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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...


"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Today (3/30) in 1980

Today (3/30) in 1980: Sam Perkins played in the McDonald's High School All-American game in Oakland, California. The game featured (and still features) 24 of the best high school players in the country, divided into two teams that practice together for a few days and then play one game against each other. After a press conference with the media and the rest of the Shaker varsity team at the McDonald's on Route 9 in Latham, the team escorted Sam to the Albany airport for his departure to California.

Throughout Sam's career at Shaker, there had always been a small minority of onlookers who doubted that he was truly a national-caliber player and a big-time college prospect. They typically argued that he didn't play agaisnt big competition and that he wasn't strong enough physically to bang down-low in the ACC. Now, much of this was quieted when Sam had huge success on the U.S. Junior National team during the summer of '79. But the doubters were still around even by the end of the '79-80 season.

It's also noteworthy that Sam had not yet dediced on a college yet, although he was down to four schools: UNC, UCLA, Syracuse, and Houston. It wasn't like the McDonalds all-American game wasa going to change any of the scouts' minds - every college in the country wanted Sam. But it was going to be a showcase - good or bad - of Sam playing against top competition on national TV for all to see.

Sam did not disappoint. Although his East team lost the game 135-111, Sam showed that his amazing rebounding ability was not going to be slowed at the college level. He grabbed 24 rebounds, setting a McDonald's All-American game record that still stands today. He also added 12 points, including one magnificent dunk, although he shot somewhat poorly from the field as his outside shot went on vacation for the afternoon. Although his 12 pts/24 boards line wasn't good enough for game MVP (that was shared by Russell Cross and Doc Rivers, each who scored 20 points), it was obvious to all who saw the game that Sam Perkins was going to dominate college basketball. Not someday, but right away.
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