What makes the Nike Global Challenge a unique event in the summer is that it is not only open to college coaches on the recruiting trail, NBA scouts trying to get ahead on their research are allowed to attend and watch some of the world’s best 17 year olds go head-to-head.
On the one hand, it creates an interesting dynamic, as the number of basketball minds critiquing these kids increases.
It also creates some hilariously awkward situations. Remember, these scouts represented teams that (most likely) passed on or (in some cases) drafted players that spent two and three and four years under the tutelage of these coaches. It gets even better when family members are involved.
Kendall Marshall grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Bishop O’Connell, a high school located just a few miles from Episcopal HS, where the Global Challenge was held on Friday and Saturday. Since Roy Williams was in town, Marshall’s family decided to come check out the action and say hello to their son’s former coach.
“Dennis, Kendall’s father, was up talking to me,” Williams told NBCSports.com “I said, ‘Down there’s John Shumate, a scout for the Pheonix Suns. If you stop by there and say hello, they would love to see you because they love Kendall.'”
So Dennis went down to say hello, but for whatever reason — Shumate didn’t hear him, he thought Kendall’s dad was just a fan saying hello, he was tired after spending 10 hours sitting in a gym — Shumate blew him off.
“So Dennis walked off and I jumped up and said, ‘John’, and one of the other NBA guys knew Dennis and told him that was Kendall Marshall’s father. So I run down there and I’m like ‘you draft the guy and then you blow off the dad like that?’,” Williams said.
At this point, a game is being played. But the sound of the game and the fans was drowned out by the roars of laughter coming from the corner sectioned off for the scouts. Everyone — from Williams to other college coaches to other NBA scouts — had a joke to make.
“About an hour later, [Kendall’s] mom and two little sisters came in and they came over to see me,” Williams said. “This time, I [told her to] go down there and say, ‘John, I’m Kim Marshall, and Coach Williams said you wouldn’t blow me off, too.'”
Shumate, to his credit, was a pretty good sport about it, laughing off every comment that was made even as the good-natured ribbing lasted through the second day of the event, although he could only muster a “C’mon, man” when asked for comment.