Monday, October 04, 2010
Ex-Radford player joins Globetrotters
Eric Hall played for the Highlanders team that lost to UNC in the NCAAs in 2009.
When Eric Hall was a shot-swatting, heavy dunking Radford University basketball player, he would join teammates and work at coach Brad Greenberg's summer camp. During most break periods, a familiar scene unfolded.
"There'd be 10 kids sitting around him, climbing all over him, the littlest kids in the camp," Greenberg said. "They just gravitated toward him. He'd hold court, talking with them. He was the counselor or coach at camp that all the kids wanted to run around and hang out with."
The last collegiate game in which the 6-foot-8 Greensboro, N.C., native played was before a 2009 hometown audience in Radford's 101-58 NCAA tournament loss to eventual national champion North Carolina. However, some weeks before that, Greenberg had a hunch that with the right fit, Hall could play professional basketball once he was done at Radford. That right fit has been an unconventional one.
The Harlem Globetrotters signed Hall to one of six new rookie contracts Thursday and sent him to training camp in New York.
Hall accepted congratulations by telephone, but said he could not elaborate on his experiences until being briefed by Globetrotters publicists early next week.
"He can't say anything," Globetrotters coach Barry "High Rise" Hardy said. "They have to talk to him Monday about his talking points and other things. If he says anything now, he'll get in trouble and so will I."
Hall, who finished at Radford with 328 career points, 314 rebounds, and 100 blocks, has been dubbed by the team with his nom de hoops: "Hacksaw."
He'll join in this year's rookie class with former Michigan star Brent "Thunder" Petway, Woodell "Woody" Payne from the University of Detroit, Garry "Bingo" Beverly of Clark Atlanta, Kirk "Zeus" Stewart of New York Institute of Technology, and Brian "Slingshot" Addison of the University of Buffalo.
Camp breaks Oct. 7 with tours of Europe and Mexico to follow. The first stop will be Oct. 10 in Marseille, France.
Greenberg was the first to contact the Globetrotters about Hall. A video followed.
"They called right back after they watched the video and said he looks like the kind of player we should take a look at," Greenberg said.
Hall attended a tryout the first week of August.
"I got a call when I was on vacation from one of the coaches of the Globetrotters, who said he just wanted to talk some more about him, but he'd been great. He did a great job," Greenberg said. "The coach said, 'We think we're going to offer him a contract, that kind of thing. We want him, we just need to find out more about him.' "
When it was concluded that Hall would have the temperament and character to handle an international schedule that will include 270 shows in North America alone before mid-April 2011, the deal was all but done.
Of the Radford group that lost to Carolina in the NCAAs, Hall is the fourth to sign a pro contract. Classmate Kenny Thomas was recently agreed to terms with a team in Geneva, Switzerland. Joey Lynch-Flohr will also play in Switzerland. Art Parakhouski will play in Latvia.
The Globetrotters will be perfect for Hall, Greenberg said.
"He loves kids. He has a great smile," Greenberg said. "He's a wonderful athlete, but he has a bigger heart, strong as his physical attributes are. If you know Eric, he's got an amazing heart. He's a very, very unselfish, caring person."