Wizards entertain crowd, play some basketball
By Jim Turner

Posted on May 9, 2014 11:08 PM

Playing basketball was on the low priority level of the Harlem Wizards Tuesday night. The veteran show team was much more interested in entertaining the crowd that had gathered at Russellville’s Jim Young Gymnasium to support Logan County Little League and to be, well, entertained.

The Wizards showed basketball skills, making steals and turning them into dunks on the way to a 10-0 lead before an assembly of Russellville and Todd County ‘celebrities’ could get off a shot.  The first goal for the home team was scored by former Lady Panther Imani Hampton. The team, coached by Timmy Hampton after RHS coach Phil Todd realized none of his strategy experience would be needed, got its first bucket when Mike Benton benefited from a rebound and assist by LeMark McMurry, the father of current Panthers Lee and Jaylin McMurry.

Former Logan County Cougar Trey Turner and former Panther Travez Hampton hit the first shots they took, and RHS Athletic Director Nathan Thompson showed he’s still got game, but none of them got to play much offense, and it was obvious they had been told to become spectators on defense.

Most of the time was spent, however, in the Wizards’ mingling with the crowd, especially youngsters. A highlight involved “Air Revolution” (Devyn Erwin) doing a circle passing drill/contest known as ‘You’ve Been Tricked” with lots of kids The show stealer was 5-year-old Jacoveon Temple, who not only was the last ‘man’ standing but also beat Erwin at the game. The little guy then got away with throwing a plastic ball bag at the Wizards’ senior showman, simply known as Tojo, who is even older than the senior celeb, Adairville legend Danny Finch.

“He’s never still. He always up to something,” said his proud dad, Patrick Temple.

The Wizards got several adults involved, including Shayne Landreth, who good-naturedly danced with the guys, and Logan County’s newest veterinarian, former Lady Panther Dr. Jenny Brown-Todd, the coach’s wife. The players also took great interest in Sgt. Clint Wright, a Logan County deputy sheriff who was part of a large delegation brought to the event by Sheriff Wallace Whittaker.

The Wizards also harassed the players. Two of them kept passing the ball between the legs of Todd County attorney Jason Petrie, who later was chased around the court by a Wizard.

Former Todd County player and middle school coach Calvin Naylor, a local pastor, was the target of player pranks. He was tackled by a Wizard at midcourt, became the victim of a full-body wrestling move, got piled on when officials Troy Winder and Barry Bilyeu were knocked on to him, and then alternated between almost having his trunks pulled down and having them jerked uncomfortably high while he attempted to shoot a free throw. Naylor is the dad of 2014 Panther starters Christian and Micah Naylor.

This was the second appearance in Russellville in three years for the Wizards, both times for the benefit of Little League.

See many more of Steve Everett's pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1447405248831460.1073741825.1447404928831492&type=1


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