Hornets' Paul Presents Trophies At Oklahoma Prep Tournament

Tuesday, March 6th 2007, 7:58 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul made a surprise appearance Saturday at State Fair Arena to help present team and individual awards after two Oklahoma high school championship basketball games.

Paul greeted players from both teams on the court at the arena popularly known as ``The Big House'' following Lomega's 71-62 win over Dover in the Class B girls final, and did the same following the Class A boys final, in which Okeene beat Beaver 51-46.

He even posed for a team picture with Lomega's squad after the Raiders received their championship trophy.

Chesapeake Energy, an Oklahoma City-based company which features Paul in some of its promotions, also is the official sponsor of the awards presentations at the tournament, which is run by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.

The Hornets played in Chicago on Friday night before returning to Oklahoma City, where they have played most of their home games the past two seasons. Paul said he rushed from the Hornets' practice session Saturday afternoon to State Fair Arena so that he could assist with the awards presentations after the Lomega-Dover game.

``When (Chesapeake) told me what (the appearance) was for, I was excited,'' Paul said. ``When you have basketball as your profession, you can never be around it too much.''

Paul, in his second season with the Hornets, also was featured in announcements broadcast over the arena's public-address system during the small-school tournaments, encouraging fans to support their teams.

At 21, Paul isn't much older than some of the players in the tournament. Although he enjoyed much personal success at West Forsyth High School in Lewisville, N.C. _ averaging 30.8 points per game as a senior in 2003 and making the McDonald's All-America team _ he said he remains disappointed that his prep team never won a state championship.

He said that no matter what level a team plays at, winning a championship is a worthy goal.

``The people make the game, not the location,'' he said.

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