White Privilege: The Curious Case of Patrick Johnson

America is experiencing racial tension and strife unlike anything we have seen since the tumultuous 1960’s. Those of you familiar with the work of the Black Cager, have witnessed a relentless push for opportunities in the world of scholastic and collegiate athletics since 2013. The Black Cager platform is highly visible and well respected in the worlds of grassroots, scholastic and collegiate basketball.

Over a two week period in April, the following people appeared on Black Cager Sports talk for extensive and wide-ranging interviews:

Pat Chambers, Head Coach, Penn State Men’s Basketball

Frank Martin, Head Coach, South Carolina Men’s Basketball

Bruce Pearl, Head Coach, Auburn University Men’s Basketball

Jamion Christian, Head Coach, George Washington Men’s Basketball

Dwayne Killings, Associate Head Coach, Marquette Basketball

Kimani Young, Asst. Coach, UConn Basketball

Adam Fisher, Asst. Coach, Miami Basketball

Dave Caputo, Asst. Coach, Miami Basketball

Ashley Howard, La Salle University Basketball

Keith Stevens, Director, Team Takeover Basketball Club

There were many, many others but you get the point. The Black Cager platform is respected as a place where basketball people come to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns about the game at the grassroots, scholastic and collegiate levels.

Five years ago, I used the Black Cager platform to condemn the fact that there were ZERO (0) Black coaches among the 6 Division 1 programs (Penn, Temple, Drexel, La Salle, Villanova and St. Joseph’s), 4 Division 2 programs (Jefferson, Chestnut Hill, Sciences and Holy Family) and the 14 Catholic League teams.

Today, Temple and La Salle have Black head coaches. Chestnut Hill has a Black head coach. St. Joseph’s Prep (boys basketball), McDevitt (boys basketball), Hallahan (girls basketball), West Catholic Prep (girls basketball, boys basketball, football and athletic director), Roman Catholic (football) and Neumann-Goretti (football) have minority coaches in place. O’Hara (boys basketball) and Conwell-Egan (boys basketball) have had Black coaches that have since moved on.

That’s progress.

Additionally, I have used the Black Cager platform and Black Cager Scouting service to provide exposure for high school prospects in the mid-Atlantic region. Last September, I hosted 78 teams that played 78 highly competitive games in the Black Cager Fall Classic. These games were held at Friends Central high School and the Sixers G-League facility. The action was intense and the fans filled the facilities to the limit.

 

Over the past 15 years, I have utilized the Black Cager platform to help hundreds of young men and women successfully transition from high school to college. Below is a small partial listing of the young people I have helped transition to college.

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This list does not include more recent kids like Charlie Brown (St. Joseph’s/NBA), Donta Scott (Maryland), Alliya Butts (Temple), Deja Reynolds (Lincoln/Temple) or current kids like Nisine “Wooga” Poplar, Rahsool Diggins, Taquan Woodley and Hysier Miller.

These young people have leveraged their athletic ability to access higher education. That is the mission of Black Cager Sports. Most people respect and appreciate the work we do.

But then, there are people like Laura Ingraham and Patrick Johnson. These are privileged white folk who are extremely perturbed by the existence of independent Black voices. These are the white folk that want Black males especially to just “shut up and dribble.”

Black Cager sports makes extensive use of R&B and hip hop music. In my social media posts, I frequently use quotes from historic figures like Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Martin L. King Jr. From time to time, I borrow lines like the one below from American classics like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

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For over a century, American school children have consumed Twain’s writings. We were told over and over again, this is “great” literature. Likewise, Tupac’s lyrics are widely considered to be examples of “great” contemporary poetry.

But… When you are exercising your white privilege and these literary classics appear on Black Cager Sports social media platforms, the use of the word “nigger” by a Black man becomes “racist.”

Not just racist, but grounds for a sustained campaign to have me terminated from my position with National College Preps. For anyone that has ever wondered, this is what white privilege looks like in action…

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White man trying to have a Black man terminated for writing “nigga” on his personal page… That’s his cause… That’s his contribution to the battle for racial justice in America today… White privilege is REAL… At least in his mind…

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To his credit… Mr. Johnson is persistent… He really is struggling to understand why his white privilege is NOT being accepted immediately… “Karen” wants to speak to the “manager.”

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When the corporation responded, Karen wasn’t satisfied… It’s like I asked her to leash her dog in Central Park… Or, I tried to grill a hamburger in the park in Oakland… Karen is SERIOUS! She wants me fired….

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I would like to let Karen know… My posts are MINE and MINE ALONE.

I take tremendous pride in being an independent voice for what I think is right.

I have NEVER run my social media posts by anyone… EVER!

Nor will I begin to do so…

I would not want to be associated with an organization that attempted to silence or censor my free speech.

So, in response to the threat to go to the media, I have provided this response. Please feel to copy the link and forward to as many media outlets as you wish.

What matters more? What’s more significant? Hundreds of kids accessing college through sports or Karen’s hurt feeling because she saw or heard a Black man use a word permeating English literature, contemporary music and prominent comedy acts?

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I hope you get a media outlet to take up your cause… I’m more than ready to have the discussion…

I always say, white people do nigga shit all the time… this is Exhibit A!

Delgreco K. Wilson

Explaining Black Looting and Destruction to My Grandson

My grandson, Kameron is 3 years old. He is a bright, energetic and inquisitive boy. Unfortunately, his entry into this world coincided with the rise of a racist/white supremacist shyster reality television personality to the highest office and the most powerful position in the world. In that way, Kam’s timing was really fucked up. But like most 3 year olds, he lives a sheltered existence with narrowly circumscribed responsibilities.

Kam has one job… developing his intellect and ability to think critically. He is well on his way on both counts, he is eagerly learning to count and read… His quest for knowledge is quite voracious… My young beautiful, Black grandson thinks.

A decade from now he will be in a middle school classroom and the subject of riots spreading like wildfire across America’s urban centers will inevitably become a topic of discussion.

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, racist/white supremacist police officers will continue to murder unarmed Black men.

At some point, I am quite sure, Kam will ask, “Pop-Pop why did the Blacks loot and destroy their own community?”

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Fortunately, I will be in position to explicate some carefully considered ideas to my grandson. He won’t have to search beyond his grandfather and our personal library for thoughtful explanations of behavioral problems that continue to baffle most Black observers.

When he is around 13, I will have to share and explain Neely Fuller’s often cited quote with Kam:

“If you don’t understand white supremacy/racism, everything that you do understand will only confuse you..”

I fully expect that Kam, like most Black people, will struggle mightily with this conceptualization.

His initial response will likely be something along the lines of “Pop-Pop… I’m talking about Black people that participate in the looting, burning and destruction of businesses in their own community. That hurts them as much as, if not more than, it hurts white people.”

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Kam will be correct. Their behavior is NOT rational.

Eldery Blacks, the grandparents and great-grandparents of many of the looters and arsonists are disproportionately harmed when community stores, markets and pharmacies are destroyed. The actions of the looters make zero sense when assessed from what is commonly referred to as a rational perspective.

It will be my responsibility to help this highly intelligent young boy understand that while the destructive pattern of rioting, looting and destructive behaviors exhibited by Blacks in the mid-1960’s, the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and now 2020 is not ‘rational,’ it can be considered functionally ‘sensible.’ Although these behaviors take certain forms we usually consider the height of irrationality, they are sensible because they are well-adapted to the exigent circumstances that accompany the racism/white supremacy at the core of the American creed.

It will be challenging, but I know my grandson will grasp the dynamics at play.

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For most observers, both academic and journalistic, behavior is best explained utilizing a cost-benefit, reward-punishment approach. The key thing I will want Kam to understand is that the persistence and all-encompassing nature of racism/white supremacy severely limits the explanatory power of the rational choice approach when it is applied to frustrated Black behavior.

Son… racism/white supremacy ain’t rational… and, racism/white supremacy ain’t goin’ nowhere anytime soon.

Police, as you are told over and over in school and through the mainstream media, are there to protect and serve the community as a whole. The narrative is familiar… Citizens experience a threat to their person or property, they call 911 and the police respond. The responding officers take the report and make very effort to solve the crime. The victims are treated in a respectful and professional manner by law enforcement officials. More often than not, the criminal matter is resolved, the culprit is identified, the prosecuting attorney indicts and the justice system holds the criminal to account for his actions. After such encounters with police, every attempt is made to full fully respect the rights of the victims and alleged perpetrators. “Americans are innocent until proven guilty,” that’s what they teach you in school, right?  In this way, citizens develop a preference for solving matters within the system in full accordance with the law. This is typical “goal-motivated” behavior. This is what my grandson will come to expect, given the manner in which the educational system and mainstream media deal with crime. This is the world familiar to white Americans, where correct choices lead to benefit and where wrong choice are costly.

That’s NOT the world in which Black America lives.

What happens if justice is made random and unpredictable for Black people? What happens is exactly what “rationalists” would expect; after some trial and error, Blacks sensibly refuse to call upon the police; one might say that rewards being random, they reduce costs to zero.

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But what if Blacks are forced into encounters with the police. Real life, after all, frequently forces Blacks into police entanglements when avoidance may be their preference. Suppose you are Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 23 year old Black man, standing in front of your front door and four white plain-clothed officers—Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon, and Kenneth Boss claim to have mistaken you for a rape suspect from one year earlier and fire a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which strike and instantly kill you, outside your apartment in the Bronx.

Suppose you are Abner Louima, a 31 year old Black man and you get into a fight in a Brooklyn nightclub. You are arrested and on the ride to the station, racist/white supremacist cops beat you with their fists, nightsticks, and hand-held police radios. On arriving at the station house, they kick you in the testicles, and while Louima’s hands were cuffed behind his back, a sadistic cop squeezed your testicles and then sexually assaulted you with a broken broomstick. After sodomizing you, the racist cop walked through the precinct holding the bloody, shit-stained instrument in his hand, bragging that he “took a man down tonight.”

Suppose you are Rodney King and you try to outrun the police in a high speed chase. Once the police stop you, they use their nightsticks to batter your joints, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Officers attempted numerous baton strikes on you, resulting in some misses but 33 blows hitting you, plus seven kicks. You was taken to the hospital after your arrest, where you are found to have suffered a fractured facial bones, a broken right ankle, and multiple bruises and lacerations. In a negligence claim filed with the city, you alleged you suffered “11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, broken [bones and teeth], kidney failure [and] emotional and physical trauma”.

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Suppose you are Walter Scott and you end up shot five times in the back after a traffic stop for a broken brake light. Suppose you are Philando Castile and you inform a cop during a traffic stop that you have a licensed gun in the car and he shoots you five times at close range. Suppose you are John Crawford III and you pull a BB gun off the shelf in a Wal-Mart and a cop shoots you twice killing you instantly inside the store.

Suppose you are George Floyd and a store clerk alleges that you used a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Seventeen minutes after the police arrive on the scene, you are dead. Three officers have you pinned on the ground, in the street next to a car. One of the officers is using his knee and body weight to literally crush your throat.

Existing within an explicitly racist/white supremacist society, Black men in America have always faced an insoluble problem. Frustration is inevitable when faced by problems that are impossible to solve. Black men want to live but racist/white supremacist police repeatedly kill them and, for the most part, are not held accountable by the justice system in America.

What happens, essentially, is that frustrated ‘raging’ behaviors become stereotyped. Some Black males loot. Others destroy property proximate to their communities. These behaviors are consistent across geographic regions and over time. These stereotypical behaviors persist whether or not their friends, families and neighbors will be negatively impacted. Most striking is the fact that the stereotyped behavior persists even when sanctioned and approved protest opportunities are available. Frustrated Black males are aware of the locations and times of sanctioned protests, but they pillage and loot anyway.
This is evidence of the extent to which, these patterns of frustrated behaviors have become fixated.

Virtually every cop killing of an unarmed Black man is accompanied by raging behaviors among young Black males. So much so, that by now it should be evident that a percentage young Black frustrated males no longer inhabits a world of choice at all.

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Kam, after centuries of existing within a racist/white supremacist society, a segment of the Black community that has a developed an infrequent orientation to the future… Plainly stated… They don’t “give a fuck!” They have developed a level of resignation and fatalism and tolerance for behaviors other regard as pathological. Kam, people will continue to ask “what’s wrong them?”

Racist/white supremacist law enforcement officials will continue to murder unarmed Blacks. A segment of Black men, unable to reasonably expect the criminal justice system in America to hold racist cops accountable, will engage in fixated behaviors that severely damage their immediate surroundings.

“Pop-Pop… What can be done about it?”

Kam… As long as racism/white supremacy exists, anything done that is not intended to eliminate racism/white supremacy and to help produce justice, is a waste of time and energy… Racism/white supremacy is a helluva drug son…

Don’t trust cops!

Black Trump Supporters: Da Fuck Y’all Doing?

America… led by President Donald Trump is regressing toward it’s historical norm… For 350 or so years, racism/white supremacy was the unquestioned guiding principle of life in what came to be known as the United States of America. President Trump, Steven Miller and Steve Bannon are ‘traditional’ Americans. Like the Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon, Strom Thurmond and legions of other “great” Americans, they are ardent racist/white supremacists.

This is their time… The recent lynchings Ahmaud Arbery and George Lloyd are merely the latest episodes in a horrific saga stretching back four centuries.

The last half century has been the aberration. Indeed, for many supporters of President Trump, the clock has run out on the Great Society experiment focusing on inclusion, power-sharing and human decency.

FUCK THAT, they say… These racist/white supremacists want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

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They want to ensure the 400 year legacy of unquestioned white dominance in all things political, economic, social and educational continues even after white people become a numerical minority in 10-20 years.

These racist/white supremacists are NOT crazy, they are NOT misguided… In fact, they have a much better understanding of the dynamics of American history than the 55-60% with opposing views. They understand REAL American history… The rest of us have consumed a fictitious fairy tale.

Driving their politics is a deep seated fear that minorities will do unto them as they have done unto minorities.

Americans in general… Especially Black Americans, have been woefully mis-educated. Thus, they find themselves shocked and dumbfounded when forced to confront the reality that the United States of America, like South Africa throughout most of the 20th century, is a profoundly racist/white supremacist nation-state.

Lately, Black Americans are being treated like puppies being potty trained… White America is rubbing our faces in the big pile of steaming shit that is racism/white supremacy. It’s seeping into our mouths, it’s in our eyes, it’s up our noses… It burns… It hurts…

Black Americans are literally mad because the racist/white supremacist dog is barking… Yooo… That’s what dogs do… ‘Good’ white Americans, on the other hand, remind of fish being told they are wet… Huh?

This mis-education is intentional and begins the moment American children exit their mother’s womb. It is reinforced from the moment they step foot in an American school building. With determination and skill, patently false and historically inaccurate narratives are deeply ingrained. Americans, from pre-school through Ph.D programs are taught that the United States is a “liberal democratic’ society shaped most by free and equal conditions and the Enlightenment ideals cherished by white colonists fleeing Europe and the American Founding Fathers. History, as it is written for public consumption and taught in public schools, tells us the United States of America was born a liberal society governed by the popular will.

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It’s a lie. A dirty MUTHAFUCKIN’ lie!

American history is the story of the struggle between racist/white supremacist males and the rest of us. The history of American societal development has been PRIMARILY defined by the ideologies and practices that defined the relationships of the dominant white male minority with subordinate groups, and the relationships of these groups with each other. The placement of anything other than racist/white supremacist male dominance at the center of analysis is distraction at best, obfuscation at worst. The democracy founded by the founding fathers and endlessly lauded in textbooks was nothing more than a narrowly circumscribed set of social relationships among wealthy land and slave owning white male elites entrenched on mountains racism/white supremacy. The overwhelming majority of people in America have caught hell at the hands of racist/white supremacist American males for more than 400 years.
The MAGA crowd knows this and longs for a return to this American societal normalcy.

Since their arrival on August 1619, Blacks in America have worked to erode those mountains of racism/white supremacy over time. However, on many occasions, the mountains have proven to be volcanoes of evil, hate and rage. Presently, we are witnessing yet another volcanic eruption of racism/white supremacy as the tanning of America pushes these “traditional” American to their limits.

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The emergence of an intensely racist/white supremacist movement is entirely understandable… These folks have had it their way for 87.5% (350 out of 400 years) of American history.

“Da fuck you mean? I can’t kill a nigger?”

What’s unfathomable is the level of support for the racist/white supremacist movement that has emerged among Black Males. To the 13-15% of Black males supporting President Donald Trump, I offer the prophetic words of Sociologist Neely Fuller:

“If you do not understand White supremacy – what it is, and how it works, everything else that you understand will only confuse you.”

Dr. Carson… Brother Kanye… Brother Jim Brown… Sister Diamond and Sister Silk… Y’all are fully embracing the re-emergence good old-fashioned American racist/white supremacy… We see you…

You know what? Fuck y’all…

Four hundred years ago, racist/white supremacist Americans chose sides. John Rolfe, Secretary and Recorder of the Virginia Colony wrote the following entry “about the last of August, there came to Virginia a Dutchman of Warre that sold us twenty Negers.” Thus, a year and a half before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, twenty enslaved Blacks were high-jacked from a Spanish ship and sold into a life of bondage in what would become the United States of America.”

Dr. Carson… Brother Kanye… Brother Jim Brown… Sister Diamond and Sister Silk… Let there be no doubt, you are on the side of the Dutch slaver, John Rolfe and racist/white supremacist colonists. For four hundred years they have writing and enacting laws making it very clear that they don’t fuck with you…

The first “law” making reference to Blacks written in 1639.

“1639. Act X. All persons except Negros are to be provided with arms and ammunition or defined at the pleasure of the governor and council.”

Game… Blouses!

From the outset… Laws were written to uphold, sustain and strengthen brutally enforced the rigidly enforced racist/white supremacist social order.

Shit only got worse over time… By 1680, the superiority of whites in the emerging social order was explicitly written into law:

“1680. Act X. Whereas the frequent meetings of considerable numbers of Negro slave under pretense of feast and burials is judged of dangerous consequence [it] enacted that no Negro or slave may carry arms, such as any club, staff, gun, sword, or other weapon, nor go from his owner’s plantation without a certificate and then only on necessary occasions; the punishment twenty lashed on the bare back, well laid on. And further, if any Negro lift up his hand against any Christian he shall receive thirty lashes, and if he absent himself or lie out from his master’s service and resist lawful apprehension, he may be killed and this law shall be published every six months.”

Black Trump supporters… you are siding with the folk that wrote and enacted this shit… These people have historically sought to completely dehumanize your ancestors. How do you watch the life literally squeezed out of George Logan and not realize that racist/white supremacists remain committed to precluding Blacks from responding in a manner thought normal for human beings?

Candace Owens and Paris Dennard… Who raised ya?

Amy Cooper, the white damsel in imaginary distress, understands what you refuse to acknowledge. She played the game for keeps… That racist skank tried to bring the full force of the NYPD to bear on a brother trying to watch birds in Central Park. George Cooper, a Harvard educated bird watcher, had the audacity… the temerity… to ask the skank to comply with the posted leashing laws. For this, the skank sought to ruin Cooper. Why? Because, this former banking executive knows she lives in a racist/white supremacist nation and knows she could conceivably wreck Cooper’s life and permanently tarnish his reputation or perhaps even main or kill him with the lies pouring out her privileged white mouth. She knows… It has NEVER been criminal for a white man to have sexual relations with a Black woman, forcibly or consensual. However, racism/white supremacy has always sought to protect white women from the Black male penis.

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Always been that way… Many want to make America Great Again along those lines…

In 1705, the Virginia General Assembly declared that a white woman indentured servant who had an illegitimate child by a Black or mulatto was fined fifteen pounds; if she was unable to pay the fine she was sold for five years at the expiration of her time of service. If the unwed white mother was a free white woman she was also subject to a fifteen pound fine or five years of service.”

The 1705 statute imposed a prison sentence of 6 months for “whatsover white man or woman” marrying a Black person. In 1848, the sentence was increased to 12 months. In 1932, the imprisonment was imposed on Blacks and whites and the sentence was increased to a maximum of five years.

I was 2 years old when interracial marriage were finally banned in the United States of America.

The vestiges of America’s long dominant racist/white supremacist factions have come together. They have lined up, in neat formation, behind President Trump. He has been strongly endorsed by the KKK, David Duke, Richard Spenser and virtually every contemporary far-right/wing alt-right organization in existence.

What the fuck are y’all Blacks doing over in that camp?

If Trump, Miller and Bannon are able to further exert their political will, we will inevitably witness the reemergence of America’s core value in American public policy.

Racist/white supremacists are enthralled with the Founding Fathers and the social order prevailing in colonial America. They long for a return to a time when publicly lynching Blacks was a spectator sport.

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Colonial Virginia explicitly declared, “it shall be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever, to kill and destroy [runaway] slaves by such ways and means as he, she or they shall think fit, without accusation or impeachment of any crime for the same…”

These colonial laws formed the basis of the Virginia society from which George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison emerged. Hence, it makes sense that they were ardent racist/white supremacists and viewed Black as less than human and established a nation whose economy was based on the work of enslaved Blacks on armed labor camps.

It makes prefect sense that enslaved Blacks were afforded absolutely no rights under the Constitutional arrangement formed by these Founding Fathers.

It makes sense that 7 of the 9 justices on the United States Supreme Court determined that Blacks have no rights white people are bound to respect in 1857.

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“We think… that [black people] are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time [of America’s founding] considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.”

It makes sense that racist/white Americans installed, entrenched and rigidly enforced, through terroristic means, an Apartheid-like Jim Crow social order throughout much of America from 1877 to the mid 1960s.

It’s the American way. Racism/white supremacy is at the core of the American creed.

Donald Trump stuck a syringe full of racist/white supremacist hate and mainlined it into veins of America’s body politic. After that initial hit, those addicted to hate have been riding around in pick up trucks, SUVs and police cars in search of next their fix.

Look at the face of the racist/white supremacist cop as he choked the life out of an unarmed, handcuffed Black man being restrained face down by a total of three (3) police officers.

This is America!

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It make sense that Donald Trump would harangue President Obama about his place of birth and nationality.

It makes sense that President Trump would restrict immigration from Black and Brown countries.

It makes sense that President Trump would attempt to suppress the vote in Black and Brown communities.

What doesn’t make sense is 13-15% of Black males and the few women like Diamond, Silk and Candace Owens that support the contemporary racism/white supremacy embodied in the Trump movement…

The only plausible explanation is what Carter G. Woodson identified in 1993 as The Mis-Education of the Negro:

“The so-called modern education, with all its defects, however, does others so much more good than it does theNegro, because it has been worked out in conformity to the needs of those who have enslaved and oppressed weaker peoples.”

How Does “Club Transfer” Impact HS Recruiting?

by Eric Dixon

Portals have entry and exit points, so as an unprecedented number of players are entering the transfer portal, it’s impacting the recruitment side of the equation. Colleges are still recruiting high schoolers but this may change in the coming years as the portal offerings are exploding and the advantages college coaches gain from bringing in a seasoned transfer are plain and plentiful.

“Transfers are more experienced… they know what’s expected,” said one college coach polled for this piece. He went on to explain that transfers know how to eat, how hard you have to practice and all these little things freshman have to catch up on.” One local high school coach mentioned Tyrese Martin, who has decided to leave Rhode Island for the den of Huskies at UConn. “UConn isn’t going to be able to get anybody out of high school that’s better than (Martin),” he said matter-of-factly.

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Georgetown’s Mac McClung is in the Transfer Portal

Skip Robinson, head coach for the WeR1 program, added another pertinent point, saying “they can bring in a transfer and know that he’s notGeorgetown going to leave right away.” He further explained that the player had already transferred once so it is unlikely the player would be in a hurry to jump ship again.

These advantages lead some to think that it will change how programs will recruit players. Many believe that kids who fall out of the top 200 may not get recruited very heavily or receive as many actual offers because programs will begin to shift their priorities to looking at the portal first to fill holes, especially if those gaps are at key positions. If the coach is on a “warm seat” the urgency to bring in transfers may be greater.

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La Salle’s Ed Croswell transferred to Providence

If you don’t believe the high rate of transfers, as of April 25th 73 of the 351 Division I schools have 4 or more players in the portal, is real, then you are fooling yourself. One Patriot league coach spelled out how it’s affected recruiting at the low and mid major levels since only 3 of the 73 schools are from a Power 5 conference.

“First step is accepting it as reality… On average 3+ players from every roster will enter the portal.” This assessment is consistent with the numbers when you look at the number of players in the portal (approximately 850) relative to the number of players (about 4100) there are at the D1 level.

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Binghamton’s Sam Sessoms transferred to Penn State

The portal itself may also expedite this shift because prior to it’s establishment “you had to have relationships to hear about who was on the market and get contact information,” said one college head coach. “Now you have greater access,” he noted. He did, however, disagree that there would be a trend toward recruiting transfers over high school seniors or prep players. “You recruit as normal and look to the portal late.”

Here is where high school players and parents need to pay attention because it gets tricky. The exodus to the portal has affected how the recruitment strategy has to be planned out. “There are going to be way more seniors recruited” said the coach, but “the relationships are going to end up being more “interest than offers,” as college coaches will be recruiting based on contingencies rather than realities because “they have to be ready” when/if players leave unexpectedly. “We still want high school kids, but you can’t simply replace (transfers) with more young players.” Coaches plan their recruitment strategy based on having a certain level of maturity and experience on their rosters. If an older player enters the portal, he is taking that expected experience with him so in order to maintain a balance and the planned team progression, a transfer is a better option in replacing him. Besides that, “Older players win.” In previous years a school might bring in 4 players, all high school seniors. Now that may change. It may be only 2 or 3 high schoolers and 2 or 1 transfer(s).

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Towson’s Allen Betrand transferred to Rhode Island

A local college coach also offered a possible explanation of why the portal has added ease on both sides. “I think the transfer portal makes it easy for the kids now. There doesn’t have to be any face to face interaction when you decide you are leaving.”

So the question becomes why would you look to bring in high schooler when a transfer would most certainly be more ready and possibly more stable? “Potential growth,” according to one coach. “A high school senior might have a lower floor, but higher ceiling.” If you do a solid job recruiting and bring in the “right” young players, then you can have confidence that the player would meet their potential over time at the primary school.

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West Chester’s Robbie Heath transferred to Pepperdine

Robinson noted that this may be more problematic in this “Club Transfer” environment because it makes “projection” difficult. “Whenever you bring in a player you’re projecting how he might be able to help you in a couple years, but now he might not be there in a couple years because he’s not happy not playing.”

Robinson also made it clear that transferring was sometimes necessary. “Sometimes a player gets homesick or there are family issues that makes him feel like he needs to be closer, or a coaching change. Or sometimes you just have to realize every player ain’t right for every coach.”

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Saint Joseph’s Chereef Knox transferred to Coppin State

One PCL coach said a coaching change spurred his transfer from a mid-major to eventually playing 2 years at a high major school after spending his freshman year at a low major, where he excelled. His episodic journey led to a progression up the levels of college basketball which was a “blessing” in many ways because he didn’t think he would have been ready to contribute at a high-major program coming out of high school.

“It would have been tough,” he said of trying to adjust to the rigors and pace of college basketball after completing the 12th grade at just 17 years old. “I matured and was more used to being on my own, taking care of myself,” he said, further explaining why the transfer route was good for him as a player and person.

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Temple’s Josh Pierre-Louis transferred to Cal Santa Barbara

Still, another advantage a high school senior may have is “timing”, according to a local AAU director. “The portal doesn’t usually open until December. High school guys can commit before it opens.” This makes holding offers less desirable even though many high school players like to wait to gather more offers so they can announce them on social media. Playing that game may cost some an opportunity to play at the school of their choice. Also, there may be fewer scholarship opportunities for true freshman at the higher levels forcing them to decide to go to a lower level, hope to play really well then transfer up, as Robbie Heath, the former Abington Senior High School standout, was able to do in garnering a scholarship from Pepperdine University after torching opponents in the PSAC at Division II West Chester University.

Talent and timing versus experience and readiness is the dilemma facing many college coaches as they make decisions regarding their strategies and allocation of recruiting resources. The tipping point may be the general security of the coach or urgency of the positional need. The game has changed and the growth of the portal has made it easier for both entry and exit. This adds another dimension for high school upperclassmen and prep players who might be forced to make commitment decisions sooner than they might want to and go places they believe are below their ability.

 

I’m Putting My Name in the Draft! Why?

by Eric Dixon

Philadelphia, PA: Reasons matter. So often we take an “ends justifies the means” approach, valuing results over reasons. Eventually, it all catches up and we are left wondering how we end up with unintended consequences. Some of those consequences are a cause for alarm, while others are  to be celebrated.

I’ve chronicled both the confusion over a player’s appropriate level and the growth of the Transfer Portal in recent weeks. The proliferation of entrants into the transfer portal is lamented by many, while lauded by others. Those who see it as a negative point to it as a sign of immaturity or bad evaluation and decision making in the recruitment and college selection process. Others see it as a move toward greater student-athlete autonomy and freedom of movement. Really it’s both, but the reasons why matter.

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Rasheed Wallace and David Stern

When I asked the question of coaches, AAU directors, scouts and trainers too often the NBA comes up. This is insane to me. “The reason why kids want to go to play ball in college has changed,” said one AAU Director. “They all want to go to the league.”

In speaking with one scout who played in both high school and college, he said he started playing because he was attracted to “playing in the games.” He was enamored with the atmosphere, environment and lifestyle that came with being a ballplayer. “I didn’t really care for practice or any of that other stuff.” He just wanted to play in the games. He didn’t even think about whether the NBA was in his future until a college professor asked him about it as he approached his junior year.

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David Stern and Dion Waiters

Why did you start playing?

For me it was a chance to get free college tuition. I wasn’t much of an athlete going into middle school. I had attended an educational enrichment program at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) and, in deference to the constant urging of my mother, had come to believe my best chance to escape the wanton violence and rampant poverty of my neighborhood was to go to college. “You don’t like where we live. Get an education and get out” she would tell me. I knew I had to go to college and I knew that it cost money my family didn’t have. So I primarily started playing basketball to go to college. Seems as though many kids are doing it the other way around.

“Things are different now.” They certainly are with the rise of social media, the increase of influencers and the focus on individual goals in the team sport. Players are implored to make their own decisions and “live their own life”. Sounds great and in many ways it is great. There was no way I was going to make my son’s college decision for him. I had taken my injury plagued basketball career as far as I could take it and am at peace with how much the game gave me. He was the one who would have to endure the practices and mind games of the coaches that I knew would come with being a student-athlete in a high-major program, so it was best to let him make the decision.

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David Stern and Marcus Morris

Our family and support system helped by arranging and paying for him to make more than a dozen unofficial visits, play against all levels of competition and gather as much information about the schools recruiting him as we could. We also helped him set goals and expectations of what he wanted from his college experience. Asked questions like, “Do you want to live at a big school or smaller one? Where do you want to settle after graduation and what are non-basketball career goals? Did the NBA come up?  Yes.  At 6-8, a consensus top 75 player with his resume would be remiss in not making the NBA a part of the discussion. We discussed it with people at USA Basketball, pro scouts, current and past NBA players and UAA connections regarding how realistic it was and what he would need to do to make his dream a reality since he’s not currently an NBA prospect. Our access to the resources and people who have helped in that discussion is not shared by the majority of people making their college decision. We also understand that you don’t get to choose the NBA, they choose you- or not. The reasons they don’t choose some and do choose others is beyond his control so he prepares and makes decisions based on what he can control.

Another difference is social media. This has been a huge influence on the changes in the last couple years. Again, with mixed results. Some young people, who often don’t consider the ramifications of their actions beyond when their next round of SnapChats will appear and disappear, still don’t seem to understand what it means to have a digital footprint or what it can mean if it leaves a negative impression. Donte DiVincenzo had his draft celebrations marred by allegations stemming from a post on his twitter account from his middle school years.

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David Stern and Markeiff Morris

“It’s one of the first things we check,” said one assistant coach from the A-10.
One positive byproduct of this movement to play in college is higher rates of success among student-athletes, especially African Americans, according to the NCAA measurement of success, Graduate Success Rate (GSR). “More than three-quarters of African-American college athletes — 77 percent — earned their degrees, up from 74 percent last year. The rate has risen 21 percentage points since 2002,” according to a NCAA report published in 2018.

Others say this stat is misleading and that the real outcomes are less rosy with respect to actual graduate rates. The GSR doesn’t note the level of responsibility the original universities have for those who transfer or those who seek to transfer but end up just leaving school all together.

“Thus, the NCAA system is not held accountable for a significant number of recruited athletes,”  wrote the authors of a recent article titled “The Hoax of NCAA Graduation Rates.” “Even for those included in the GSR cohort as transfers, the original recruiting school is absolved of responsibility for failing to retain them.” -Politifact, February 1, 2018. When considering that the Federal Graduation rates put the actual number at less than 50 percent, it does seem as if something is amiss with the NCAA number crunching.

 “Sometimes people lose focus on their original reasons,” said James Nelson, local veteran of the AAU community. He explained that with the growth of previously unforeseen basketball related income streams, some people begin to stop chasing their passion for the game and start pursuing profits. There is little doubt that profiteering has hurt grassroots basketball and the college decision making process.

“You gotta let them do them,” says the local scout. “Kids need to be able to do what’s best for them and their families.” I ask, what if they don’t know? “Don’t matter.” I don’t presume to think I or anyone else knows enough to tell a family what’s best for them based on the information they gather, especially when you consider that no one can adequately assess a situation from the outside.  Still, players have to perform their due diligence and make sure they are gathering reliable information and setting realistic goals and expectations.

 

It’s Levels (D1, D2 & D3) to This Thing!

by Eric Dixon

April 25, 2020

We live in challenging times with respect to the market. There is a lot of uncertainty and a lack of reliable information out there. Some people at the top are outright lying while people who should know don’t and people who know aren’t always being honest for their own selfish reasons. And I’m not even talking about stocks, bonds, 401Ks or mutual funds. The various levels of college basketball recruitment and talent are fraught with misinformation, mismanagement and immaturity.

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So many kids have D1 aspirations, but their market offerings are well below that. How do you know if you are a D1 player? There is a simple answer and there is a complex answer and the truth is somewhere in the middle. The simple answer is what does the market say? You are the level of your offers and serious interest. The complex response is “it’s a combination of things,” says Aaron Dread, former D2 player and father of Penn State guard Myles Dread.

“There’s the athletic component, the IQ component, and the component of being special at something. Then there’s the maturity to understand where you are,”  he added. The former Millersville University guard went on to explain that he “had a strong inclination in 8th grade” that Myles was going to be a Division 1 player “based on how he was tracking against other kids his age.” Even though Myles was doing well against other players, he said, “I just didn’t know athletically and size-wise.”

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Myles Dread, Penn State

Dread had the advantage of his own experience playing to rely on when trying to determine what level was best for his son, who committed to PSU following a stand out performance at Peach Jam before his junior year. “Playing (myself) helped tremendously because I played against D1 guys and eventual NBA players and I know what it looks like.” So what do you do if you don’t have that advantage of personal experience and, as Brandon Williams put it- its your “first time at the rodeo,” as it is for most parents? Or even if you did play, how do you stay grounded enough to make sound decisions about your child’s potential and goal assessment?

“Be realistic and keep things in perspective,” says Isaac Mitchell, father of former North Penn standout, AJ Mitchell. The elder Mitchell has a modicum of experience having played just one year on the freshman team at Chicago powerhouse, Whitney Young High School. He explained that some parents get caught up in seeing only the best performances of their children as the barometer of their potential. “You can’t use their best game to determine how good they really are,” said Mitchell, who watched his son, a 5-11 point guard, notch 27 points in a summer league win over Shipley, then led by the outstanding Sam Sessoms. “Sessoms, who scored 20-something, was kind of cruising, while AJ was playing his heart out,” says Mitchell, who’s son is now a freshman at Widener University.

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Sam Sessoms, Jr., Recently transferred to Penn State from Binghamton

This sentiment was echoed by Williams, a coach for the Philly Pride AAU program. “Consistency is the key to being D1 or D2,” said the former Abington Friends and Chestnut Hill guard, adding that “consistency” on and off the court went a long way to determining what level a kid belongs on. . . Physical metrics and instincts are products of talent, but how consistent a player is means a lot.”

He went on to mention that the consistency of the message a player was getting from the various influencers around him also could play a major part in a child’s progression to level as well. “Consistency of mentors is important,” he explained, adding that “you have to be slow in setting expectations with parents… It avoids switching and backpedaling later.” The problem is a lot of parents aren’t trying to hear it. “If you tell them something they don’t want to hear, then they’ll just go to someone else who will tell them what they want.”

Conflating this mixture of messages is the inability of college coaches to be effective talent evaluators. “You’d be surprised how many college coaches ask me what level I think a kid is after watching him play” said Duval Simmonds, a long time trainer from the DMV area. Simmonds, who has been training kids since 2001, lamented, “It’s hard for a player to know where he belongs if the guys recruiting him don’t even know.” This makes it difficult to allow the market to determine a player’s worth.

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Duval Simmonds (left) and Georgetown Head Coach, Patrick Ewing

Look at the curious recruitment of the aforementioned Sessoms, who will take his considerable talents to the Penn State this fall. Coming out of high school no scouts thought he was ready for the Big Ten. He was a 2000 point scorer in high school, played for a premier AAU team and, by all accounts, did everything the right way. Still, just one Division 1 school, Binghamton University, deemed him good enough to play at that level. Many of us who actually saw him play were befuddled.

One possible explanation, according to one D1 coach unfamiliar with his recruitment, is his lack of height for the position and other physical metrics. It’s impossible to truly know now why at least local mid-majors didn’t see the potential in his impressive game but Simmonds offered one hypothesis.

“A lot of times coaches don’t know and like to wait to see who else offers,” he explained, adding that some coaches don’t “trust their eyes” if other programs don’t seem to see what they see.

Williams also touched on that saying coaches need to be “confident in their assessments”. He added that his confidence in his assessments makes it easier for him to have “real” conversations with parents and players about what level might be appropriate for them. However, he also said he doesn’t offer assessments and will only speak to a parent and player if asked. “Too easy to be seen as a ‘hater’”.

“I knew (my players) could play at the D1 level because I watched them play well against other players,” said Coach Charles Grasty, head coach at Abington High School, who saw all five of his starters from last year’s 28-2 District One championship squad receive the opportunity to play at the next level, ranging in level from D3 (Rosemont College) to D1 ( Univ. of Penn and Villanova). Grasty, a former college player himself, said he offers to contact schools and lobby for his players..

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Charles Grasty, Abington HS Head Coach

“I bring them in my office and tell them to give me at least five schools they want me to call, 3 solid prospects and 2 reaches,” he explained. Referring to the “reaches” he said,  “Why not? The most they can tell me is ‘no’,” he dead-panned. This year he was able to help a deep reserve on last year’s team, who played a slightly bigger role this year, get a chance at Penn State-Scranton.

He also said he didn’t think it was solely his responsibility to get players next level opportunities, however, he cares about them and wants to help. One way he helps is by scheduling competitive games where they can gain exposure. He prides himself in including rigor in his non-conference schedule. “It helps the players be seen and it helps the team get ready for conference play.”

Much of the responsibility of garnering next level opportunities lies with the player and his/her family. Part of that responsibility is making sure they are academically prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise.  Several players with D1 talent have had to take a different path because of academic issues.  “We can’t do much with them if they have a 1.9,” lamented one coach. Ball without books is empty.

In conclusion, there is a gamut of reasons why players’ stock may rise and fall in determining their college level. Chief among them are physical metrics like natural talent, height, body type, athleticism, speed and an above-average skillset. These along with a mental toughness, basketball IQ, maturity and attitude that affords them the ability to perform consistently go a long way to figuring out where a player is a best fit. As usual, honesty is the best policy and most of all being honest with oneself may be the most difficult, yet important aspect of realistic goal setting.

Club Transfer is Poppin’! Why?

by

Eric Dixon

Philadelphia, PA:  There are over 800 players in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Transfer Portal (https://247sports.com/Season/2020-Basketball/TransferPortal/). As one local scout likes to say, “Club Transfer” is indeed “Jumpin’”. But why?

Delusion? Accountability? Dishonesty? All of the above according to several coaches, scouts, AAU directors and parents contacted for this article.

The college basketball landscape is changing. For the good and the bad. There have been rule changes that have affected the limitations on when and who can talk to players. Also, the number of people involved with the player has ballooned with trainers, various AAU coaches and runners joining the fray. This provides players with a wealth of resources to go to when making decisions regarding their collegiate career. However it also, according to one coach, “puts a lot of people in a kid’s ear that don’t know what they’re talking about.”

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Maryland’s Ricky Lindo has transferred to George Washington

The growth of social media has also influenced the issue. Many young people live on the adulation and sometimes criticism that comes from having thousands of followers. These followers may hold weight if they are stroking the child’s ego and making him feel as thought he’s arrived. This is particularly dangerous when these followers may be adults seeking to profit in some way from the child’s immediate and/or future success.

This puts kids in a precarious position as they try to navigate through a world they are misinformed or misled about. This misinformation isn’t always intentional from the contributors, but is often a product of coddling a player in an effort to ensure staying in his/her sphere of influence. “They don’t really have hard conversations with kids about where they are because they don’t want to lose a kid,” he intimated.

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Rider’s Dimencio Vaughn has transferred to Mississippi

It is the opinion of many of the people polled that many parents, AAU, high school and now even college coaches are guilty of not holding players accountable for fear of the child cutting them off or leaving the team. “These (players) are being set up for failure from middle school,” said one local coach.

Another coach said it makes it difficult to be honest in recruiting. “You can’t tell a kid it’s going to be a year or two before you get meaningful minutes or you might have to redshirt” because it will take you out of the mix. The truth of the matter is that most freshmen have a long way to go before they can be impactful on a team. Adjusting to the speed of the game, figuring out your role and being physically ready for the college grind all make it difficult for freshman to play a lot. Still, according to a local coach, “we try to get them on the floor to keep them happy”. Many times that effort is made early on during the sometimes less grueling non-conference schedule when the stakes aren’t as high and there is time to recover if freshman mistakes lead to a loss. However, especially for a team making a playoff push, it’s more difficult to do later in the season when rotations are tightened. “Freshmen wear down, experience helps older players push through the grind”, he added.

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St. Peter’s Aaron Estrada has transferred to Oregon

“Man, guys aren’t going to f—ing lose to satisfy their ego,” said one local scout. “But they also ain’t gonna just have a guy sit if they think they can help them either.” It’s really about winning with college coaches. Over the last few years I’ve had the chance to meet some pretty stand up guys in coaching and I realize they have a lot riding on their wins and losses. It’s not just their families they have to worry about. They have assistants and trainers and players that will be impacted if they get canned. So they have a very fine line to walk in recruiting and playing the right guys.

So then it comes down to managing expectations. Most college players, no matter the level D1 or D3 were good high school players used to playing all the minutes they can. That is not realistic as they move up. According to a sample of local kids from the class of 2019 that was pretty highly regarded by the locals, it is apparent that expectations need to be tempered. According to the data, on average, freshmen generally sit out nearly a third of the season, playing in just 23 of a possible 31 games. And when they do step on the court, it usually isn’t for long. On average they log only 15 of a possible 40 game minutes. One saw as little as 18 minutes all season, appearing in just one game!

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St. Joseph’s Chereef Knox has entered the transfer portal

Of  course there were exceptions, like Donta Scott who appeared in all of Maryland’s games, starting 21 of them. However, he had to make significant changes in his approach and his game to see the floor. Also, according to sources, he earned his 21.6 minutes per contest with his “toughness and attitude, and just running dudes outta there”. Scott played with the ball in his hands the last two years of his high school career, playing point guard at 6-7. At Maryland, it’s not been the case so far. He played the majority of his minutes at the “4” this season. “He’s always been a team first player, he’s never been a guy who cared about stats,” said Howard Hudson, his mentor and AAU coach.

According to another local coach, that kind of attitude and approach is not common among scholarship level athletes. “It used to be all about the name on the front, now it’s all about the name on the back”, he lamented.

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Temple’s Josh Pierre-Louis has transferred to California Santa-Barbara

Scott’s scenario also points to another reason why freshmen often struggle and become disillusioned as they adjust to the college level. Role changes are common and student-athletes are often asked to play differently than they did in high school. They are asked to be patient and “wait” their turn to play the main role. Whereas, according to Hudson, Scott took a “whatever you need coach” kind of approach, many young players fight it, insisting that they shouldn’t have to wait.

Another question is whether it’s worth it. Is the allure of Club Transfer Portal just fool’s gold or can a player significantly change his trajectory by changing schools? The data would suggest “No”. According to one A-10 who has done extensive research on transfers, “You are who you are whether you transfer or not”. The numbers bear this out. When a player moves from Mid Major to High Major over the remaining years of his career he sees a drop across the board in points, assists and rebounds. And when a player moves within the same level, the change in production is negligible, no matter if it was D1 to D1 or D3 to D3. Predictably, those moving from low major to high major saw the biggest decrease in production.

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La Salle’s Ed Croswell has transferred to Providence College

So if it really makes little difference whether you stay or go, why are so many kids jumping ship? Are they leaving to flee competition? Or were they simply told by the staff that they weren’t going to play so they might as well pack up? Or are they just not happy living at the school and the reason is not basketball related? One parent of a transfer said 75% of the reason his son decided to transfer was unrelated to actual basketball.

There are a myriad of reasons why players transfer and each situation is different. Still, one set of initials kept resurfacing as the conversations about this topic went on: the NBA. One coach mentioned Matt Haarms, a 7-3 center transferring from Purdue to “go someplace to showcase his NBA skillset”. We all know that chasing the NBA dream, while inspiring and admirable at times, is not the most attainable goal. According to the NCAA, 1.2% (52 of 4181) of draft eligible basketball players go on to play in major pro sports leagues. Now graduation rates are much higher: 86% in D1, 71% in D2 and 87% in D3. You choose which one should be your primary plan.

Bottom line: everyone involved needs to take stock of the truth revealed in the numbers. Everyone needs to assess their level of culpability and change accordingly. 98.8% of the time, lil Johnny is NOT going to the NBA even if he is fortunate enough to be one of the 6% of high school players who garners a D1 college scholarship. We need to stop being fans of kids and start being coaches, mentors, parents and guardians. The truth is most will not play a significant role at the college level the first one or two years. We need to prepare them for that even if they have 15K followers telling them they are “League-bound” everyday. College coaches need to grow a set and realize that if you lie to a kid just to get him in the door it’s going to work for one year and that it isn’t worth the risk to their livelihood. Club Transfer is “jumpin” and the music won’t stop until it’s too late for many student-athletes deluded into thinking accountability isn’t part of the responsibility that comes with accepting a scholarship.

 

Paul Gripper: A Philly Legend!

Paul Gripper lived a legendary life. My man was a a true Philly hoops legend… A legend is defined as an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field. Gripp was both famous and notorious in Philly hoops circles…

He was famous for devoting himself to helping young men improve themselves. Paul was a basketball lifer… He gave the game EVERYTHING he had…

He was notorious for the way he would relentlessly attack and attack all aspects of youth basketball. As a young man, Paul engaged in some of Philadelphia’s “street business” activities… Eventually, he tired of that life and made the switch to working full-time in youth athletics. He brought a level of abrasiveness and bravado that had heretofore been absent. Paul ran up the score… Up 40? Up 50? Paul was pressing, forcing turnovers and talkin’ shit!

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Paul Gripper coaching in summer 2019 at Jefferson University

The totality of his life experiences shaped his outlook and he brought a unique approach to the worlds of grassroots and scholastic basketball. Paul Gripper played HARD and loved HARD!

As a result, he forged extremely strong bonds with the kids that came through his program. He truly loved them and they loved him in return. There was nothing fake about Paul Gripper… He put his feelings on display for all to see… ALL THE TIME!

Possessing a very keen basketball mind, Paul was one of the go to guys for honest appraisals of any young middle or high school prospects. He would ALWAYS give it to you raw and uncut… Gripp was NEVER a hater… If he felt a kid was good, he would tell you… Conversely, if he felt a kid was ASS, he would tell you… On most occasions, his assessments were dead on…

He was always colorful, insightful and informative.

 

 

There were exceptions though… Gripp was usually unable to objectively assess the kids he personally worked with… He loved TOO HARD! His love would slip over into his assessments of his guys.

His D3 guys were “sure fire D2” guys… His D2 guys “should be playing D1″… His low D1 guys “belonged at high major programs”… His mid to high major guys were “lottery picks”…

Paul was a fantastic scout… Unless, the kid was one of his, his assessments of a kid’s strengths and weaknesses were on point… You just had to always remember that Paul graded his guys on a heavy curve.

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Selfless to a fault, Paul would literally give a kid his last dollar to get to a tournament or camp… He would REPEATEDLY rob Peter to pay Paul (and St. John Neumman).

He was a real man. If you had a disagreement with Paul, he would not let it fester and simmer. He would call or come by to see you. He was capable of both forgiving your transgressions and acknowledging when he was wrong.

His son is a graduate of Coppin State University. His daughter is completing a PhD. at Harvard University. Their academic success is reflective of their father’s powerful intellect and his commitment to education as a means of improving one’s lot in life.

Paul and I had several arguments and disagreements in this area. I have always been in favor of doing whatever was necessary to help a kid meet NCAA freshman eligibility requirements. Paul disagreed. He was against asking teachers to change grades, he was against taking classes over.

Paul felt that kids needed to deal with the consequences of their actions and inaction in the academic realm. I really respected him for consistently abiding by that position.

His passing is a significant blow the the Philadelphia basketball community. Paul will be missed. There is one less MAN out there loving kids HARD!

Personally, I will miss my friend. Out of respect for Paul, I will now make an effort to repair the few damaged relationships I have in the Philadelphia basketball community. Because, that’s what Paul Gripper would have done.

 

Sam Sessoms Commits to Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions!

The Philly to State College basketball pipeline was established in 2011. Pat Chambers decided to leave Boston University and take on the tremendous challenge of breathing life into the basketball program at Penn State University. Along with Alabama, Texas and USC, Penn State is one of the premier “football” schools in American.

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Basketball in State College was thought of as something to occupy the space between the Bowl Game in January and the start of Spring football. How would Chambers eek out some space for his program in the mind of the Happy Valley faithful? How would he establish an identity for his program?

Born into the Philadelphia basketball culture, Chambers decided to bet heavily on what he knows. A Philly guard himself, Chambers placed his fate and that of the Penn State program in capable hands of Philly guards. He had an affinity for the guys that endured trials and tribulations. His first recruit, Devonte “DJay” Newbill, was unceremoniously dumped by that scalawag Buzz Williams after committing to Marquette. After enduring a year playing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Newbill agreed to join Chambers at Penn State.

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Newbill would go on to have a wonderful career. He finished with 2105 points, 681 rebounds and 340 assists. Moreover, and more importantly, he paved the way for future Nittany Lions from the 215. John Johnson transferred from Pitt, Shep Garner was a 4-year starter out of Roman Catholic. Big Mike Watkins from MCS joined the squad. Nazeer Bostic, Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr joined the program all at once. John Harrar put down the football pads and decided play a little power forward in the Big 10. Izaiah Brockington left St. Bonaventure and became a key member of the Nittany Lion club that was ranked as high as #9 this past season.

Well… here we go again… another Philly guard that has been through some real ups and downs has decided to join Chambers and the Nittany Lions. Twenty-four months ago, Sam Sessoms had exactly one (1) scholarship offer from Binghamton. In two All-League seasons, Sessoms put up 1151 points, 254 rebounds and 253 assists.

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Desirous of an opportunity to compete at the highest level, Sessoms has decided to join a Nittany Lion club that was ranked in the top 25 most of the last season. He will redshirt a year have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

When asked why he chose Penn State over Rutgers, Wichita State, Marquette, Clemson and 50 other suitors, Sessoms said “It’s a great school, degree from Penn State will be huge for a boy from the Bottom section of West Philly. And, the Penn State alumni family is huge, I look forward to becoming a part of the network. As far as basketball is concerned, I think it’s a nice fit. I can see myself growing as a player and person under Coach Chambers and the coaching staff. Most importantly after basketball, a degree from Penn state would be good for me for the rest of my life.”

One of the most entertaining and competitive players in college basketball, Sessoms will provide Chambers with yet another Philly guard with a chip on his shoulder. Expectations will be high and Sessoms will exceed them.

Welcome home to the City 7 Sam Sessoms!

 

Get in Front of College Coaches. Get Your NCP Scouting Report Today!

We are currently experiencing a health crisis unlike anything we have ever seen before. Virtually all colleges and high schools across the nation have shut down and eliminated all direct instruction and shifted to online delivery of educational services.  As a result, athletic competition at both the collegiate and scholastic levels has come to a screeching halt. No NCAA tournaments or state HS championships for winter sports like basketball. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the recruiting process has been drastically altered.  Many rising high school seniors, unsigned seniors and 5th year prep prospects find themselves in the worst imaginable situation.

Thousands of boys and girls across the nation were expecting to play in AAU/grassroots Live Period events in front of college coaches in April. They were prepared to take unofficial visits to campuses far and wide in hopes of landing coveted athletic scholarships. They expected to see scores of college coaches coming through “open gyms” to evaluate them and their teammates. None of this is happening. For the first time ever, the college recruitment process has been drastically altered midstream by external and unforeseen forces.

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It has to be tough for kids to see their peers accepting scholarships and committing to play in college. Well-known and established Division 1 prospects that have been on the radar screen for a while continue to receive offers, calls and texts. College coaches are even conducting virtual unofficial and in-home visits for the top prospects on their lists.

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But, what about the late bloomers? What about the kids that were depending on the April “Live Periods” and “High School Live Periods” to demonstrate what they could do?

For years, Black Cager Sports Media has facilitated communication between elite basketball prospects and Division 1 college coaches. We have entered into an agreement with National College Preps (NCP) to distribute NCP 2K Men’s Basketball Scouting Reports to Men’s and Women’s College Coaching staff across the country.

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NCP 2K Scouting Report
The NCP 2K Scouting report puts student-athletes and parents in the driver’s seat. They have full access to the information that is in their recruiting profile. Additionally, The NCP 2K Scouting Report allows them the freedom to share their report with the schools of their choosing with the NCP branding that captures the attention of college coaches.

Over the past seven years, Black Cager Sports Media has established solid relationships with college basketball coaches across the country. Black Cager Sports Media will contact and forward your NCP 2K Scouting Report to five (5) colleges recommended by NCP proprietary software program.

 

Contact:

Delgreco Wilson

http://www.nationalcollgepreps.com

800.424.6753, ext. 702