The final open evaluation period of the summer has come and gone, with many fatigued coaches, players, parents and scouts likely happy to have some time for rest and relaxation.
But this weekend brought about one of the more remarkable stories on the circuit, one that involved a 30-hour trip to a junior college showcase via Greyhound.
Casper (WY) College point guard Corey Spence, who played his high school basketball at Dunbar High in Baltimore, embarked on a trip to the JucoRecruiting.com All-American JUCO Showcase in Las Vegas that few people would be willing to take.
“A lot,” said Spence in a quick Twitter exchange with NBCSports.com when asked about the number of stops. “Different small cities and a few long layovers.”
It’s one thing to take a long trip, but to ride on a bus for as long as Spence did and then make the showcase’s Top 20 all-star game has to say something about the man.
But Spence’s heart and willingness to do whatever it takes has already been on display, as he came back from a horrific car crash in 2010 to help lead his high school team to it’s 12th Maryland state title.
Here’s what Corey Spence remembers about that late-November night: leaving a party, hopping into the passenger’s seat of his friend’s car, waking up in the hospital.
Spence, Dunbar’s senior point guard, had fallen asleep on the drive from Baltimore County back into the city. Sometime after that, near the county line on Pulaski Highway, the car crashed into a utility pole. Spence said he woke up for a second, then blacked out almost immediately.
“When I got to the hospital, when I first arrived, my father asked the doctor [about my condition],” Spence said. “And he was like, ‘It’s a 50-50 chance.’ If I made it through the first night, I’d be good.”
Spence lost 45 pounds as a result of the crash, but thanks to his hard work and the assistance of Dunbar football coach Lawrence Smith he was able to return as the Poets’ starting point guard nearly a month after being released from the hospital.
From Dunbar Spence went to Bridgton Academy for prep school and then to South Plains College, where he helped lead the Texans to a 36-0 record and a national title before deciding to transfer to Casper.
Given the car crash and Spence’s road back to full strength and a return to the court he’s come a long way, so what’s a 30-hour trip from Casper to Las Vegas?
“It was hard but everything happens for a reason,” said Spence.
h/t to @Screwlack for passing on Spence’s high school story
Photo credit: Zach Long/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal