Barnstorming event.
“I feel like if I do good against Division I players, I should be in my own comfort zone when I play in college,” said Taylor, who signed to play in college at Lenoir Community College.
Taylor scored eight points as the local players lost to the ACC All-Stars, 84-79.
D.J. Lewis, from Pamlico, and Jones Senior’s K.D. McCall also added eight points.
The team was coached by Pamlico head man Earl Sadler, who brought along assistant Jonathan Mason and Pamlico girls’ coach April Rose.
Sadler wanted his team to run the four-corners offense, a style ACC All-Star coach Phil Ford perfected while at North Carolina in the 1970s.
Most of the players didn’t know much about Ford’s history. Ford is second all-time in scoring at North Carolina.
“They went out and had fun and competed against some of the players in the ACC,” Sadler said. “They’ve been looking forward to it. We gave them a good show.”
Taylor wowed the crowd with a reverse jam during the halftime slam dunk competition. He was a hit with a section of the crowd who cheered for him during warm-ups.
“If feels good, but honestly I just see them (the ACC players) as another person. I’m just playing ball like everybody else,” Taylor said.
Havelock’s Maurice Harris, West Craven’s James Choyce and Kylikke Green and Pamlico’s Arthur Randall all contributed six points apiece. Pamlico’s David Resto had two slam dunks.
West Craven girls’ basketball star Jamie Cherry, a North Carolina recruit, was involved in a 3-point shootout with UNC’s Leslie McDonald.
Cherry, North Carolina’s second all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball, made 4-of-5 in the second round of the competition. She lost to McDonald on a sudden death final round.
“It’s a great event. It’s giving the fans something to see and bringing some excitement,” Cherry said. “It’s great to go up against some of the great shooters and being on the same court with them.”
The local stars, most of them playing on the same team for the first time, gave it their all against some of the ACC’s best.
“This is something they are going to tell their grandchildren,” Sadler said.