The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 15, 2009

Basketball clinic shows no sign of rivalry

By Jim Henry

jhenry@joplinglobe.com

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The idea of players from Big 12 rivals Kansas and Missouri working the same youth basketball camp, Missouri’s Kim English admitted he had some doubts.

“When we arrived, obviously I was skeptical,” English said. “They said it would be two MU guys and two KU guys. The only place I imagined that would work would be in Kansas City where there is really a mixture of the (fans).

“The whole time, I’m asking how far is the Missouri line (from Pittsburg). A friend of mine told me Joplin was really close, so then I thought it might be a mixture of MU and KU fans. Then when I got here and saw the red and blue basketballs, I knew it wasn’t.

“But basketball is a universal language. Kids don’t really care about the rivalry that much, I guess. They don’t care if it’s an MU guy or a KU guy. It’s still the fundamentals of the game.”

English and teammate Laurence Bowers joined Kansas’ Mario Little and Elijah Johnson on Tuesday at the third annual Jeff Boschee Basketball Clinic in the Pittsburg High School gymnasium.

Boschee, who played guard for the Jayhawks from 1998-2002, and clinic organizer David Devaney had discussed bringing players from both schools to one site for about two months.

“Nobody does it,” Boschee said. “It’s kind of a cool draw to see two MU guys and two KU guys in there.”

“It’s just basketball,” Little said. “It’s not the Civil War anymore. I’m not from Kansas or Missouri, so I don’t have a harsh feeling toward Kansas State or Missouri because I’m from Chicago.”

“On the court, I hate these guys,” Bowers said. “But off the court, they seem like pretty cool guys. I wasn’t really worried about it.”

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