Camden vs Imhotep: Do It For The Culture!

When Black folk say they’re “doing it for the culture,” let’s be very clear, they mean Black culture. The phrase is a linguistic representation of an internalized Black self-defense mechanism. Black folk are always trying to preserve a culture that has been constantly co-opted by the same people who have historically oppressed us. Throughout American history, Blackness, and by extension, Black culture, has constantly been under siege. From the moment, more than 2 centuries ago, when they forbade Blacks from learning to read and write… White America, for the most part, has not wanted Black culture to exist.

Doing it for the culture is a way in which Black folk ensure they have something to pass on to future generations. Even if it’s something as simple as a basketball game. That game proves that we exist, that we existed.

Three years ago, Roman Catholic and Camden did it for the culture. This highly anticipated game was played at Cherry Hill East HS. It was a game for the ages. Camden was led by 6’9” Lance Ware and 6’8” TaQuan Woodley, both of whom committed to SEC programs upon leaving the Castle of the Hill. Also on this team was, 6’7” Jerome Brewer, another Division 1 prospect who ended up at Texas A&M Commerce. But, by far the most recognizable and intriguing player on that star-studded Camden roster was a precocious 6’3’ freshman named D.J. Wagner. Wagner is a 3rd generation high school All-American destined to play in the McDonald’s All-American game just like his Pop, Dajuan Wagner and Grandpop, Milt Wagner.

D.J. Wagner, ESPN #1 prospect in class of 2023

It should be noted that Coach Matt Griffin and Roman Catholic came across the bridge loaded for bear. On the block stood 6’9” man-child Jalen Duren who become an NBA lottery pick after leaving high school early and making a brief pit stop in Memphis to play 30 or so games for Penny Hardaway. On the wing, the Cahillites featured a 6’4” future SEC commit, Justice Williams. Two future St. Joseph’s Hawks made up the backcourt, 6’2” Lynn Greer III and 6’1” Xzayvier Brown.

This was a tremendous scholastic basketball game. Roman eked out a hard fought come from behind victory over a Camden squad that would not lose another game over the next two years.

It’s difficult to convey the tremendous thirst for this game at the time. The building was beyond sold-out… The overflowing crowd obliterated the Fire Marshall’s stated building capacity. Once they stopped admitting patrons through the front gate, they continued to pour in through broken windows, back doors, side doors, A/C ducts, sewer drains, etc…

I swear I saw a few dudes just appear out of thin air…

No bull shit… one dude that reeked of the strongest ganja known to mankind had some type of Star Trek transportation machine in his pocket. One after the other, he was converting Camden fans into an energy pattern, then somehow beaming them court side. I’m not making this up, the transporter device conveyed scores of Camden supporters from long lines extending deep into the parking lot to court side seats without the need for time-consuming stints in the elongated cue.

That’s my story… And, I’m sticking with it…

Muthafuckas were NOT going to be denied an opportunity to witness this game.

Camden and Roman Catholic did it for the culture!

Raw Sports’ exceptionally well-done YouTube video of the game (see above) has garnered over 102,000 views. The sheer number of views for this video demonstrates the immense interest in highly competitive basketball in the Greater Philadelphia/Camden region.

Hoopheads across the region, myself included, were deeply appreciative of the fact that these two Nationally prominent programs, located about 4 miles apart, found a way to make this game happen.

It had to happen… They had to do it for the culture…

Well… today, there’s an even bigger matchup on the horizon. Three years later, Camden remains an unquestioned regional powerhouse. However, another highly qualified challenger has, once again, forced it’s way onto the national scene.

Imhotep Charter School is in the midst of a historic run through the vaunted Philadelphia Public League. Whereas Camden re-emerged on the National scene three years ago with the arrival of young Wagner and Rick Brunson as the Head Coach, Imhotep is on an epic 15 year run of excellence.

Andre Noble, Imhotep Head Coach

Imhotep Head Coach, Andre Noble has more Public League Championships under his belt than the legendary Gratz coach Bill Elerbee. Think about this for a second… Noble has more Public League Championships than Joey Goldenberg (West Philadelphia) and Ken Hamilton (Ben Franklin) combined. For the past decade and a half, the Philadelphia Public League has essentially consisted of Imhotep and everyone else.

Noble and Imhotep definitely understand the importance of culture. Noble is a graduate of, The Lincoln University, the first degree granting Black College in the United States. Moreover, Imhotep is named after an Egyptian chancellor to the Pharaoh Djoser. Egyptologists credit Imhotep with the design and construction of the Pyramid of Djoser built in the 3rd Dynasty.

Basketball historians will credit Noble with the design and construction of, perhaps, the greatest dynasty in the history of the Philadelphia Public League.

Justin Edwards, ESPN #2 prospect in class of 2023

While Wagner has spent the past few years firmly entrenched as the number 1 prospect in the class of 2023 national rankings, Imhotep’s magnificent 6’7” wing Justin Edwards has steadily climbed to the number 2 spot according to ESPN. A supremely gifted offensive talent, Edwards has already committed to John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. Playing alongside Edwards, is 6’2” Ahmad Nowell a quintessential Philly point guard who is currently ranked #31 in the class of 2024 according to ESPN. Lightning quick 6’0” guard Rahmir Barno rounds out the big 3 for Imhotep. Barno recently committed to play for Florida Gulf Coast University and Head Coach Pat Chambers.

This game needs to happen… Camden and Imhotep have to do it for the culture!

Just a few weeks ago, it was leaked that an informal agreement to play had been reached… I lost my mind. I was ecstatic… Truth be told, Black Cager Sports has a strained relationship with both programs… Some within the respective programs would probably describe the relationship as acrimonious…

So what… Doesn’t matter… I ran out and bought some new clothes just for this game… Gotta be fresh…

My love for the game supersedes whatever personal animosity continues to linger. There are things that are way more important than childish “basketball beefs”. I want to see the kids in these program flourish… I want to see the programs continue to win state championships… I want to see the kids go on to play in college and beyond…

But… First and foremost, I want to see Camden and Imhotep settle the debates once and for all on the court.

It seems, however, that the aforementioned informal agreement to play is hanging on by the thinnest of threads…

As always, the devil is in the details…

Who gets what, where, when and how?

Apparently, there was some misinformation complicating the process. Some involved in the negotiations were under the impression that the game could not be held on the campus of an NCAA Division 1 program. That is simply not the case. In recent years, I have personally attended and watched a SOLD OUT game between St. Frances (MD) and Baltimore Poly (MD) on the campus of Morgan State University and another SOLD OUT game between St. Frances (MD) and Oak Hill (VA) on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

I sought guidance on this matter from Jill Bodensteiner, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Saint Joseph’s University. Ms. Bodenstiner provided the “Faculty Usage Chart” listed below. As you can see, It is permissible to host scholastic basketball events on campus at Division 1 institutions during the Academic year. It is NOT permissible to host scholastic camps/clinics on D1 campuses during the academic year.

This opens up the possibility of playing a Camden/Imhotep game at the Palestra on the campus the University of Pennsylvania, the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University or the Finneran Pavilion on the campus of Villanova University. With seating capacities ranging from 6,500 to 10,000, these facilities will alleviate the need for Camden fans to bring their transportation machines to gain entry. They can just purchase a ticket and stroll through the front door.

Some other venues that may make sense include Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City which has a seating capacity of 10,500, the PPL Center in Allentown (8,500 seats) and Cure Arena in Trenton (8,600).

Each of these venues would jump at the opportunity to host a slate of competitive high school games with Camden/Imhotep as the headliners.

Finding an appropriate venue isn’t a real barrier.

Perhaps, the REAL issue is the “purse split”…

What is an appropriate split for a Camden/Imhotep matchup?

Black Cager Sports reached out to six (6) knowledgeable high school basketball guys and asked that very question. No one thought a 50/50 split was in order.

While they all expressed nothing but the highest level of respect for the Imhotep program and their ability to compete at the highest level, they noted that Imhotep just doesn’t draw well and they don’t travel well.

They attribute the lack of drawing power to the fact that Imhotep is still a very young school and they don’t have generations of alums to draw upon. Moreover, Imhotep is a charter school and as such it does not really represent a specific neighborhood or geographic region.

Camden, on the other hand, has fielded a highly competitive basketball program for more than seven (7) decades. Camden can sell 2,000 tickets to games where they are favored by forty (40) or more. As tough as Edwards is, Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw are bigger draws.

The suggested splits ranged from 80/20 to 60/40. They all felt 60/40 would be generous on Camden’s behalf.

Would Imhotep be willing to accept anything less than a 50/50 split? I don’t know…

I do know Ali got $3,000,000 and Frazier got $1,500,000 for the “Thrilla in Manilla”…

Camden = Ali and Imhotep = Frazier.

If the game was played at the Liacouras Center and properly marketed, I am convinced it would sell out.

10,000 tickets @ $15 each = $150,000

I understand that the kids want to play on ESPN, but that would be tantamount to signing a record deal. Camden and Imhotep could stream the game on pay-per-view. Properly marketed, especially in the state of Kentucky, such a PPV event should draw at least 8,000 viewers.

8,000 views @ $10 each – $80,000

Let’s conservatively set game day expenses at $50,000… Set aside $10,000 for streaming expenses…

$230,000 – $60,000 = $170,000

25% of $170,000 = $42,500

Anything in that ball park would be a nice payday for any Philadelphia Public League HS program, especially with no real travel, hotel, meal costs involved.

The “problem” is the other guys would see around $127,500…
Joe Frazier didn’t mind… He did it for the culture… (and $1.5 million)

A less feasible alternative put forth by a reliable source close to the Camden program is to play the game for free. Identify sponsors to cover venue costs and let fans in for free. Neither program makes any money.

Play for strictly for pride and the name on the front of the jersey.

Would Imhotep be willing to play if neither program makes any money? I don’t know…

Maybe Neumann-Goretti would…

The Black Cager Fall Classic: A Small College Recruiting Paradise!

What about the little guys?

In 2019, the NCAA took care of the BIG BOYS… Division I coaching staffs fly across the lower 48 states attending their choice of NCAA-certified high school and travel team events. The BIG BOYS have made these NCAA ‘live periods’ a significant part of their annual recruiting cycle. 

When the NCAA added two June weekends exclusively for high school competition. They fundamentally altered the recruiting cycle. During those weekends, hundreds of high schools participate in massive events throughout the country and college coaches evaluate prospects playing with their high school teammates.

When John Calipari, Jay Wright, Tom Izzo, Bill Self enter a gym, they suck all of the air out of the room. High school players, parents and coaches become instantly enthralled. Six-foot four inch high school power forwards and centers begin to harbor irrational hopes of landing a scholarship and suiting up for Kentucky or Kansas.

It is next to impossible for D2, D3 and NAIA coaches to capture the attention of young men that will certainly land at their level, if they are to play college basketball.

Small colleges need their own elite scholastic events where they are the BIG BOYS in the room. That event is the Black Cager Fall Classic. The prestigious Black Cager Fall Classic will take place October 8th and 9th at two gymnasiums in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The previous five Fall Classic events (2017-2021) were held at facilities located in the the Greater Philadelphia region. The event has attracted some of today’s top collegiate basketball players during their high school years, including Donta Scott (Maryland), Jay Heath (Georgetown), Ace Baldwin (VCU), Jalen Carey (Rhode Island), Hakim Hart (Maryland), Seth Lundy (Penn State), Eric Dixon (Villanova) and Rahsool Diggins (UMass).

This year, 72 teams will play 72 games. While there will certainly be plenty of high major, top 100, prospects, the field will also feature hundreds of D2, D3 and NAIA prospects. Small College coaches are invited to attend and bring their entire staffs to evaluate some of the finest talent on the eastern seaboard.

Teams are traveling from Canada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. They are coming because Black Cager Sports will work diligently to help small college coaches connect with the parents and coaches of prospects they identify as suitable for their programs.

Black Cager Sports understands the fiscal constraints that small college programs work under, thus we have priced admission and the coaches packet at a reasonable thirty dollars ($30.00) for the entire weekend. We want small college coaches to attend and recruit participating players.

Coach… You gotta come out… We got dudes!

Appreciating Embid, Camden High & Philly Live…

It’s great time to be a hoop head in the Greater Philadelphia region. We are truly blessed with an abundance of basketball talent at all levels. A deep 76ers playoff run, featuring the supremely gifted future Hall of Famer Joel Embid, is well underway and there’s a sh#tload of really good high school basketball taking place in gyms all across the region.

Finally… After a long 16 months or so, basketball feels like it’s turning a corner. Things are turning to whatever the new “normal” consist of…

So far? So good for Philly area basketball fans.

The Philadelphia 76ers, number 1 seed in the east, are very well positioned… It looks good for the Sixers. They are making considerable noise and represent a strong candidate to take the World Championship. They are methodically working their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Most impressively, however, Joel Embid is demonstrating why he is a generational talent.. We really haven’t see his kind before… Embid is a unicorn.

Joel Embid, Philadelphia 76ers


He doesn’t get nearly the level of attention he deserves. When healthy, he’s one of the top 3-4 players on the planet. Yet, in most instances Embid is not the focal point of Sixer fan discussions.

That’s unfortunate.

The local obsession with Ben Simmons inability and/or reluctance to shoot the ball has captivated the fan’s attention. This focus on Simmons’ shooting woes has contributed to the greatness of Embid being underappreciated.

When considering great Sixers bigs, it’s Wilt, Moses and Embid. That’s the discussion going forward… I can’t really think of anyone else that warrants inclusion. Caldwell, Dawkins, Giminski, Mahorn, Ratliff, Motumbo… Embid has surpassed them.

I know… I know… Ben`can’t make his free throws…

Really… I know.

I’m just saying… Embid is a magnificent basketball player and the Sixers are right where they wanna be.

That said… let’s talk about the youngins. The number 1 and number 2 players in the Class of 2022 play for Team Final (Final). The number 1 and number 40 player in the Class of 2023 play for the NJ Scholars (EYBL) and Camden High. The Philadelphia Catholic League is resetting with another crop of Division 1 prospects. The PUB has some dudes.

The real energy is at the scholastic level.

This month its high schools and next month its AAU/Grassroots clubs.

This Friday, for the first time in 16 months, Division 1 basketball coaches will be evaluating high school prospects in person. The Philly Live event put together by Imhotep Head Coach, Brother Andre Noble, and Archbishop Wood Head Coach, John Mosco has emerged as the premiere event of it kind. In 2019, Noble and Mosco had over 200 D1 coaches in attendance each day of the live period. That translated into a slew on scholarship offers for Philly area kids.

Andre Noble, Imhotep Head Coach

The number of attending coaches Philly Live is likely to increase this year. Coaches from every NCAA conference have made arrangements to attend. Programs representing the Big 10, SEC, Big 12, PAC 12, ACC, AAC, A10, Mountain West, Ivy League, MEAC, MAAC, CAA and all others will be there.

Plainly stated, Noble and Mosco have established Philadelphia as the place to be during the High School Live Period for nearly every program in the nation.

Nicely done! Respect…

John Mosco, Archbishop Wood Head Coach

Facing live evaluation of their players, high school coaches are doing everything they can to get their guys ready. The pressure is immense for players that have yet to catch the attention of college coaches. Time to show and prove… High schoolers have not been in front of D1 coaches in a year and half.

That’s a long time… A lot changes in 16 months…

Some kids have grown 2-3 inches. Some have gained 15 or 20 pounds. Others have significantly improved various aspects of their game. One thing for sure, a lot of offers will come when coaches directly observe kids for the first time in 16 months. For example, Camden wing Cornelius “Boog” Robinson came to the Rider campus and played exactly one game in Coach Kevin Baggett’s Team camp. His toughness and willingness to defend immediately impressed the Rider coaches. Similarly, St. Frances forward Cortez Johnson exhibited a great deal of explosiveness and athletic ability. Finally, Archbishop Wood Point Guard Justin Moore displayed poise and patience while running the young Viking squad. All three were offered scholarships by Baggett on the spot.

Cornelius Robinson, ’23 Camden Wing

This is what you can expect over the next two months. As soon as many of these Philly area prospects play in front of college coaches, the offers are going to start flying.

Area high school players and coaches fully understand… Hence, they are working extremely hard in preparation for the Philly Live. The plethora of exciting scrimmages/games result in a Philly hoop head nirvana. There are great matchups everywhere… A diligent hoop head, can find some contests featuring elite programs and some of top nationally ranked players. For instance, Post & Pivot is hosted a very strong slate of games at West Catholic this past weekend featuring Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep.

But by far, the finest event leading up to the HS live period has been “Baggett’s Court Vision” Team Camp on Saturday, June 12. Organized by Ben Kay, Rider’s Director of Player Development, the camp featured 70 or so high school programs, including nationally ranked Camden, Patrick School, Imhotep, St. Peter’s Prep, St. Frances and many others.

While the entire slate was highly competitive, Kay slipped a bona fide classic NJ battle in for the hoop heads in attendance. Positioned discretely on a schedule featuring 71 other games, at 10:00 am in the Rider Basketball Practice Gym, Camden High played the Patrick School.

That is truly as good as it gets locally. Thanks Ben Kay… #RealShit

This was a low key affair. Only hoop heads and few parents were in attendance. Maybe 150 people saw some of the finest prospects in the nation compete and lay everything on the line. There were ten (10) D1 kids on the floor throughout most of the action and they played with the intensity of a state playoff game.

Sorry… You had to be there… There’s no video.

Indeed, those in attendance had to agree to not publicize the game beforehand. There was an explicit effort to keep attendance artificially low. Camden High’s team is the hottest ticket in the region. When they show up, so does their loyal, passionate and knowledgeable fan base… in droves.

Through word of mouth a Camden/Patrick School matchup will attract an easy 500-1000 fans anywhere and anytime. With 71 other games going on, Rider wasn’t equipped to deal with the full thrust of Camden and Patrick School supporters. The fire marshall would have had to shut it down… Real Shit!

But… The game itself, was a homage to the basketball gods.

This was one for the culture. In case, you haven’t paid close attention through the coronavirus crisis, Camden High School basketball reigns supreme. The paradigm has shifted, Camden is the epicenter of the high school basketball universe in the Greater Philadelphia region.

With a lineup featuring two projected NBA players, Camden is the undisputed top dog. DJ Wagner is the number 1 player in the class of 2023 and Aaron Bradshaw can’t be more than a couple slots below him. At the current historical juncture, the Camden High School basketball program is beyond what folks typically describe as elite. It may very well be the finest traditional public high school program in the nation.

Shit… The point guard is the Mayor and his backcourt mate is the School Board President…

(l) Camden Mayor, Vic Carstarphen, (r) Camden School Board President, Wasim Muhammad

On the basketball court, Camden High has lost exactly one game over the past two years. That isolated loss to Roman Catholic, led by Jalen Duren and Justin Williams, is the only blemish on Rick Brunson’s record.

Fortuitous circumstances have resulted in 2 lost opportunities to win highly coveted state championships. In March 2020, the Panthers were literally minutes away from a playoff game when the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus. This past season they were limited to 15 local games with no playoffs. Almost all of these games were lopsided victories.

In the grand scheme of things, there are only two questions that matter to the Camden Basketball program.

1) Will the Panthers win two consecutive state championships?

2) Will the Panthers lose a game?

Those are the questions…

Queries like: What is the best team in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area are settled…

Camden is the top high school team in the region… Period.

This winter, Camden High basketball moves into a brand new state of the art gymnasium holding a raucous 2,000 Panther faithful.

It’s about to be crazy…

But that’s the not ’til the winter… Let’s get back to this past Saturday morning, Ben Kay gave us an elite scholatic basketball matchup, Camden vs Patrick School.

We wish we could share some highlights… However, unlike the other 71 games played that day, video recording was prohibited. This prohibition was rigidly enforced.

Camden won a tight contest 60-55 after trailing for much of the game. But when the game was on the line, Wagner and Bradshaw came through with big plays.


DJ Wagner 18 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl
Boog Robinson 13 pts, 11 reb, 7 off reb, 1 stl
Aaron Bradshaw 6 pts, 5 reb
Cian Medley 12 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast

Patrick School
Zion Cruz 17 pts, 4 reb
Chance Westry 14 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast
James Moore 10 pts, 6 rebs, 3 off reb, 3 blk

Aaron Bradshaw, ’23 Camden PF/C

Beginning Friday, Division 1 college coaches will be evaluating high school players face to face for the first time in a year and a half. They want to see games like the one Ben Kay gave us Saturday morning.

Noble and Mosco are providing just what college coaches are are looking for…

For the month of June, Philadelphia is the epicenter of college basketball recruiting.

It really is a great time to be a hoop head in Philadelphia.

Awesome Fall Classic! Region’s Best Ballers

September 14, 2020 (Camden, NJ) Black Cager Sports is proud to announce the dates, location and some of the participating teams for the 2020 Awesome Fall Classic. More than 60 teams representing grassroots clubs, AAU programs and high schools from across the mid-Atlantic region will hit the hardwood at Millersville University for the two-day event from Saturday, October 10 to Sunday, October 11.

“We feel this year may be the best since the Fall Classic started in 2016. The quality and the depth of the talent is exceptional and will lead to exciting games as some of the best high school players in the country have the chance to showcase their abilities. Seeing Temple, UConn, Villanova and LaSalle as destinations for some of the players, says a lot about the quality of competition,” said Delgreco Wilson, Founder of the Black Cager Fall Classic Series. The Fall Classic has hosted many future college superstars over the years. The most recent wave of talent has included Collin Gillespie (All-Big East/Villanova), Eric Dixon (Redshirt Freshman/Villanova), Donta Scott (Sophomore Starter/Maryland), Seth Lundy (Sophomore Starter/Penn State), Isaiah Wong (Sophomore Starter/Miami), Ace Baldwin (Freshman/VCU) and Jhamir Brickus (Freshman/La Salle).

The full schedule, with start times for all 72 games, will be listed in early October.

Team Registration is underway. Send text to 856-366-0992 or email to requesting registration forms.

This year’s event will feature nationally ranked teams and plenty of top 100 high major prospects from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Some of the top players as rated in the latest ESPN rankings include:• Nanna Njoku (#93 c/o 2021, Sanford, Villanova) • Julian Reese (#73 c/o 2021, St. Frances, Maryland) • Rahsool Diggins (#69 c/o 2021, Archbishop Wood, UConn. Other Mid-High Major confirmed participants include Hysier Miller ‘21 (Neumann-Goretti, Temple commit), Alassane Amadou ’22 (McDevitt. SJU, Drexel, La Salle offers). Additionally, the Fall Classic looks to welcome several new teams to the event.

Back to participate in his fourth Fall Classic is a certified Philly legend in the making. Rahsool Diggins, returns for his senior season after establishing himself as a consensus top 100 player over the past couple years. The nation’s 69th ranked player, according to ESPN, has committed to UConn. Maryland, has a commitment from Julian Reese in the Class of 2021. Reese makes it a total of three Fall Classic players commiting to Mark Turgeon the last three years. Locally, this season’s event welcomes several of the top teams in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Archbishop Ryan, MCS, Constitution, Lincoln, West Catholic, Neumann-Goretti and Camden.

The Awesome Fall Classic will run two sessions – 9 am to 8pm Saturday and 9 am to 5 pm Sunday. “Every year, we get very excited to have our basketball program to participate in an event with such strong competition,” said St. Frances Academy Head Coach, Nick Myles. “The Fall Classic gives us an opportunity to play against some of the top programs in the country. This will prepare us for the long season ahead.”

Black Cager Sports and the Awesome Camp have brought aboard The Miller Report, a regional sports marketing company, to assist with management of all event operations. The Miller Report has worked with many of the mid-Atlantic region’s leading youth basketball brands, including current working relationships with Julian Dunkley and Difference Makers.

For more information on the Awesome Fall Classic, text 856-366-0992 or email

Black Cager Sports was established to help scholastic student-athletes successfully transition from high school top college. Black Cager Sports also manages youth sporting events. To date, Black Cager Sports has partnered with over 20 schools, youth organizations, and basketball clubs to manage medium and large-scale basketball events. amplifies student-athlete voices and prepares them for a new era in college sports with Name, Image, & Likeness. We want student-athletes to use to be proactive in properly monetizing their social media presence as the NCAA moves closer and closer to allowing athletes of all sports to profit off of their name, image, and likeness rights.