The people of Columbia, S.C. never really had a chance to see Vernon Macklin in action when he dunked on everyone at the Chick-Fil-A Classic. The 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Va., drew two games at 1:40 p.m. The hoops nuts were usually working, still in school or making last minute Christmas shopping runs. Boy, did they miss out. Macklin put on a show.
When Norcom played local favorite Chester High School, featuring the top senior in S.C. Devan Downey, Macklin was the kryptonite that the boys from Palmetto didn't want to touch. Downey, a player who thrives on penetrating to the bucket, rarely attempted to get into the paint because the No. 9 ranked junior was standing there waiting to deter any shot that came his way.
Macklin was called to the bench for a breather and Downey immediately went to the rack on three straight possessions. He didn't connect but Norcom coach Horace Lambert quickly put Macklin back in after 45 seconds on the bench. That's when Chester stopped going inside. He set the tone in the paint. Norcom outrebounded Chester 45-14.
"I should (set the tone) but I should be an intimidator a little bit more by blocking more shots," Macklin said.
When he blocked shots, he reaped the rewards of his defense. Against Baylor School from Tenn., Macklin swatted an attempted three-pointer and raced down the floor and posterized a poor victim on the other end. A lot of kids were posterized in Columbia thanks to Macklin.
North Carolina, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Georgetown round out his top five he said. The five-star prospect also said every school had offered. The Tar Heels sent an assistant to see him last Saturday in a loss to Aiken (S.C.) High School.
"I haven't got to the point where I look at everything," Macklin admitted.
There is a good reason. The buzz regarding his future as a NBA player is getting louder and louder. Guys like him - long, athletic and full of potential - always look long and hard at the league.
Macklin didn't verbally say anything when we asked him about the NBA. He just smiled and nodded his head. Actions speak louder than words and his actions after this weekend had him playing like a guy with a plan.