Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) center Josh Smith has had plenty of time to kick back and relax since partially tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee during the second game of the season. In all, he missed six weeks under strict orders from the doctor to "stay away from the gym and relax."
"That was hard," said Smith, a UCLA signee who is ranked No. 11 in the ESPNU 100. "I just really wanted to be back in the gym, but I had to look at the big picture."
The time off hasn't been a total wash: Aside from studying and mastering NBA 2K10, Smith discovered a new show that has turned into a weekly must-see.
"Jersey Shore," said Smith. "That's my show right there. I watched a couple episodes and I was like whoa, this is real interesting! They've got good fight scenes and they live an exciting life. I saw the girl get hit by the guy and I didn't really like that. I've never seen a girl just get hit like that on TV. But other than that, it's a pretty entertaining show. So that's a good thing that's come out of this."
Smith has since returned and played sparingly in two games, a win and a loss.
"We have a game Tuesday and that's gonna be the first game that I play extended minutes," said Smith. "I'm excited."
Even better is that it won't conflict with him watching "Jersey Shore."
Harrow's ferocious appetite
It's been two weeks since Walton (Walton, Ga.) point guard Ryan Harrow collapsed in two separate games, ultimately landing in the hospital with a serious flu case. As a result, he had to sit out four games.
His favorite thing to do with the much-needed time off?
"Eating!" said Harrow, a North Carolina State signee. "I've lost 10 pounds behind this flu so I've got to put this weight back on, man. I've been going hard trying to get it all back."
To put in work, Harrow regularly orders a chicken nuggets value meal and two cheeseburgers from McDonald's.
"It's either that, Burger King or my mom's cooking," he said. "It's kinda hard though. Don't get me wrong, I can eat the food all in one sitting, but then when I'm not hungry my mom still wants me to eat and drink. I think this is harder than getting back into game shape. But I'm getting it back."
Harrow returned last Tuesday and had 31 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a win.
Back from the future
If you ask E.O. Smith (Storrs, Conn.) athletic director Steve Robichaud, all Tyler Olander did was come back home.
Before the season, Olander, a 6-9 senior power forward, transferred to Worcester Academy (Worcester, Mass.) and reclassified to the 2011 class.
"Now he's back with us and is a senior again," said Robichaud. "He's on track to graduate this spring."
Olander played at Smith his freshman, sophomore and junior years before heading to Worcester. He lists a top three of Connecticut, Florida and Wake Forest.
Ross on the move
Junior swingman LaQuinton Ross transferred to Life Center Academy (Burlington, N.J.) from Murrah (Jackson, Miss.) to concentrate on bettering his grades and focus more, according to Life Center coach Wilson Arroyo.
"His family and his AAU coach felt that he needed a change in order to get into the Clearinghouse," said Arroyo. "They also felt that athletically we provided an environment with our schedule that would challenge him more so that he can be the player he's supposed to be."
Ross, who is ranked No. 14 in the ESPNU Super 60, enrolled in classes last Monday and has played two games with the Warriors. In his debut, Ross dropped 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He followed that up with a 23-point, 13-rebound performance.
This is all while playing alongside guard Dion Waiters, a Syracuse signee who is rated No. 15 in the ESPNU 100.
The two have formed a devastating combo. In the two games with Ross, Waiters is averaging 21 points and 10 assists.
"It's been great for Dion because he had been getting a lot of double-teams all year," said Arroyo. "Now if you double-team Dion, Q will kill you, and if you double-team him, Dion will kill you. It's been working out great so far."
Arroyo said that Ross is still considering a handful of schools including Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi State, Syracuse and Florida.
By now, just about every high school hoops nut has heard that Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) coach Gary McKnight passed Mike Phelps, who coached at St. Joseph (Alameda, Calif.) and Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) as the all-time winningest coach in California boys basketball history.
The man he passed may be retired but he still finds time to attend every game featuring his beloved Bishop O'Dowd Dragons, and that's where he was when ESPN RISE saw him at a 66-61 road victory Jan. 20 over Hayward Area League rival San Leandro.
"I heard that he [McKnight] passed me, and it means a little, but not that much. 800-plus wins is 800-plus wins," Phelps said.
Besides being No. 1 in wins, McKnight is No. 1 in winning percentage (91.6 percent), according to the CalHiSports.com State Record Book and Almanac. Not far behind him on the winning percentage list is the only coach in California history to win state championships with two different boys teams, De La Salle of Concord's Frank Allocco.
On Jan. 20, Allocco recorded win No. 511 with his team's 50-30 victory over Amador Valley of Pleasanton. His overall record is 511-72, and his 87.6 winning percentage is No. 3 on the all-time state list.
With an average of 27.6 wins per year, the 55-year-old Allocco would need to coach approximately 12 more years to be near where McKnight is now, and at this point he's up to the task.
"I absolutely love coaching and I really have no intention of going anywhere," Allocco said. "I'll coach as long as my health allows me and somebody wants me."
DeMatha went west
McKnight got win No. 844 against DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) at the Hoophall Classic on Jan. 18 to even his mark against the Stags at 1-1. In 1984, Mater Dei ventured East and lost.
During the 1990-91 season, the Stags were supposed to play in an event called the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., but financial difficulties led them to a replacement tournament in California called the Gold Coast Artesia Classic, a five-team round robin event at Artesia High School in Lakewood.
It was the first time DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, brought his program to California to play. The Stags defeated San Pasqual (Escondido) and the host Pioneers by six points. Artesia had a young team led by three talented sophomores (Charles O'Bannon, Avondre Jones, James Cotton), while DeMatha also had an underclass-dominated team led by guard Duane Simpkins (Maryland) and current DeMatha coach Vaughn Jones, a 6-foot-4 wing.
That season, Jones averaged 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds and helped the Stags to a 30-0 record and No. 5 final FAB 50 (National Prep Poll) rating. In fact, the program went unbeaten -- the J.V. went 24-0 and the freshmen 21-0 -- the only time that happened in Wooten's program.
For more on McKnight and Wootten, click here.
Ronnie Flores, Harold Abend and Mark Tennis contributed to this story.