FanPost

Rozier wins MVP, Chicken wins hearts at Derby Festival Classic

A crowd announced at over 6,700 fans at Freedom Hall got an indepth look at incoming Louisville commit Terry Rozier on Friday night.

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Rozier led his White team to a 130-127 victory over the Black team with 16 points and an impressive 13 rebounds. If you forgot, Rozier is a 6'2" point guard. THIRTEEN rebounds. He looked very comfortable with the ball, shot it confidently, and was very smooth getting to the rim. He knocked down 3 of 8 three point attempts, while also dishing out 4 assists. His performance earned him MVP honors for the White team. I think he's going to fit in really well here.

Aside from the strong game performance, Rozier also competed in the slam dunk and three point shooting finals on Friday night after earning his way there from preliminary rounds at New Albany High School on Thursday night. He came up short in the three point contest, finishing second to Oklahoma State commit Phil Forte. He also came up short in the dunk contest, taking runner up behind Oklahoma State commit Marcus Smart after a tie-breaking dunk off round. Frankly, had it not been for guest judge Wiley Brown's display of anti-homerism, Rozier would've taken the trophy from Smart.

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With no Kentucky commits playing, the smaller-than-usual crowd was a very partisan Louisville fanbase with a large turnout from Indiana fans. The Hoosiers had three incoming commits playing, who were each impressive. And, not surprising was the fact this was the most cordial crowd I remember in the last dozen years I've been to the event. No punches thrown (I've witnessed it), no hateful comments yelled at players (I've witnessed it), and no inciting actions from players during introductions (I've witnessed it). The IU fans genuinely cheered for Rozier, just as Cardinals fans cheered for the IU future stars. It was almost TOO nice.

But, let's be serious. While Rozier was a big draw for the Cardinals faithful, there was one other player that drew a lot of attention.

This guy.

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Chicken Knowles was in the building showing love...even to Kentucky fans. Chicken got a loud ovation from those "in the know" during introductions. He continued to be the target of shouts of admiration, even acknowledging yours truly on a few occasions during gameplay. As the game wore on, it was clear that more of the crowd became "in the know" as the calls for more playing time for Chicken ("Play Mor Chikin") increased.

Not to be lost in the love affair for Chicken, though, was the fact he put 15 points on the board with a combination of dunks, nifty post moves, and a three point shot. He even competed in the finals of the three point contest, but finished third behind Terry Rozier. He certainly has nice rhythm for a 6'10" kid. Overall, Chicken has a nice game and will do very well at Houston. Some added weight and muscle should be a priority, but he clearly has skills.

As pointed out, Chicken was showing a lot of love to the fans after the game. A number of fans wearing #bringchickentothebucket shirts (you know who you are) clamoured for pictures and autographs, to which he graciously obliged.

And, this happened.

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Shoutout to @mounttrevorest, the proud picture, shirt, and autograph owner. I was a witness. It was awesome.

So, I got a glimpse of our future Cardinal point guard, interaction with our favorite non-Cardinal, and a cordial crowd environment all rolled together.

I liked it. All of it.

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