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Published: Friday, 3/30/2012

St. John's Loving to play in all-star event

Junior on All-American North squad

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
St. John's Jesuit player Marc Loving (32) shoots over Scott High's Reuben Pratt (20) during the Blade Classic in December. St. John's Jesuit player Marc Loving (32) shoots over Scott High's Reuben Pratt (20) during the Blade Classic in December.
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St. John's Jesuit's Marc Loving will spend the final March Madness weekend in New Orleans.

Loving, a 6-foot-8 guard-forward, is scheduled to participate in some of the NCAA Final Four festivities.

The Ohio State verbal commit is one of eight high school juniors, along with 32 seniors -- considered among the best high school basketball players in the nation -- scheduled to play in the All-American championship. It's the second year for the event, which will pair an East squad against a West squad and a North team taking on a South team in a basketball doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.

"It's very big and it's very exciting to play with some of the top kids across the country," Loving said. "I want to get out there and play as hard as I possibly can."

Loving is a member of the North team and is the only junior on the roster, which is made up mostly of players who have committed to Big Ten programs.

He's the only Ohio State recruit participating in the event. Medina's Kenny Kaminski, who will attend Michigan State in the fall, is the only other Ohio player set to play in the All-American championship.

Michigan recruit Glenn Robinson (Lake Central High, Schererville, Ind.) represents the only future Wolverine on the North squad while Michigan recruit Mitch McGary (Brewster Academy, Porter, Ind.) is set to play on the East squad.

"I'll look to play as hard as I can and measure myself up against everyone," Loving said. "I'll look to build friendships because most of the kids on my team are committed to Big Ten schools."

Loving has never visited New Orleans, but is looking forward to the trip and attending the activities with his father. Besides playing in the game on Sunday afternoon, he's expecting to attend the Final Four contests tomorrow night at the Super Dome.

The fact that Ohio State is taking on Kansas in one of the two national championship semifinals make the trip to Louisiana even more special. He'll have a chance to root for his future teammates.

"It's definitely really cool to have the school that you committed to being in the Final Four down there," Loving said. "They should definitely play a good game."

Loving was not only recognized as one of the top juniors in Ohio this season, he was considered one of the top underclassmen in the nation. His ability to shoot from long range and drive to the basket made him a nightly scoring threat for the Titans, who finished the year 15-7. He was named the Ohio Division I co-player of the year and an All-Ohio First Team performer after pacing the Three Rivers Athletic Conference in scoring with 22.9 points per game while grabbing a team-leading 9.0 rebounds per game.

St. John's coach Ed Heintschel will not make the trip to New Orleans to watch Loving play. The Titans longtime coach is scheduled to have knee replacement surgery Friday, but looks forward to watching him play in the nationally televised games on ESPN3 beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday and replayed at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

"I'm really happy for him and proud of him," Heintschel said. "He has garnered all kind of honors, about as many as you can get in the postseason. This is just another step in that direction.

"He's worked hard. He's a humble guy. He's team-committed. I'm real proud of him.

"He's played in AAU against the best players in the country. I'm sure this will be a little more controlled with a few more select players, and teams that have a really high number of really talented kids.

"He'll fit in. He's right there with them and we're really proud of him."

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.


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