NORTH COLLEGE HILL -- Things are back to normal at North College Hill High. Well, almost.
Like two roving marauders, O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker swept into and out of this sleepy village just north of Cincinnati, leaving in their wake two state titles, a wealth of national attention and a load of controversy.
The thousands of fans who watched Mayo, Walker and Co. play hoops in college-sized arenas the past two seasons have been reduced to a couple hundred well-wishers at the tiny but adequate gym adjacent to the high school.
Mayo is tooling up for USC at a high school in Huntington, WV. Walker is playing for Bob Huggins at Kansas State. Meanwhile, NCH is getting by without them.
Returning contributors Damon Butler, Nathaniel Glover and Alphonso McPherson are beginning to gel just in time to make a run at another state title. While in the category of a miracle, a third-straight crown won by the Trojans without the Big Two would be some story.
Got my first chance to see NCH play basketball with homegrown talent last night, and they weren't bad: