BY MICHAEL KELLY
BROOKLYN — Relationships and memories are what Kevin Huerter took home to Clifton Park from the Jordan Brand Classic regional all-star game April 15 in Brooklyn.
“This was a lot of fun,” Huerter said minutes after his Team New York squad’s 148-128 thumping of Team East, the Shenendehowa senior still wearing his Jordan Brand gear from head to toe. “To be recognized in a game like this, a regional Jordan game, it’s an honor.”
Huerter, this year’s Mr. New York Basketball winner, shot 3-for-7 from 3-point territory and made both of his 2-point attempts. He compiled 13 points, five rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes of action at the Barclays Center, highlighted by a two-hand flush.
While he produced his share of memorable on-court moments, Huerter said getting to hang out with some of the region’s other top high school basketball players was his favorite part of the day.
“It was a lot of fun to play around down here with these guys from New York,” Huerter said. “Most of these guys, I really haven’t played with before.”
Like Devonte Green, the star guard from Long Island
Lutheran. The younger brother of San Antonio Spurs swingman Danny Green, Devonte Green was a fellow Mr. Basketball nominee this season and was the guy Huerter often parked himself next to on the bench when the two players rested from action.
“I just knew he’d played at [Long Island Lutheran] and that we were on two of the better teams in the state,” Huerter said. “We’d just talk about how [our seasons] went and then some things in terms of college next year for both of us.”
The star guards will continue to get acquainted next winter in the Big Ten Conference. Huerter will play his college hoops at Maryland and Green is headed to Indiana, but there was no hint of any rivalry between the two from their encounter.
“This is the first time I really got to meet him and he was really cool,” Green said. “We bonded a bit on the bench and down in the locker room. This was a fun experience — memories I’ll never forget.”
The regional game, played before the night’s All-American game, was stacked with high-level college talent besides Huerter and Green. Team New York had players headed to places such as the University of Connecticut and Virginia, while the opposing Team East had athletes headed to powers including Notre Dame and Villanova.
Huerter also got to play against Elijah Pemberton, one of brother Thomas Huerter’s teammates this past season at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. Thomas Huerter was able to catch a ride to Brooklyn with Pemberton — who scored 22 points and shared MVP honors with Team New York’s Taurean Thompson — so that he could see his younger brother in action at the game.
Kevin Huerter often played the role of facilitator in the contest, but took advantage of several situations to show off his game. Late in the first half, he picked off a pass and promptly tossed in a 3-pointer before scoring again on the next possession on a close-range shot. Then, early in the second half, he offered his two-handed slam, a possession before swishing his final 3-pointer of the night.
Participating in the Jordan Brand Classic was likely the final basketball event for Huerter as a high school athlete, and he left the game with a “good-sized duffle bag” of Jordan gear and a game jersey he’ll add to his personal memorabilia collection.
“It’s … one I’ll have 30 years from now and I’ll remember this game,” Huerter said. “They’re definitely pretty cool looking.”