NEW YORK - By fueling Houston Yates High School's full-court press and up-tempo offense with plenty of Division I talent, Greg Wise picked up 25 triple-digit scores in the regular season, a 34-0 record and No. 1 national ranking by USA Today.
Oh, and he also got to watch a fistfight break out in a game his team led 100-12 at halftime, and to read a scathing commentary about himself in Sports Illustrated.
"I played all 15 guys," said Wise, father of UA guards Nic and Dondre Wise. "It was hard to keep the score down."
But Wise won't have that problem tonight. He will be coaching the East team in the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game at Madison Square Garden.
While Wise will have Ohio State-bound big man Jared Sullinger and Kentucky commit Brandon Knight on his side, a West team coached by Michael Peck of Nevada's Findlay Prep will have UA targets Doron Lamb and Josh Selby, as well as Findlay's own Cory Joseph and North Carolina-bound forward Harrison Barnes.
It will not be a blowout.
"No," said Wise, chuckling.
At Yates, Wise had a 10-man senior class that consisted of five players headed to Division I programs, two who will play Division I football, two who will play junior college basketball and another who earned an academic scholarship to Texas.
All that, plus five talented non-seniors, against a league of middling talent.
"Even in the first quarter we'd play all 15 and try to keep the score down," Greg Wise said. "I had restraint trying to keep the score down. But (reserves) get in and they are trying to move up the ladder. It wasn't fair not to let them play."
Wise said he even once told his players to hold down the scoring, but that didn't work.
"The first time I tried that, one of the kids came in and told me he was still going to compete for a starting spot every day," Wise said.
Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly suggested Wise needed to do more, noting in a column that he'd like to see Wise "dipped in seal butter and dropped into a polar bear's cage" for running up scores.
In Houston, the issue was already a hot one, especially after Yates' big halftime lead over Lee High School led to a fistfight and an eventual 170-35 win on Jan. 5.
A lengthy Houston Chronicle comment thread generated strong reader remarks on both sides, while Lee High School coach Jacques Armant complained to the Chronicle that Yates kept running and pressing ("It isn't good to do that to other young men," he said).
But Yates' success - and Greg Wise's longtime affiliation with Nike - generated an invitation to coach the Jordan game Wise said he is grateful for.
Nic and Dondre Wise flew in from Tucson to watch it, too.
"I was surprised when he called me and told me about it," Dondre Wise said Friday during the Jordan practices. "It's one of the biggest high school games you can coach in the country. It's a great honor for him."
Yates' success has also drawn comparisons to the undefeated 2004 Milby High School team, which just happened to be led by former UA guard Jawann McClellan.
Not coincidentally, perhaps, McClellan is now an assistant coach for Wise, who can only hope McClellan sticks around for another season, instead of pursuing his goal of coaching in college.
"He's going to be an unbelievable assistant" in college, Wise said. "He's good at talking to and helping the kids. I think he's going to be special.
"They like him and they like playing for him. Right now, he has them lifting weights until 9 o'clock at night. He communicates and he knows how to get the kids to play hard and take care of their academics."
Under Wise and McClellan, the Yates players displayed an eager approach to practices that Wise said "just made it real rewarding."
The culture probably won't change next season, either.
Thanks in part to an open-enrollment policy for ninth-graders, Greg Wise said, six of the 10 players on an eighth-grade national title team from Houston will enroll at Yates in the fall.
The scoring margins could get even bigger.
"Our freshmen coming in will be the best group I've ever had," Wise said. "By far."
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