Jeremy Wadsworth Enlarge
WHAT HE DID: The 6-foot-6 Buford All-Ohio first team as a junior, when he averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds per game for the 21-2 Cowboys had an extremely busy summer. He traveled to tournaments with his Cincinnati-based AAU summer basketball team, the D-1 Greyhounds, to various regional and national tournaments, including Little Rock, Pittsburgh, Newark, N.J., Morgantown, W.Va., and Fort Wayne, Ind. The biggest events were the King James Classic in Akron, the AAU Nationals in Orlando, and the Big Time tournament in Las Vegas in late July. There was also a trip overseas with Team Reebok, a national all-star team, which spent nine days at a Euro Camp event in Italy. Tournaments and camps out of town took up approximately 70 percent of Buford s summer, and he spent much of the rest of his free time working out with some of his Libbey teammates, shooting around and getting in an occasional weight lifting session. For fun, he got into pickup games at Hamilton Park near his home.
HOW IT HELPED: I got to play against all types of players from around the country, and it made me work harder to get better, Buford said. I had to go hard because I was trying to make a name for myself. I think I could ve done better, maybe lead my team to a championship. But I didn t do that. Regardless, Buford s work was beneficial. I think I picked up most on my shooting and my defense, he said. I feel like I was pretty good on offense already, but I felt I needed to work hard to get better on D. I always tried to guard the best [opposing] player on the floor. Buford also said the travel should help him prepare for the demands of college basketball. I ve been about everywhere in the country playing ball, so that was a great experience, Buford said. Now, I want to go out with my teammates and try to win another City League championship, and then get to state and win that. Also, I want to help my teammates get Division I scholarships. I want to see all of them make it to college.
OUTLOOK: Buford s summer work was strictly to improve himself as a player. He had already verbally committed to head coach Thad Matta at Ohio State University before his junior year.