PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A change of scenery and the opportunity to play some of the top teams in the nation may be just what Ocean View High School's troubled boys' basketball team needs.
The Seahawks, whose off-court problems could fill a dime-store novel, open play tonight in the King Cotton Classic at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Ocean View (9-1) was one of seven teams invited to play in the tournament that features the nation's top-ranked team, Flint Hill Prep of Oakton, Va., and the nation's top player, J.R. Reid of Kempsville High in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Seahawks open the three-day tournament against host Pine Bluff at 3 (PST) today. The championship game is scheduled for 6:30 Saturday.
Blaine DeBrouwer, the Seahawks' point guard, accompanied the team Wednesday and is expected to play following a two-game suspension. DeBrouwer was "unavailable to play" in the final two games of the Tournament of Champions last week.
DeBrouwer allegedly shouted obscenities and bumped referee Al Hackney in the athletic hallway of Cal Poly Pomona's Kellogg Gymnasium after a 53-51 loss to Capistrano Valley.
The altercation was the low point of a disappointing showing for the Seahawks in Southern California's premier tournament. Ocean View was seeded second in the tournament, but had to settle for fifth place. The Seahawks are also seeded second in Arkansas.
The tournament will likely be the last hurrah for the Seahawks. Ocean View was placed on a year's probation and ruled ineligible to participate in the CIF Southern Section 5-A playoffs this season after the CIF ruled that Seahawk Coach Jim Harris used "undue influence" in retaining Lynwood transfers Ricky Butler and Desi Hazely on the Huntington Beach campus.
It's no secret that Harris has had problems motivating a very talented team that has no place to go. This national tournament, in only its third year of existence, could offer the Seahawks a chance to showcase their talents.
The King Cotton Classic is recognized as one of the top prep tournaments in the nation. Three West Coast schools--Ocean View, San Francisco Riordan and Seattle Garfield--have been invited for the first time.
Top-seeded Flint Hill, a private school located 30 miles from the nation's capital, is ranked No. 1 by USA Today. All-America forward Dennis Scott and 6-foot 9-inch center Sam Jefferson are the Falcons best players. Reid, a 6-9 senior, is regarded as the top prospect in the country by virtually every scout and rating service. He has reportedly narrowed his college choices to North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. Here's what some of the scouts are saying about Reid:
--Forrest Harris, Nike All-American Camp: "One of those rare players who can take a team to the Final Four."
--Bob Gibbons, sports publisher from North Carolina: "Reid is No. 1 because he is really the most complete and most dominant player I have observed. He compares to James Worthy. In fact, he is so powerful and strong that a better comparison is to Wayman Tisdale."
--Howard Garfinkel, Five Star camp director: "He's the best center in the country, and I don't have to see the rest of the country."