East-West Week: Familiar faces in basketball, soccer, football
By Ronnie Gallagher
GREENSBORO — When they tip off tonight’s East-West boys basketball game at the Greensboro Coliseum, you may think you’re watching a Sam Moir Christmas Classic all-star team for the West.
Representing the squad are four players and a coach who participated in the 2011 Christmas extravaganza at Catawba College: West Rowan’s Keshun Sherrill and his coach, Mike Gurley, along with North Rowan’s Pierre Givens and Davie County’s Nate Jones and Shannon Dillard.
Head coach Brad LeVine of East Rutherford said he had two goals tonight.
“No. 1, I want the kids to have fun,” he said. “No. 2, I want to win.”
Sherrill will be a key. He is the reigning Rowan County Player of the Year after averaging 22 points and nine assists. Gurley didn’t have to do much convincing to get LeVine to add him as the point guard.
“You gotta have a quarterback,” LeVine said. “I know that last name says he’s special. I listened to Mike but other coaches told me he was a 6-foot-2 kid in a 5-9 frame.”
Sherrill may be dishing frequently to Jones, who scored as many as 40 points in a game. He lit up West a few times.
Givens and Dillard were late additions.
North Mecklenburg’s Shivaughn Wiggins had to drop off and LeVine’s first replacement was Givens. He called North coach Andrew Mitchell, who forwarded the news.
“I felt really good he picked Givens,” Gurley said. “I told him Pierre had a really good senior year and was vital to the Cavaliers’ success. He was the one consistent guard Andrew could turn to.”
The 6-5 Dillard replaces 6-9 Clemson recruit Josh Smith, who is recovering from a broken pinkie.
“When we were evaluating, he was the third best pure center in the group,” Gurley said of Dillard who averaged 16.6 and scored 1,387 career points for Davie coach Mike Absher.
Familiarity will certainly help and the best matchup of all may be Gurley and LeVine. They are both wide open and seem to be having as much fun cajoling each other as they are coaching.
When Gurley first found out he was the assistant, he joked, “Who’s the head coach, Mike Krzyzewski?”
LeVine quickly left a phone message for Gurley.
“I said, ‘Mike, this is Mike Krzyzewski,” LeVine laughed, adding, “He’ll become a great coach after this week.”
The East-West bios say LeVine has 434 career wins and Gurley 432. LeVine admitted he added his jayvee wins, which Gurley responded with, “Then, I’ve got 457.”
As the assistant, the animated Gurley knows he is supposed to sit down and let LeVine stand and coach. He doesn’t know if he can do it.
“I think the over-under is 11,” Gurley said of jumping out of his seat and forgetting he’s the assistant.
Yeah, maybe 11 times in the first quarter.
LeVine said, “Hey, I told Mike, “I don’t want you to do anything different. Don’t treat me as the head coach. This is our team. We’re doing it all together.’ ”
LeVine said he and Gurley were alike in a lot of ways, and not just the combined four state championships.
“Somewhere,” Gurley noted, “we’ve adapted the same philosophy. He tells his team to work as hard as he does to win.”
LeVine was quick to point out the series is tied at 32-32. Gurley was told the pressure is on.
“We’re going out to win,” Gurley said. “And if we lose? It’s on Coach LeVine’s record.”
NOTES: The girls game begins at 6:30 p.m. with the boys to follow. … Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students. Parking is $5 per car in main coliseum lot. … Sherrill is Gurley’s sixth West Rowan player in the East-West game: Scooter Sherrill, Donte Minter, Phillip Williams, Jamel Carpenter, K.J. Sherrill and now, little brother Keshun. He also send Bernard McIntosh when he was at Lexington. … Rowan County has had either a girl or boy in the East-West game every year since 1997. … Another local tie is Greenville Rose’s Elon Edwards for the East. The 6-0 guard, who averaged 19 points, is headed to Catawba.
Rowan County will have a soccer doubleheader at UNC Greensboro on Tuesday. In the girls game, West Rowan’s Allison Baucom has been added as a replacement. Salisbury’s Kenny Bonilla and Connor Miller will play in the boys game following the girls.
The football game at Grimsley High is Wednesday. West Rowan defensive linemen Greg Dixon and Davie quarterback Adam Smith are West team members.