By SHELDON SHEALER
ST. JAMES - This time of year, St. James athletic director Chick Meehan is inundated with phone calls regarding the St. James Invitational Tournament.
Usually, it's media requesting credentials or fans wanting advance tickets.
But never has Meehan taken a call like the one he received Monday afternoon.
On the other end of the telephone line was Eddie Tapscott of the New York Knicks. Tapscott wanted tournament pairings and said the Knicks would likely be sending Jerry Albig, coordinator of basketball operations, to the prestigious three-day boys' basketball affair. Tapscott followed his verbal intentions with a fax on Knicks letterhead.
"They seemed to be very interested in when Mount Zion (of Durham, N.C.) would be playing," Meehan said.
And for good reason.
Mount Zion, which was a flop in its first SJIT appearance two years ago and did not participate last year, is back and brings with it a national Top 5 ranking and players who have received some form of national recognition. Among them is 6-foot-8 senior guard Tracy McGrady, who has been rumored to be skipping college to try his talents on the professional level.