Cameron Mack was recruited out of high school and committed to play at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas in 2017. Mack was a three-star recruit and he was the number 48 point guard prospect in the nation. His time at Stephen F. Austin was brief, he transferred after playing in 1 game and later committed to Hutchinson Community College. His time at Hutchinson C.C. ended with Mack not appearing in a game.
In July 2018, Mack signed to play at The Salt Lake Community College in Utah. A move that put Mack back on the Division I radar. The point guard excelled averaging 19.1 points per game while shooting 46% from the field. He racked up 211 assists, leading his team to a 20-9 overall record. Mack shot his way up the junior college ranking and was ranked by JUCO Recruiting as the #2 player in the nation.
Last November, Mack became the first piece in the 2019 recruiting class at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. He was also being recruited by Washington State, San Diego State, Gonzaga and West Virginia.
JUCO standout Cameron Mack just committed and signed with St. John’s, per a source.
“Playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena and being in the Mecca of basketball, New York!”, Mack said was the reason he chose St. John’s. Mack stated he has spoken to L.J. Figueroa a lot. L.J. Figueroa went the junior college route before committing to St. John’s, just like Mack.
Mack is coming into St. John’s with big goals for himself and the team, playing for a Big East Championship is one of them. When asked how last season at Salt Lake C.C. has prepared him for St. John’s, he stated, “I’m ready for the NBA Draft. I know what I can do, I know what I gotta do to get there.”
The excitement of St. John’s fans for the arrival of Cameron Mack has created a lot of buzz. Mack whose role model is his hard working mother, is ready to showcase his talents on the big stage.
He has been rooting for St. John’s since his commitment, but the wait is over. Mack has three years of eligibility remaining and is set to arrive on campus June 1st.
Former George Mason standout Lamar Butler who lead George Mason on their historic run to the Final Four in 2006, is back ready to lead again. This time Butler will be on the sidelines coaching The Green Machine, a team in The Basketball Tournament composed of George Mason alumni.
When Butler committed to play at George Mason, being close to home was a priority for him so his parents could see him play. He wanted to build a national program in Fairfax, Virginia with his teammates, something that they accomplished while they played at Mason. Out of the gate, he played big minutes and had a large role as a freshman for coach Jim Larrañaga, something that continued to grow throughout his four year career. He finished his career at George Mason averaging 12.1 points per game and ranks first all-time in the team’s history with 295 three points made. He was part of two NIT appearances and the historic run to the Final Four in 2006.
Lamar had a lot of great memories during his time with the team. His favorite regular season memory from his time at Mason came during his senior year. “We were down 20 at half, at Hofstra. Folarin Campbell lead the huddle at the half and we came back and won. Campbell took leadership and he arrived.”
When George Mason got an at large bid in 2006, they were coming off two losses in ten days to Hofstra, including the semifinal loss in the CAA Tournament. When asked how they went on such an epic run after that in the NCAA Tournament, Butler explained, “We were a confident group. What motivated us was commentators on TV saying we didn’t belong. It gave us fuel to prove others wrong.” What also stood out to Lamar and the team was Coach Larrañaga preaching to them to, “Play hard, play smart, play together.”
Lamar went on to play professionally in the Czech Republic, Turkey, and the NBA Developmental League after college. Lamar talked about his career overseas and said, “You need to bring your A game or they will replace you.” Lamar talked about how it is a different society overseas and you really need to lookout for yourself. The hardest thing for him playing overseas was having a coach that didn’t speak English. He also spent time with the Colorado 14ers and Reno Bighorns in the NBA Developmental League.
Lamar is now an AAU coach for Team Takeover and at Paul IV High School in Fairfax, Virginia. He said that he still has a strong relationship with his former coach and sees coach Larrañaga all year round while he’s on the recruiting trail.
Lamar recently announced that he will be coaching The Green Machine, an alumni team in the TBT Tournament. “They are Mason brothers, former greats. You root for guys you didn’t play with. Suiting up with the guys will be something special.” The team has announced some notable Mason alumni, Folarin Campbell, Mike Morrison, Ryan Pearson, Isaiah Tate, Byron Allen, Will Thomas, and Sherrod Wright. The team’s general manager, Johnny Coleman said, “These guys are arguably the most successful players Mason has ever had, from the most successful era.” Also filling out The Green Machine’s staff are Corey Edwards and Killian Reilly. Edwards played at George Mason for four years and Reilly was a team manager.
Every time Butler returns to George Mason, he exclaims, “It is always home. You see pictures and banners. Your legacy is cemented.” Butler will be leading the way for The Green Machine this summer with hopes to cement George Mason’s legacy in the TBT Tournament.
Justin Burrell arrived at St. John’s as a highly touted forward from Bridgton Academy Preparatory School. He was a key part of St. John’s 2007 recruiting class that featured Paris Horne, Sean Evans, D.J. Kennedy, and Malik Boothe. Justin influenced Paris Horne, a friend and teammate at Bridgton Academy to come to Queens to play for Norm Roberts at St. John’s.
Burrell’s freshman season, he appeared in all 30 games for St. John’s. He averaged 10.8 points per game and lead the team in rebounding with 178 rebounds. For his efforts he was named to the Big East All-Freshman team.
Justin appeared in 32 games his sophomore year, starting in 28 of them. He was forced to miss a few games after suffering a broken nose from a collision in practice and he was forced to play with a facial mask. He finished the season averaging 9 points per game. During his junior season, Justin saw his minutes decrease and he only started in eight of the teams games. He put up averages of 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
At the conclusion of his junior season, St. John’s decided to make a coaching change and hired Steve Lavin.
Lavin used Burrell off the bench his senior season and it was beneficial to both the team and Burrell. He was named 2011 Big East Sixth Man of the Year. He eclipsed the 1,000 point scorers mark at St. John’s during his senior season. The reward for the team’s hard work in 2011 was a trip to the NCAA Tournament. It was a rewarding way for Justin and his teammates to finish their collegiate careers.
Justin was a quick big man during his time at St. John’s. He had a physical presence on both ends of the floor and brought with him a winning attitude. Justin described his time at St. John’s by saying, “It was a solid time. I had higher hopes for my basketball career, but overall it was a very solid time.” When asked what his favorite memory at St. John’s was, he said, “Making the tournament was the best memory I have by far.”
Justin went undrafted after graduating from St. John’s, but made noise across the globe his first season overseas in Japan. He was named the MVP of the Basketball Japan League and put up some solid numbers averaging 18.7 points per game to go along with 10 rebounds per game.
When I asked Justin, what are the biggest improvements that he has made to his game since St. John’s, he replied, “I have improved every part of my game since college. Being a pro means constantly improving in order to keep a job. College is about fitting a system. Learning to play basketball. Being a pro is about being the best you can be in order to win games for your team. Taking what you learned in college and refining that and being a polished pro. Growth is key!”
Justin has gone on to play professionally in France as well as Japan. He is currently playing in Nagoya, Japan. I asked him about his goals for this season and he stated, “The goal is to win as many games as possible. We have a good young team that can be very good as long as we continue to grow.”
Each summer Justin returns home to play in The Basketball Tournament with Overseas Elite. He plays alongside former St. John’s teammates Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy. They have won the tournament for the last four years. I asked Justin about the experience playing in the TBT and reconnecting with his former teammates and he said, “The TBT is just a great opportunity to play at home for our fans and family to see. We are all still very close.”
“I had some fun with the Johnnies.” -Justin Burrell
Eric Devendorf is bringing his passion back to the court, but this time as a coach. After returning to his alma mater and spending the last two seasons on Jim Boeheim’s staff at Syracuse as an assistant strength coach, Devendorf left to become Special Assistant to the Head Coach at Detroit Mercy University. The former Syracuse standout, is providing energy and a work ethic to a young Detroit Mercy team.
In 2005, Eric arrived to Syracuse as a five star, McDonalds All-American recruit from Oak Hill Academy. As a freshman he started 30 out of the team’s 35 games. He averaged 12.2 points per game as a freshman. His sophomore year, he made jump in performance averaging 14.8 points per game while recording an average of 4 assists per game.
During his junior year, he played in 10 games and was averaging 17 points per game, before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. He qualified for a hardship waiver and was redshirted. He returned for his redshirt junior season and averaged 15.7 points per game. During the Big East Tournament, he hit a shot that is still is remembered today. It was during a sixth overtime game versus Connecticut, which Syracuse eventually won. The shot did not count because time had expired before he got the shot off.
Eric made it work within Syracuse’s guard rotation that included Andy Rautins and Johnny Flynn, both had NBA talent and were drafted. Eric left Syracuse for a professional career after his redshirt junior season, forgoing his final year of eligibility. He went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, but went on to play in several countries overseas, including the NBA Developmental League.
In 2016, he decided to end his playing career and begin the next chapter in coaching, at Syracuse. Devendorf returns to the court in the summer to play in The Basketball Tournament with Boeheim’s Army. Boeheim’s Army is a team filled with Syracuse alumni who come together just like old times and play to win $2 million dollars.
Devendorf has matured a lot since we last saw him in a Syracuse uniform. He was once one of college basketball’s most hated players. Trash talking and playing with a fiery attitude was a part of his game. The former Syracuse guard was also known for his scoring ability. Devendorf could put the ball in the cylinder night in and night out. He scored over 1,600 points at Syracuse and was a great three point shooter.
His new role has landed him at Detroit Mercy University, where he started in 2018 and is thriving. His experience allows him to mentor and help young athletes. They have a scoring guard who is turning into a young star in Antoine Davis. Something Devendorf can relate too.
Love him or hate him, Eric Devendorf was fun to watch at Syracuse!
How would you describe your time at Syracuse playing under coach Boeheim?
My time at Syracuse was amazing, playing for a hall of fame coach and getting the opportunity to play in front of 30,000 fans is amazing. I played on some real good teams my time there and with some very good players. I am super grateful for that. Syracuse basketball is a family!
What was your fondest moment at Syracuse?
Fondest moment would have to be the 6 OT game vs UConn. I still get asked about that ’til this day. Such an unreal game and being able to be a part of something like that is very special.
The Syracuse zone. What about the zone has made it so effective after all these years?
I think the zone is effective because coach is able to make little adjustments here and there depending on who we are playing and what type of players are out there. If they have more shooters or not. Maybe a high post threat. Whatever it is, coach is always able to tweak it to where it usually works in our favor. And obviously the players on the floor coach and his staff have done a great job of getting guys who are built for the zone, long and athletic guys. Guys who buy in and have some basketball awareness and sense out there.
You played this villain role at Syracuse. Trash talking was a big part of your game, but you also played with this fiery edge. How would you describe your career at Syracuse?
I would say I had a pretty good career at Syracuse. The teams I played on were always competitive and we always had great talent. Individual wise, I left it out on the floor every time, that’s what I pride myself on, playing with all my heart and never backing down.
Take us back to the Big East Tournament in 2009. Syracuse against UConn in the 6 overtime game. You hit the game winner as time expired, the referees ultimately waved it and you head to overtime. The game is an absolute dogfight and heads into 6 overtimes. You guys won the game, but what was it like to be part of such a special game?
Just like I said earlier, I get asked about that game ’til this day and it’s just very special to have been apart of that game. People who don’t even watch basketball know about that game! Having played a big role in the game and outcome just made it that much more special for me.
You left Syracuse with a year left of eligibility. After going undrafted, you played in the NBA G-League and overseas. Where did you play basketball overseas?
I had a crazy pro career all over the place, got hurt, had to sit out, and came back. Super grateful for all the experiences. I played in Turkey, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Israel, and been to a few others (countries), but just being able to see the world and meet people and learn their culture all while getting paid to play the game that I love to play was priceless. My mind opened up a lot more because of those journeys.
The past few years, you have played in The Basketball Tournament with Boeheim’s Army filled with Syracuse alum. How much fun is it to play again and play with Cuse alum? Do you plan to continue playing this summer?
Playing in the TBT with “The Army” brings back all kinds of memories. Being able to play with all my good friends and playing in front of all the fans is so awesome. No one does it and comes out and support like Cuse fans, just that experience again is awesome to have. Hopefully I can continue to play.
You came back to Syracuse in 2016 as an assistant. Now you a Special Assistant to the Head Coach at the University of Detroit Mercy. How has coaching been and how have you used your college experience to mentor young players?
Coach Boeheim gave me an awesome opportunity coming back on staff at Cuse. Being there for two years on staff was an unreal learning experience. To be able to learn from one of the greats is very humbling. Then being able to have another opportunity at Detroit Mercy under another great coach in coach Davis is unbelievable. Just thankful for the chance to learn from coach B and now coach Davis. I think what helps me a lot is being able to relate to the players, I was in their situation so I understand what they are going through. That helps me with teaching them and getting their attention on certain things. Just like they are learning from me, I am learning from them. They help me be a better coach. I’m looking forward to the continued learning process and growth in my coaching career.
Sean Evans played at St. John’s University from 2007-2011. During his time at St. John’s the team faced a lot of ups and downs, but he finished his career on a high note making the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Evans was a physical presence at St. John’s. He could guard multiple positions, back an opponent down or face them up on offense, and was a physical rebounder. Evans was described as “fearless” and “a player that did the dirty work”, according to St. John’s fans. What gave Sean an edge was that he could out hustle anyone on the court.
Recruited by head coach Norm Roberts, Evans became a two year starter. When Roberts was let go after his junior season, St. John’s hired Steve Lavin and things changed. His senior year, Evans saw a decrease in his role on the team and in playing time. This prompted Evans to consider a change as well and transfer. Sean’s teammates helped persuade him to stay and be part of something special.
Staying at St. John’s turned out to be the right decision for Evans. Although he did not start games, Evans played pivotal minutes down the stretch for St. John’s in 2011. His best game came in a win against the third ranked Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2011. In eleven minutes, Sean scored 10 points making all five of his shots. St. John’s went on to beat a few more ranked teams before seasons end.
St. John’s faced adversity during the Big East Tournament when star guard D.J. Kennedy suffered a torn ACL. St. John’s received a bid to the NCAA tournament and was scheduled to face Gonzaga. Evans who formed a close relationship with Kennedy created rally shirts that read, “Do it for DJ.” St. John’s ultimately ended up losing to Gonzaga, but the trip to the tournament was the reward for a group of seniors that had put in four years of work for their “one shining moment.”
Sean graduated from St. John’s and signed a deal to play in Germany’s Pro A League. He has gone on to play in a few countries professionally. Recently he was named MVP in Greece where he is playing with Ifaistos Limnou.
What is your best memory from your time at St. John’s?
Best memory would have to be making the NCAA tournament.
What teammates do you still stay in touch with?
I pretty much keep in touch with all of them. I check up on them all, but the only one I talk to on a daily basis is D.J.. That’s my brother, we speak all the time.
You played at St. John’s when the Big East was one of the best conferences in college basketball. What prepared your team to go out there and upset the teams you did? (Villanova, Duke, Connecticut, etc..)
When we played, I would consider that to be the best conference in college basketball, hands down. Experience prepared us. We had been playing together and growing together for a year so we knew what it took to win and how to win.
Your senior year, you considered transferring. What kept you from leaving?
My teammates, they wanted me there. I was a big part of that team. We knew we had a chance to do something special and they helped me see that and stood by me as I figured out and ultimately made the choice to stay.
Losing D.J. Kennedy for the NCAA tournament was tough and you were one of the guys that made a shirt supporting D.J.. How emotional was it to lose him for the tournament and what were the feelings like for a group of seniors that finally made the tournament?
Yeah, I had came up with the idea and made the t-shirts #doitforDJ because number one that’s my brother and me and his bond was bigger than basketball. We were the closest on the team and I wanted him to know we had his back. We did not forget all the hard work he put in besides us as well. As a group, us making the tournament meant a lot. We were considered “the redeem team” and we brought St. John’s back to the tournament and made them a relevant program again.
What parts of your game have you improved on that we didn’t see at St. John’s?
I improved on all parts of my game. I live in the gym. Basketball is a game that no matter how good good you are, you can always improve.
Where have you played overseas so far?
I have played in Germany, Israel, Turkey, and Greece.
Describe your relationship with the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) and playing for Team FOE (Family Over Everything) each summer in the TBT Tournament.
They are my brothers. We grew up together from children to men. We have an unbreakable bond. Playing with Team FOE in the TBT is a fun way to get everyone back together to play basketball and not to mention a chance to win some money. Not sure if we will play again, never say never, stay tuned!
John Flowers started bringing West Virginia alumni and fans together each year for an alumni game. He is back at it for the fifth year, but this time is uniting a fanbase and reuniting players for The Basketball Tournament (TBT).
Flowers spent four year playing under Bob Huggins at West Virginia. Each year his role increased and he eventually became a starter his senior season. During his time in West Virginia, Flowers played alongside Joe Alexander, Kevin Jones, Devin Ebanks, Da’Sean Butler and many other talented players that ended up going to the NBA or overseas to play professionally. His time on the court had to be earned. West Virginia was an annual NCAA Tournament team during Flowers’ tenure. He was known for his defense and rebounding and drew tough defensive assignments each game.
After Flowers graduated from West Virginia, he went undrafted and started a professional career overseas. His game has expanded since we last saw him in a Mountaineers uniform. He has played in six countries so far and is having success.
Recently, Flowers announced West Virginia’s entry into the 2019 TBT Tournament. Something both college basketball and West Virginia fans should be excited about. The roster has yet to be revealed, but I’m sure we will get to see some former West Virginia greats together again! John has given so much to the West Virginia program. When asked what his favorite memory at West Virginia was, he replied, “Not one in particular is better than the other, but miss just walking around campus just being a student.”
What was it like to play for Bob Huggins at West Virginia?
My overall experience playing with coach Huggins was great. He led us to the NCAA tournament every year, Big East Championship, and Final Four. I learned a lot from him on and off the court. He taught me about responsibility and manning up and not to blame others for what I can control.
Your role gradually increased each year you were at West Virginia. You eventually became a consistent starter your senior year. What work did you have to put in to eventually become a starter? Does coach Huggins believe that freshman, regardless of talent, have to earn their minutes?
Huggins believes that anyone on the team freshman-senior has to earn the right to be on the court. I knew I just had to be patient and wait my turn as I was playing behind NBA draft picks such as (Devin) Ebanks, Da’Sean (Butler), and Joe Alexander. I just tried to have a positive impact in the game whenever I was in by bringing a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
Who was the hardest player you had to guard or matchup you looked forward to in college?
Two people that come to my mind are MarShon Brooks, who we called “Little Kobe”, he was great, and Norris Cole.
You played in the old Big East that arguably could have been the best conference in the county year in and year out. What was it like to play conference games each year in the Big East?
It was great playing in the Big East, I loved it. You always had to bring your A game every night. I enjoyed playing against the best.
During your time at West Virginia, you brought defense and rebounding to the team. What part of your game have you improved on that you may not have displayed at West Virginia?
I definitely have gotten to display my offense a lot more playing overseas. I was top 10 in my league in scoring my rookie year in Japan and I led the Pro B France league in scoring my second year.
Where have you played overseas and where are you currently playing?
I played in Japan for 2 years, France for 4 years, then Germany, Venezuela and Mexico. I am currently in Argentina on my 8th year as a pro.
From what I’ve read, you are in charge of bringing back alumni for alumni games at West Virginia?
Yeah I started a company J FLOW Entertainment and we are coming up on the 5th year of the alumni game. Playing in front of our fans again and with my brothers is always fun. We also have raised over 25,000 (dollars) for various charities over the past 4 years We have big things coming for this summer along with playing in the TBT Tournament.
I saw you are creating a West Virginia TBT alumni team. Have you started recruiting and what can we expect from a West Virginia alumni team?
Yes, we will play in the TBT this year, I am very excited. We have named our coaches, Joe Mazzulla, Jarrod West, and Billy Hahn. They are getting their rosters together. We plan on having exhibition games in Beckley and Charleston (West Virginia) to get us ready. It will be a lot of fun playing with my brothers again. I can’t wait.
Paris Horne burst onto the scene at St. John’s in 2007. He played in all 30 games as a freshman and became someone coach Norm Roberts relied on off the bench. His sophomore year, Paris played in 33 out of 34 games and started 31 of them. He led the team in scoring with 14.6 ppg (points per game) a big jump from 5.1 ppg, which he averaged as a freshman.
As a junior, Paris averaged 9.1 ppg and played in all of the Red Storm’s games. His senior year, St. John’s decided on a coaching change and hired Steve Lavin and assistant Mike Dunlap. That year St. John’s finished with a 21-12 record and made the NCAA Tournament. Horne started 20 out of 33 games and was a key part of St. John’s run to the tournament. That year they defeated Georgetown, Duke, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Villanova who were all ranked teams. They finished ranked 18th overall at the end of the season.
After graduating, Paris went on to play professionally overseas. He had a stint with the Charlotte Bobcats’ summer league team which was coached by former St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap. He was later waived by the Bobcats, but got valuable experience during his time with the team.
Paris has enjoyed success the past four summers playing in the The Basketball Tournament (TBT) with Overseas Elite alongside former St. John’s teammates D.J. Kennedy and Justin Burrell. Overseas Elite has won four straight TBT championships and has gone undefeated since they began playing in 2015 with a record of 25-0.
Paris improved every season he played at St. John’s. He was a great defender, slasher, and loved to soar above the rim. He had a great mid-range game and was a 35% percent three point shooter for his career at St. John’s, but he was known for hitting clutch shots.
What made you decide to come to St. John’s and who was your mentor?
Justin Burrell actually had a big part of me coming to St. John’s. He was my roommate in Bridgeton Academy almost everyday he would sell me on coming to St. John and being apart of something new trying to bring St. John’s back on the map as far as making it to the tournament. I have always been a person that likes a challenge and I really felt like we could do it, so I made my decision to come. My father and family were my mentors.
How would you describe your time at St. John’s?
My time at St. John’s was pretty much great. I enjoyed the full life of a college athlete!
Your senior year you guys beat a bunch of ranked teams and made the tournament, what was that experience like?
My senior year beating all those ranked teams felt so good. It felt even better because we knew that this was our last season together and unfortunately in our early years we had a few injuries to guys that could have changed things for us in the past . Playing in the NCAA Tournament was unbelievable, just playing in that type of atmosphere would get anyone pumped up for a game.
What is your fondest memory or game from your time at St. John’s?
My fondest moment may have been my sophomore year season. To see the jump we took as a team from our freshman year to our sophomore was incredible. You could see the potential we had! My fondest memory of games would have to be the Duke game at the Garden our senior year and my sophomore year game against Rutgers when I missed 1 field goal. I went 12-13 I believe and I have a lot more but those are the two that stick out to me!
How did the team come together before the tournament after losing D.J. Kennedy to an injury?
After losing D.J. in the Big East Tournament it was tough for us, but coach Lavin and the staff always prepared us to be ready for anything and just have the next man step up . It just hurt because D.J. has always been apart of our success and he was a senior having a solid season so far for it to end like that made us more motivated.
Have you been following the recent teams at St. John’s and what are your thoughts on Mullin’s system?
Yes, I always follow the Johnnies and coach Mullin’s team. I like them a lot and the system is great to me. You can see the players really enjoy playing together. I think the system works for the guys he has. He’s putting everyone in a system that works to their strengths.
Coach Dunlap brought you in on a training camp invite with the Charlotte Bobcats. What did you learn about yourself and game playing against the competition and fighting for a roster spot?
I learned a lot during the time I spent with coach Dunlap and the the Charlotte Bobcats. At the time, I learned that you have to bring your game everyday because just about everyone in the league can play at a high level, so you have to work everyday to get advantage. I learned about myself that I could play at the level if I got the right timing and opportunity. During that time, I got to battle some of the guys like Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, Ramon Session, and a few other guys to help push my game to another level. I enjoyed every moment of it. I thank coach Dunlap greatly for even giving me the chance to experience that!
Where have you played overseas since St. John’s and where are you playing now?
Since St. John’s, I played in Germany, Greece, Turkey, Japan, Romania, Finland, and Morocco. I’m currently in Morocco now!
D.J. Kennedy, Justin Burrell and yourself have had success with winning the TBT Tournament with Overseas Elite. How is it playing with your former teammates again and what do you think has been the key to your success?
Playing in the TBT with D.J. and Justin has been great for me. Those guys are like my brothers and being on the team together is pretty easy for us because we all know each other’s games for the most part. I think the key to success for us is just the unselfishness and all of us having the same common goal! Also having God on your side alway helps!