INDIANAPOLIS — A funny thing happened on Marcellus Barksdale's way toward the basket at the adidas Invitational Classic on Wednesday. As he got into the lane, the Tates Creek High standout saw a teammate open on the wing. Oddly, he guided more than zipped a left-handed pass toward his target.
Perhaps observers watching his mostly Lexington-bred Charlotte Court summer team play then noticed the heavy wrap on Barksdale's right hand.
"I tore ligaments in my thumb," Barksdale said after his team's 79-58 victory. "I'm trying to manage and maintain."
In a sense, that's playing to Barksdale's strength. He's Mr. Adaptable. Or as his summer coach, former Bryan Station star Robert "Nimbo" Hammons, called it, Barksdale is the "utility man" on the Charlotte Court team. From point guard to center, Barksdale does it all.
"I move him all around," Hammons said, noting Barksdale's basketball savvy.
In the game Wednesday, Barksdale came off the bench. He mostly played on the wing, but he took a few possessions at point guard. That's where Hammons said he likes to play Barksdale in the closing minutes of a close game.
"Because he's a lot more cautious with the ball than a lot of them," Hammons said with a smile. "He's not going to put up a stupid shot. He's going to make sure you run something."
Barksdale, who will be a senior for Tates Creek next season, tore ligaments in the thumb three weeks ago. Rather than sit idly and wait for the healing process to be completed, he concentrated on doing things with his left hand. That's everything from shooting and passing to writing.
"Actually, pretty cool," he said before adding, "If I played baseball, (I could be one of the) left-handed pitchers who do their thing."
Barksdale's adaptability raises an interesting question: Is it better in the eyes of recruiters for a player to have multiple skills or to be eye-popping good at a particular aspect of the game?
"I think it varies for each individual," said Hammons, a versatile player in his day. "... He studies the game, so I have to showcase what his best attributes are. He can do anything."
Coming into the adidas Invitational, Barksdale tried to downplay the importance of such events. He and the Charlotte Court team will be playing in Louisville and Nashville later this month.
"We're having fun," he said. "Playing hard. Trying to enjoy our last summer (between high school seasons)."
Joining Barksdale in that quest are some familiar names: Lexington Catholic teammates Seth Beckham and Hunter Porter, Deandre Bigsby of Tates Creek, Daniel Kiesling of Henry Clay, plus James Evans and Deon Renfro of Bryan Station.
During Wednesday morning's victory, Evans showed his eagerness to compete, Kiesling flashed johnny-on-the-spot opportunism, and Seneca's Walter Alexander swished several three-point attempts.
Barksdale's teammate at Tates Creek, Ryan Fucci, underwent shoulder surgery last week and will be sidelined three or four months, Barksdale said.
While not wanting to forget to have fun, Barksdale acknowledged that the camp could raise his recruiting stock. He's drawn interest from Eastern Kentucky, Murray State, IUPUI, Lehigh and Wright State. He'd like this camp to generate more interest.
"I've got a few coaches coming out here to check me and see," he said. "Hopefully they like what they see."
Hammons saw Barksdale as a sure Division I prospect. As for what level, Hammons saw a bit of himself in Barksdale.
"He has to find the right team for him, a school that can use him at multiple positions," Hammons said. "He's not a one-position guy. He has to find the right fit. Like when I went to GW (George Washington).
"GW was a better fit than, say, Maryland. Coach used me all over the floor."
That's how Hammons saw Barksdale as most productive.
"He has to find a home for him," Hammons said.
Ex-Cats comingto Calipari camp
Former UK stars and NBA first-round draft picks John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe are scheduled to make appearances at the Prasco John Calipari ProCamp later this month, the school announced Wednesday.
The July 29-31 camp will run from 9 a.m. to noon for kindergartners through sixth-graders, and 1 to 4 p.m. for seventh- through 12th-graders.
Each former UK player will attend one full day of camp for both age groups.
For more information, call (859) 257-1916, or go to UKathletics.com/camps.