Embattled Parks and Recreation director Tony Adams was one win away from getting some national television time for his Nike-sponsored Georgia Blazers elite travel basketball team.
The Blazers lost Monday to a team from Central Florida in the semifinals the AAU Super Showcase event in Orlando. Tonight's final will be televised on ESPNU, one of the ESPN family of stations, beginning at 7 p.m. The Blazers lost to Each 1 Teach 1, a team featuring Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Adams and Blazers coordinator Herman Porter were placed on administrative leave two weeks ago when a police investigation into Parks and Recreation was termed “criminal.”
Don Jackson, a Montgomery, Ala., attorney who is representing Adams and Porter, has been keeping up with the team’s progress through text messages from Porter.
Jackson takes exception to anyone who says the two men should not be in Orlando because of the administrative leave. Mayor Jim Wetherington said late last week they should not have been allowed to participate.
“Why should they not be there serving the interests of young people?” Jackson said. “These guys are committed to their community.”
Early in the season, the Blazers elite team had just one Columbus player on its 13-man roster. They picked up several players from the Atlanta-based Southern Kings for the Super Showcase. Asked how many Columbus players were on the roster, Jackson said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
The Blazers are still a part of the city-funded Innovative Sports Program, though there are recommendations to break the travel basketball teams away from the city, according to the city manager’s office.
No city funding was used for this trip to Orlando, according to the city manager’s office. Late Monday, City Manager Isaiah Hugley said he did not know the team made it to the national semifinals.
“I was not aware of that,” Hugley said.
The city manager said he has not talked to Adams or Porter while they have been in Florida.
Jackson said it has been a good week for Adams.
“As I understand it,” the attorney said, “he’s enjoying it a great deal.”