• December 28, 2014

Players taking advantage of added exposure

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Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 4:30 am

Random musings as the NBA enjoys a different kind of labor stoppage.

As high school football begins to reassert itself atop the headlines in Texas, high school hoops continues to quietly make a name for itself in Killeen.

Harker Heights senior C.J. Bobbitt has been boosting his stock as a member of the D1 Ambassadors by going head to head with nationally-ranked prospects like Tyler Davis and Mickey Mitchell of the Texas Titans and Plano West High School.

Meanwhile, Ellison sophomore Isiah Jasey already has a Baylor offer, according to 247Sports.com and ESPN, and is shooting up the class of 2017 ranks.

Just 15 minutes down U.S. Highway 190, Copperas Cove senior Rashard Odomes has also become a hot name on the travel circuit this summer.

Whether recognized or not, Killeen has always had a rich basketball history, as former Killeen coach Bo Burgess expounded upon when I talked to him Tuesday for a feature this week.

But even Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt admitted that his teams didn’t have this kind of exposure.

One can only imagine what might have become of him and the players he played with on Killeen teams in the late 80s if they did.

“I might not be coaching basketball,” Bobbitt said with a laugh.

But the exposure is here now, and the players certainly are taking advantage of it.

That is why, even with football season looming in the land of Friday Night Lights, it’s hard not to look forward to hoops season as well.

Who knew NBA free agency could be this excruciating?

The offseason has practically come to a complete stop as everyone, from players to executives, awaits the decision of LeBron James, who at press time was undecided on where he’d play next season.

Even Carmelo Anthony — a star in his own right whose decision will also affect how multiple teams proceed this offseason — had decided, at press time, that he was going to wait for James to decide before making a decision himself.

Four years ago, James was blasted by many, most notably his former owner Dan Gilbert, for making his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers a spectacle to behold.

That offseason, and the unprecedented reaction it generated, is a big reason that this offseason has become a similar spectacle.

Only this time, it is for a different reason.

James is doing what he has always had the power to do and that is affect the landscape of the entire NBA with one decision — no prime time special needed.

It almost feels like James is wielding his power — bringing the offseason to a screeching halt just by taking his time — in response to the last lockout, in which owners empowered themselves by tightening the rules of free agency almost in a direct response to the power play James and Chris Bosh made when they joined the Miami Heat in 2010.

Feel however you want about The Decision in 2010, but James has obviously learned from that experience, which is clear in his loud silence this offseason.

But perhaps what James did that summer — working with his friends, not an owner or general manager, to construct a team — wasn’t wrong at all.

Maybe James simply erred in flaunting his power move on national television for all the owners to see.

Now, they simply respect that power by not moving until he tells the world where he will play next year.

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