Beach Ball Classic notebook: Mayor Rhodes hospitalized

ablondin@thesunnews.com, ncobler@thesunnews.comDecember 28, 2012 

— It’s unusual not to see Myrtle Beach mayor and Beach Ball Classic executive director John Rhodes courtside during his tournament’s games.

But he was largely absent both Thursday and Friday from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, and as it turns out it was for good reason.

Rhodes will be held overnight at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and will undergo testing for high blood pressure and possible complications from the condition, according to Myrtle Beach City officials.

Rhodes, 69, is executive director of both the Beach Ball Classic and Crescom Bank Holiday Invitational girls tournament, which was held earlier this month at the convention center.

Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Gray and city spokesman Mark Kruea said Rhodes was admitted to Grand Strand Medical Center on Thursday afternoon for testing because of a believed spike in blood pressure. Further testing was done Friday morning and doctors decided to send him to MUSC for further testing.

“I think he has been taking medication for high blood pressure and it wasn’t medication that was working,” Gray said. “With the Crescom and Beach Ball and height of it, it probably just spiked a little bit.”

Rhodes tried to encourage those concerned, posting a photo on the Beach Ball Classic Facebook site of him smiling with a couple of friends and the caption, “Doing just fine.”

Rhodes’ wife, Terri, is accompanying him to MUSC.

Finding Franklin

Rhodes will discover teams any way he can for the Beach Ball, and a tip from longtime Beach Ball television and webcast announcer Layne Harris helped lead to an invitation to Franklin (Ohio).

Harris plays basketball with Wade Kennard, the uncle of highly-recruited Franklin 6-5 sophomore Luke Kennard, who tallied 33 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Myrtle Beach on Friday and already has offers from Ohio State and West Virginia. Wade Kennard told Harris about Franklin, and Harris told Rhodes.

The team has nearly 100 supporters who have mostly driven to Myrtle Beach for the tournament. They gave the Wildcats supportive applause following their 69-55 loss to Bishop Gorman (Nev.) Thursday, their first loss of the season.

“That’s a national level team and we have 800 kids in our high school,” Franklin coach Brian Bales said. “This is the first time that we’ve ever been in a tournament like this, and I think our kids really cherished it and played hard. We’re so excited to be here. Our kids are just going to seize the moment.”

Franklin went 20-0 in the regular season last season for the first time in school history and finished 21-1 after losing in the second round of the playoffs. Talented senior guard

Travis Lakins, who has committed to pitch for the Ohio State baseball team, complements Kennard.

Franklin is a public high school that sells out its boys basketball home games in a 1,200-capacity gym. “It’s a really special community that we have,” Bales said. “To come in here and play in front of this crowd and this venue was just special for our guys and I thought we really competed.

“… We just have a neat bunch of guys who accept roles, and I think we’re fun to watch because of how hard we play.”

Three of a kind

Whitney Young junior 6-9 forward Paul White’s stat line of 22 points, eight rebounds and nine steals in 24 minutes Thursday night in a win over Myrtle Beach left him two rebounds and a steal shy of a triple-double.

It would have been just the fourth triple-double in Beach Ball history. NBA standouts have them.

Rasheed Wallace posted the most dominant triple-double in 1991, amassing 27 points, 16 rebounds and a tournament-record 16 blocks for Simon Gratz (Pa.). The other triple-doubles are Brendon Haywood’s 24 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks for Dudley (N.C.) in 1996 and Kwame Brown’s 16 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocks for Glyn Academy (Ga.) in 2000.

Seahawk shines

Myrtle Beach’s Soloman Cooper became the highest-scoring local player in the 2012 Beach Ball Classic on Friday.

Cooper had a team-high 27 points in the Seahawks’ loss to Franklin (Ohio). He took the crown from teammate Nolin Butler, who scored 20 points in the Whitney Young (Ill.) loss on Thursday. Myrtle Beach’s pair are the lone players to score 20 or more points so far.

Prior to Butler’s 20 point game, St. James’ Nehamiah Stafford had 19 points in the Sharks’ loss to East Rutherford (N.C.) and Socastee’s Dante Moore totaled 16 points in the Braves loss to Hudson Catholic (N.J.).

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 and NATE COBLER at 626-0302.

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