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Charlotte Hoops Challenge Notebook: MJ makes an appearance, Wiggins impresses



Andrew Wiggins, pictured during a practice earlier this year, brought fans to their feet at the Charlotte Hoops Classic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tournament goers who arrived early at the Charlotte Hoops Challenge got a treat when Michael Jordan walked in during the first half of the tournament’s first game Friday at Waddell Language Academy.

Davidson Day (Davidson, N.C.) guard Justin Jordan is Michael Jordan’s nephew. The Patriots fell to Cuthbertson (Waxhaw, N.C.), 79-46.

Before the start of the second half, Cuthbertson guard Justin Austin’s eyes widened immediately when he glanced up into the bleachers and caught eyes with the six-time NBA champion.

“Yo! That’s MJ!” he said while clapping his hands and smiling. “Let’s go y’all, it’s MJ!”

After the game a mob of about 60 fans followed His Airness all the way to his car.

Wilson out with injury

Heathwood Hall (Columbia, S.C.) forward A’ja Wilson was sidelined during the Highlanders’ 72-49 loss to Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.). Wilson, who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPN HoopGurlz Terrific 25, was nursing a wrist injury.

She may also sit out of Saturday’s game against South Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.).

Wiggins’ puts on aerial display

It didn’t take long for No. 1 Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) swingman Andrew Wiggins to satisfy the capacity crowd’s anticipation that he’d do something special.

On the second play of the Express’ game against Quality Education Academy (Winston Salem, N.C.), Wiggins went up to snag an offensive rebound. As soon as his feet hit the ground, he sprung back up and threw down a monster slam over Quality Education guard Michael Tucker, drawing a foul on the play.

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A small pack of fans got so excited they ran on to the far end of the court.

Every time Wiggins, the consensus top player in the country, drove the lane, half of the crowd stood up.

Wiggins had three other plays in which he dunked over the top of a would-be shot blocker. On two of the three plays he was also fouled. He finished with 18 points in the Express’ 50-42 win.

“I just try and make the big play,” Wiggins said. “Whatever that means. Whatever we need I like to be the one to make the big play.”

Play of the Day

Late in the fourth quarter, Huntington Prep guard Montaque Gill-Ceasar was set to throw the ball inbounds just past half court near the Express’ goal, but when he tried to throw an alley-oop to Wiggins, he swished a 3-pointer instead. Express guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes smiled and asked the referee, “Does that count?” It didn’t.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

 

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