Decisions expected from Cyclones' Redd and Brown

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Vince Redd and Walter Brown have been the targets of several schools interested in obtaining the services of the two Elizabethton seniors for their football programs.
   Redd, a four star prospect, has been listed in and Border Wars features over the past two months following up his trips to Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
   The all-stater is being recruited as a strongside defensive end, and is high on several lists coming out -- as is his teammate Brown.
   Brown, also a three-star prospect, was made an offer by ETSU and Tusculum recently and may decide between the two schools.
   Walter set an EHS rushing mark this past season and had an explosive year from the backfield. He will be a key performer wherever he attends.
   According to Cyclone head coach Tommy Jenkins, a decision is expected early this week before the first signing day on Wednesday.
   Both players have been stated as wanting to do the signing together.
   Other top football prospects in the area were also given offers and may decide within the coming weeks.
   Johnson County linebacker Justin Bishop and quarterback Adam Johnson have been given some solid looks by schools in the area and are expected to make an attempt for a career on the gridiron.
   Happy Valley fullback and all-state baseballer Cody Cannon is still undecided on which route he wants to take whether it be football or baseball after he has received a lot of looks for his performance on the diamond.
   It's hard to do a prep's column this week and not mention the top prep's story in the nation.
   It's a story that almost everyone is sick of, including this sportswriter, after everyone has continuously rubbed it in the dirt.
   However, it's hard to let the madness that "surrounds" high school basketball phenom LeBron James slip after the Ohio High School Athletic Association stripped him of his eligibility this past week due to two free throwback jerseys he received.
   My question is this: Since when did high school athletes face the same consequences as those of the NCAA?
   It's hard to justify that a high school student would be stripped of playing basketball, after being constantly investigated. Perhaps Ohio was wanting to put themselves in the spotlights by enforcing their rules.
   If truth was known, there are several prep athletes across the nation who break rules occasionally by accepting gifts and items. But it's very seldom that you hear of any of these instances on a major news service such as ESPN or in virtually every major newspaper in the country.
   As an example, look at certain powerhouse high school sports squads in the country. The majority of these squads are recruiting private schools, but what happens when players brought to schools such as Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and De La Salle High School in Concord, California possibly receive items?
   There has been several cases discussed among athletic directors in this state recently involving the practices of these schools and athletes playing out of zone.
   Not every situation has malpractice taking place, but I can guarantee some of the top players weren't just lured to these schools because of academics.
   Many people have made accusations towards schools without the concrete information that was presented in the LeBron James case, thus nothing has taken place.
   There is nobody to blame for the LeBron mess but the mass media and the OHSAA themselves.
   Once St. Vincent-St. Mary's prep school and the OHSAA allowed ESPN2 and pay per view services to show James to a mass television audience, the attention fluttered in his direction.
   He has been the feature of stories in all of the major publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine and USA Today and one would question whether or not jealous parents in the state of Ohio had something to do with the ongoing events surrounding him.
   It's not about the Hummer or his jerseys, it's about removing the athlete from the national spotlight so their kids wouldn't have to play with him.
   So their kids wouldn't be overshadowed in a hunt for a state championship. There has even been Ohio parents admit to wanting LeBron in trouble or suspended for all of the "hype."
   I think the incident this past weekend hurt their cause because it put the player in the spotlight even more with a lot of support nationwide.
   Despite ridding the state of some critics, the OHSAA may have just created a monster. It's a situation each high school athletics association can learn from.
   BOYS GAMES OF THE WEEK: Elizabethton at Sullivan Central and Happy Valley at Unicoi County
   This week provides some big marquee matchups in the Watauga Conference with Happy Valley playing rival Unicoi County, but the biggest game will be Elizabethton at Sullivan Central.
   As of Sunday night, 65 percent of the voters on were predicting Sullivan Central to top the Cyclones this week. I think it will be a good game, but I think the Cyclones will pull away with this one. ELIZABETHTON 73-65
   GIRLS GAME OF THE WEEK: Sullivan North at Happy Valley
   The Happy Valley Lady Warriors came up with some big wins last week and will be looking to extend their success with a victory over Sullivan North. I think Brandi Dugger and squad will be tough. HAPPY VALLEY 48-38
   Jones put out two solid performances against Tri-Cities Christian and University High this past week for the Unaka Rangers. He tallied 22 against the Eagles and led the Rangers in scoring over the Junior Bucs.
   Whaley was the added spark the Lady Warriors needed this past week in victories over Elizabethton and Volunteer, where she tallied 12 points. She also played tough in a loss to Sullivan Central.