Open Gym: Imhotep

It’s always the same… Dashiki-clad young people looking you in the eyes and greeting you, “How are you… Sir?” Each time, I make a mental note… “This school is a little different…”

This is truly a place that builds champions!

I make my way up the stairs and through the glass doors…  Now there are four doors and each and every time ONLY one is open… I swear it’s never the same door… No matter where I start, it’s always the 4th door I pull that allows me to enter…

Once in, a quick wave and “How you doing?” to the security staff to your immediate left… Then a leisurely stroll about 40 feet straight ahead to the “House that Bro. Andre Noble built.”

The small Imhotep Charter High School gym has become one of the most rigorous basketball training facilities in the nation. Year after year, Head Coach Andre Noble has produced Division 1 basketball players by the boatload!

As I tugged on the finicky gym door, I could see about 12-14 college coaches sitting in the one set of bleachers pulled out for their convenience… Their eyes were glued to the floor where, at least, 6 Division 1 players were competing in an intense series of scrimmages.

As usual, the kids were getting it in!

Last year’s team finished ranked in the Top 5 in the United States of America!

This year’s team might be better…

Overbrook in the mid 1950’s, West Philly in the mid 1970’s, Overbrook in the late 1970’s, Gratz in the early 1990’s… These may be the appropriate comparisons for this Philadelphia Public League juggernaut…

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Head Coach, Andre Noble addresses the Imhotep Varsity Basketball Team

 

Yeah… yeah… yeah… they lost David Beatty (South Carolina/SEC), Daron “Fatts” Russell (Rhode Island/A10) and Kobe Thomas (Robert Morris/NEC). For an ordinary program, those would be debilitating losses…

Not at Imhotep… Brother Andre’s bullpen is ALWAYS fully stocked… The next man up in the backcourt, junior Dhamir Bishop already has 10 scholarship offers before he has ever started a varsity basketball game. Penn State, St. Joseph’s, VCU, La Salle, Temple, Rutgers and several others really, really want Beatty and Fatt’s backup. For those old enough to remember, Bishop looks like La Salle great Steve Black reincarnated. He is wiry, yet strong, quick, explosive with excellent range.

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Junior Forward/Guard Donta Scott

 

Veteran leadership will be provided by, 3rd year starter, Donta Scott. A junior, Scott (UConn, St. Joseph’s, Temple, La Salle, Penn State) has been an integral component on the last two Imhotep squads. Capable of playing ALL five positions at the high school level, Scott will likely assume increased ball-handling and decision-making responsibilities with the departure of Russell and Beatty. A willing distributor, Scott is a true stat -sheet stuffer… Should average at least 15 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 apg, 3 bpg and 2 spg…

Running alongside, Scott and Bishop will be Chereef Knox, Jamil Riggins and Bernard Lightsey. Knox (Rider) is talented forward capable of playing with his back to the basket and facing up on the wing. Riggins (Central Connecticut State, Rider, Coppin State, Sacred Heart) is a powerfully built stretch 4 with a real nasty streak. He rebounds relentlessly and is very tough to move once he establishes position in the low post. Lightsey (low-major/high Division 2) is a combo guard with a very quick release and range that extends well beyond the collegiate 3 point line. He’s a capable ball handler and able to create space for his shot off the dribble using crossovers and in and out moves.

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Senior Combo-Guard, Bernard Lightsey

 

Once Noble goes to the bench, there will be very little if any fall off… Karam Cummings (St. Francis, PA) may be the most athletic player in the Imhotep program. He aggressively attacks the rim and finishes through contact… He will BANG on ya Head! He also exhibits excellent lateral quickness and a willingness to defend the most talented opposing wings. Fatayn Wesley is a quick, heady scoring point guard. He has a very good jump shot and makes good decisions in transition. A good athlete, Wesley is capable of emerging as an elite full court defender.

Sophomore Elijah Taylor is currently ranked #74 in the Class of 2020 by Future 150. Powerfully built and standing 6’7″ Taylor is an already elite scholastic Big. He will pound the boards and block shots at a high clip when called upon. Another sophomore, Sami Wylie, Jr is a rapidly improving sophomore point guard. He returns to school bigger, stronger, faster and more confident. He will compete for back court minutes off the bench. Senior, Amear Johnson returns as an experienced “glue guy” for this uber-talented group. He will provide a calming influence when called upon.

 

 

 

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