Originally posted on Examiner.net by Shawn Garrison
Kevin Puryear’s summer routine is usually pretty consistent.
The Blue Springs South basketball standout wakes up, eats breakfast, goes for a 2-mile run, takes a nap and then hits the gym for about three hours in the evening. This week’s a little different, though, as Puryear found out on Monday that he was one of 14 players from the 16U division selected to the inaugural Under Armour Association All-Star Game, which will be played this weekend in Las Vegas.
“I’m pretty excited about making the cut,” said Puryear, who leaves for Vegas on Friday. “I was overjoyed. I was really happy and just felt like all my hard work paid off.”
The rosters are made up of the top AAU players from teams in the Under Armour Association. Puryear, who plays for KC Run GMC, will have the chance to test his talents against some of the best college prospects in the country.
Puryear, who will be a junior next season at South, has already generated quite a bit of recruiting buzz in his first two seasons with offers from Creighton and Miami of Ohio and interest from Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Arkansas and Oklahoma, among others.
A showcase like this could give his profile another boost.
“That’s mainly what it’s for,” Puryear said, “and just going out there and competing and playing agianst the best talent in the country.”
Puryear’s helped Run GMC to a solid first half of the AAU season despite a recent disappointing first-round tournament loss at a tournament in Dallas, only the team’s second setback this season. The squad is currently ranked 18th in the country by fivestarbasketball.com and is coached by Keith Gatlin, who will also coach the 16U all-star team this weekend. Some of Puryear’s teammates on Run GMC include Lee’s Summit’s Drew Lock, Columbia Hickman’s Jimmy Whitt and Columbia Rock Bridge’s Ryan Kreklow.
While Puryear is keeping busy with his AAU schedule, he’s also regularly working out with his Blue Springs South teammates. After playing a reserve role as a freshman, Puryear emerged as a sophomore, posting averages of 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 forward will be expected to take on an even larger role as a junior as the Jaguars will be tasked with replacing four senior starters from last season’s 24-3 squad that advanced to the Class 5 sectional.
Puryear says he hopes to play power forward at the next level, but is working to make his game more versatile this summer.
“I’m focusing the most on my shooting,” said Puryear, who shot 49.8 percent from the field last season and was named first-team all-conference and district. “My mid-range game needs to get a lot better and my ballhandling needs to get a lot better, too.”
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