Sam Sessoms: High Major PG!

Sam Sessoms: High Major PG!

I remember it very clearly… Tommy Dempsey kept asking “why aren’t others recruiting him?”

Damn good question Demps… “I don’t have a fuckin’ clue.”

It was Fall of 2017 and Dempsey, the Head Coach at Binghamton University, could not believe what he was seeing. Here was an uber talented kid… A sure fire leader… A fierce competitor with highly refined offensive skills sitting there with no offers. What the fuck?

Dempsey wanted him… He really wanted Sessoms.

The Binghamton coach really couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a line of D1 coaches on the Sessoms family porch. Honestly, I really couldn’t help him figure that one out.

I was flummoxed my damn self.

Indeed, Black Cager Sports had just named Sam Sessoms the HS MVP of the Greater Philadelphia region. His competitors for that award were Cam Reddish (Duke), Isaiah Wong (Miami), Donta Scott (Maryland), Naheem McLeod (Florida State) and Eric Dixon (Villanova). Each and every one of those guys was a sure fire high major prospect with multiple offers.

Yet, somehow the Black Cager MVP had ZERO (0) D1 offers. That is, until Dempsey laid eyes on him. Now it is worth mentioning that Dempsey had some real advantages over a lot of other programs. He had developed a keen understanding of Philadelphia’s Scholastic Basketball scene. Perhaps, more importantly he had cultivated and maintained some strong relationships in the Phillt basketball community.

Dempsey always did his homework. As a result, Dempsey feasted on overlooked Philly ballers at both Rider and subsequently Binghamton. For example, he took a chance on an unheralded Public League Division D Conference Player of the Year in 2008. Paul Robeson’s Brandon Penn went on to have a solid career in the MAAC and play professionally overseas.

Some other guys like Mike Ringgold, Danny Stewart and Novar Gadson were more well known commodities, but they garnered little interest from Big 5 programs. These guys excelled under Dempsey at Rider. Ringgold pumped in 1,386 points and grabbed 789 rebounds. Stewart finished his career with 1,414 points and 872 rebounds. Gadson put up 1,475 points and corralled 726 points.

Sometimes Dempsey hit doubles, triples and homers. Other times the at-bats weren’t as fruitful. Philly schoolboy legend, Nurideen Lindsey played a solid, but unspectacular, season for Dempsey at Rider. Lindsey averaged 8.0 ppg and 1.6 apg in his lone year with the Broncs.

One of Dempsey’s last forays into Philly while at Rider was his recruitment of Roman Catholic PF Junior Fortunat. Fortunat would average 3.7 ppg and 2.5 rpg over a 112 game career at Rider. A Canadian national, Fortunat’s mother had entrusted Stephen Pina and I to help him find a program that would provide him with a quality education. We trusted Dempsey…

Why? Because Dempsey graduated ALL of his 4 year guys… Period. He also won more than his fair share of games at Rider and was rewarded with an opportunity to coach Binghamton University near is childhood home.

As he changed jobs, Dempsey remained committed to recruiting Philadelphia area kids.

Indeed, his first big recruit at Binghamton was Wissahickon’s Jordan Reed. In his first two years at Binghamton, Reed scored 913 points and pulled down 524 rebounds. Reed would transfer and complete his collegiate career at Tennessee State.

I say all that to say… Dempsey knows his way around Philly.

So when he was recruiting Sessoms he was perplexed… “How am I the only one that sees it?”

I had no real answers.

The most common explanation put forth for the lack of D1 interest in Sessoms as a PG prospect was the sub par season his grassroots club had during his 17U season. Playing alongside, not one, but two ball dominant top 20 national players he was overlooked. Cam Reddish and Louis King were at or near the top every national recruit ranking. Both would eventually be named to the prestigious McDonald’s All-American team in 2018.

Sessoms a natural point guard, spent his summer, on the wing, watching Reddish and King do their thing on an immensely talented and underachieving Team Final squad that struggled to compete against the very best the EYBL had to offer.

Some say that experience really had a negative impact on his recruitment.

I’m not so sure… To come to that conclusion, one has to skip over the body of work he put in at the Shipley School. For four years, Sessoms literally terrorized the opposition. He went up against all the very best teams in the area and… quite fankly…

He BUSSED day ass!

I mean he truly was unstoppable. Some of the finest guards in the region were completely at his mercy, There was nothing they could do to slow him down, much less stop him.

Tommy Dempsey saw it… I saw it…

The other 350 or so D1 coaches just missed it.

A proud young man and a fierce competitor, Sessoms and his father refused to allow the slow pace of the recruitment process to get to them. They understood that he only needed one offer… Just one…

On a visit to Binghamton, Tommy Dempsey did something no other D1 coach in America would do that year. He offered Sam Sessoms a full basketball scholarship. A few days after returning from the visit, Sessoms would commit to Dempsey.

Sam Sessoms at Binghamton University

Over the next two seasons, Sessoms was the most productive player in the America East Conference. Dempsey was rewarded handsomely for his belief in Sessoms’ ability to compete at the D1 level. In just 2 seasons, he finished his tenure at Binghamton No. 2 on the Bearcats’ Division I-era career scoring list with 1,151 points. He eclipsed the 1,000 career point milestone in just 57 games. His 588 points as a freshman stands as the second-highest single-season total in program history. Sessoms finished in the top five in America East in both scoring and assists, he was one of only two of the league’s players to accomplish that feat as a freshman and sophomore.

In short, he tore they asses up…

Predictably, after his outstanding freshman campaign, many of the schools that completely disregarded him 12 months earlier expressed a profound appreciation for his game.

“If he transfers… we would be interested…” I heard that from at least 7 or 8 mid to high major programs.

However, by that time, Dempsey and Sessoms had developed a relationship that extended beyond the traditional player/coach bond. These guys were friends. They are both forthright grown men and treated one another with the respect one would accord to another grown man.

Recognizing that Dempsey gave him an opportunity fulfill his dream of playing at the D1 level when others had not, Sessoms decided to stay at Binghamton for his sophomore campaign.

After his second year, Dempsey fully understood that Sessoms faced an monumental decision. While he excelled individually, Binghamton continued to struggle as a team. Wins were hard to come by. He knew that Sessoms would have a boatload of options.

He knew the rest of the world could now see what only he saw 24 months earlier… Sam Sessoms is a BAD MUTHAFUCKA…

Dempsey humbly asked if he could recruit him again as Sessoms weighed his options to “move up” to a high major program. This is grown man shit! He didn’t try to manipulate him… He didn’t bad mouth the programs that expressed interest in his franchise player… He just asked for an opportunity to present his best case for Sessoms remaining the centerpiece of the Binghamton program.

I fuck with Tommy Dempsey!

In what was an emotionally charged conversation, Sessoms had to let his coach know he was moving on. Speaking to Dempsey around this time, he was conflicted. He knew that Sessoms would be successful wherever he landed, but he was losing his best player and his good friend. He fully supported Sessoms and still does.

A decisive young man, Sessoms quickly determined that he could be major contributor to the Penn State program Pat Chambers was building.

Not long after his commitment, the NCAA decided to make this year a “free” year for all student-athletes eligibility-wise. At that point, Sessoms sought and was granted a waiver to play immediately.

Sam Sessoms, Penn State

God is good… Penn State Basketball has Sam Sessoms at 20, with two seasons under his belt for the next three years.

Sessoms will help every player and coach in the Nittany Lion program get better. He will prod them… He will push them… If they are slow to respond, he will get it done himself…

It looks the same to me, he’s out there imposing his will on opposing teams. Going where he wants… Doing what he wants…

Only difference is the opposing teams are much bigger, stronger and more athletic. You know what though?

He’s BUSSING dey ass too!

It’s GOTTA Be AB! Camden High’s Next Coach

It’s gotta be AB!

Camden, New Jersey is in the midst of a scholastic sports renaissance. High major college football and basketball coaches make their way to the small city nestled against the Delaware River on a regular basis. Woodrow Wilson HS and Camden HS continuously pump out D1 level athletes every year… Temple, Texas A&M, Rutgers, Michigan, etc. come to looking for left tackles, defensive backs and Quarterbacks. Clemson came and got a shooting guard for their women’s team a few years ago. Last year, Kentucky Coach John Calipari flew the private jet up on multiple occasions while courting power forward Lance Ware.

Camden is producing elite student-athletes by the bushel… There is no end in sight…

The challenge for the Camden City Board of Education, the Principal and the Athletic Director at Camden High School is to NOT fumble.

Camden High’s basketball team is once again nationally ranked by virtually every major publication covering High School basketball. Last year, Camden’s season abruptly came to a halt… It took the coronavirus to accomplish what no NJ High School opponent could do… With the pandemic looming over the state of New Jersey, scholastic sports came to halt while the Camden High squad was literally a few miles away from an important playoff game.

Rick Brunson, Former Camden Coach

Under the leadership of Head Coach Rick Brunson, Camden finished the year 29-1 and with a 25 game winning streak intact.

“You want da High? You got da High!”

Taquan Woodley, Camden Senior

This year’s squad is led by the best available high school big on the east coast. Taquan Woodley comes in at 6’8″ 240 lbs. He is an old-school traditional power forward… A relentless rebounder and a superb low-post defender, he has greatly improved his offensive repertoire and passing over the past year. Since decomitting from Penn State, SEC, Big East and A10 programs have been clamoring for his services.

DJ Wagner, Camden Sophomore

The biggest name in the program belongs to a 3rd generation heir to the Camden Basketball throne. DJ Wagner is a 6’3″ 175 lb combo guard that has established himself as the number 1 player in the class of 2023. Wagner’s approach to the game belies his youth. He is a cerebral player, a thoughtful player, a patient player right now. Each day, his athletic gifts unfurl themselves more and more leaving fans wondering if there is a ceiling.

Jerome Brewer

Yet another headliner for the Camden High program is Jerome Brewer. Standing 6’8″ and coming in at 220, Brewer has a smooth and accurate stroke that extends well beyond the 3 point line. An excellent rebounder, especially on the offensive end of the floor, Brewer may be Camden’s most consistent contributor.

Cornelius Robinson and Cian Medley are two sophomores with D1 offers and tons of interest. Senior Devin Benson is yet a nother scholarship level player in the program.

With all of that talent and one of the strongest Basketball traditions in America, Camden High will have it’s 4th Boys Basketball Coach in 4 years this season.

It’s time to hire THE Camden High Basketball Coach. It’s time to hire a guy that will see the freshmen graduate from Da High. This is a 4, 5, 6 year hire. The new school (and gym) opens next year. Think this through and make sure you’ve got the right guy.

It’s really not a complicated call…

Rick Brunson leaves the program 1st and goal at the 2 yard line. Whatever happens from here is on the Camden City Board of Education, the Principal and the Athletic Director at Camden High School.

Keep it simple…

No fumbles… No interceptions…

That’s why we feel like it’s gotta be AB…

First and foremost, Aaron Burt is a long-time member, in good standing, of the Camden Basketball community. Burt was a three year starter. He also played on a State Championship team. His Camden roots are extremely deep. Camden basketball is unique. The Camden basketball community is unlike any other in the area. The fans, boosters, families, alums and supporters embrace this program with a fervor unmatched in other communities.

That’s a gift and a curse. Those well-versed in the culture can successfully harness the energy and passion of the community and ride it in conquest of New Jersey scholastic basketball. An uninitiated coach may crumble under the weight of lofty expectations carried by a city of 75,000 hungry for it’s first state championship in twenty years.

Aaron Burt played at Camden High. He understands Camden basketball.

Aaron Burt has coached elite nationally ranked players. As Coach of the Team Final 17U squad on the Nike EYBL circuit, Burt coached NBA players such as Cam Reddish, Donta Divencenzo and Mikail Bridges.

Aaron Burt is very familiar with the South Jersey Scholastic basketball scene. He’s been the Head Coach at Cherry Hill West for several years.

Aaron Burt is an educator. Burt has spent his professional career carving out an impressive resume as a high school administrator. He would bring a full set of skills to bear on the multitude of issues that face the Camden high school basketball coach.

Camden High Alum, Aaron Burt

It’s gotta be AB!

Or, you could be like Pete Carroll…

In Super Bowl XLIX, Carroll and the Seahawks had second-and-goal at the 1 with 26 seconds remaining. Seattle was 1 yard away from securing a second consecutive championship — but instead of handing the rock to Marshawn Lynch, the strongest running back in football, Carroll called a pass play…

What the fuck?

And when Russell Wilson’s goal-line slant was picked off by Malcolm Butler, Carroll looked like a complete dickhead…

Don’t be Pete Carroll…

Darkhorse candidate… Jason Harrigan… Not sure Harrigan would place his hat in the ring. Harrigan has been with the Camden program as an assistant for a couple years. He was the Philadelphia Daily News HS Coach of the Year at Delaware Valley Charter High School. He was recently hired as the Head Coach at St. Joseph’s Prep.

If the Camden City Board of Education, the Principal and the Athletic Director at Camden High School chooses to stay within the program Harrigan makes sense. They must understand that Wagner and his parents as well as the other parents have options.

Doesn’t make sense to start over. Nationally ranked 2 consecutive years. Twenty-five game winning streak. No fewer than 5 legitimate Division 1 basketball prospects on the roster. The Camden basketball program is a community asset. Every effort should be undertaken to maintain the highly competitive program left by Vic Carstarphen and Rick Brunson.

Black Cager TV, Mark Bass and Maalik Wayns Officially Launch New Original Podcast “Bass & Wayns on College Basketball”

Twenty year Division 1 coach and former NBA player leverage Black Cager TV’s mass reach to bring insightful and timely conversations to college basketball fans nationwide

November 3, 2020, 3:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
CAMDEN, NJ BlackCagerTV.com, the premier original college and high school basketball content producer in the mid-Atlantic region, today announced the official launch of “Bass & Wayns on College Basketball,” a Black Cager TV Original Podcast hosted by Mark Bass and Maalik Wayns. Bass is former longtime assistant coach at St. Joseph’s University and Wayns is a former McDonald’s All-American and NBA player. The show will join the Black Cager TV Network and will explore some of the most important issues and transformative trends through insightful and engaging conversations that span recruiting, player evaluations, NCAA rule changes and other pressing topics. The premiere episode will be available mid-November on BlackCagerTV.com and YouTube.com.

Known as one of the best recruiters and teachers in the business, Bass will help parents and prospective student-athletes know which tough questions to ask and how not to take “nonsensical responses” or “no comment” for an answer. Wayns just completed a wonderful playing career that took him to the NBA and across the globe. “Bass & Wayns on College Basketball” is yet another example of Black Cager TV’s commitment to providing practical, useful and entertaining original basketball related content to viewers across the country.

”I’m finally done playing… I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish at the grassroots, scholastic, collegiate and professional levels. Now that I am no longer focused on my own playing career, I am able to devote my energies to helping young people navigate the basketball landscape. I am insatiably curious about the basketball world and at this moment in time, things are changing at breakneck speed. In the face of seismic NCAA rule changes and the coronavirus pandemic, I will try to connect the dots for kids and their families and I’m excited to take listeners along for the ride,” Wayns said. “With the help of an incredible line-up of guests and the unmatched reach of Black Cager TV, I’m excited to have listeners across the nation examine these fascinating and urgent topics so they can come to a better understanding of what’s happening and where we’re going.”

Bass notes, “I have coached several NBA players such as Delonte West, Jameer Nelson, Dwayne Jones, Deandre Bembry, Langston Galloway and Charlie Brown. Each journey to that league was unique. There are no shortcuts. What each of them did possess was an incredible work ethic. More than anything else, that allowed them to shape their skill set into a package that added value to an NBA team. Along with Maalik, who I coached against, I want help kids and their families gain a better understanding of what to expect at the collegiate level. Black Cager TV is highly regarded among college coaches and parents and it’s the perfect platform for us to share our thoughts and ideas.”

In addition to digital availability, full episodes and vignettes of “Bass & Wayns on College Basketball” will air on BlackCagerTV.com and YouTube.com, bringing their important voice to the more 100,000 Black Cager monthly viewers.

“Black Cager TV is committed to growing its vast original content library with culturally relevant content every day,” said Delgreco Wilson, Founder of the Black Cager TV Network. “With the addition of ‘Bass & Wayns on Callege Basketball,’ we aim to give viewers nuanced and expert perspectives on basketball topics affecting players and their families from two of Philadelphia Big 5’s best players. At this point in history, and amidst the nonstop daily news cycle, we need experienced and incisive perspectives on the issues that matter – and that’s Bass & Wayns.”

Black Cager TV content is available on instagram, facebook, twitter, YouTube and BlackCagerTV.com. It can be accessed through many different connected devices — including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, televisions and gaming consoles.

About Black Cager Sports Media
Black Cager Sports is a premier minority owned online network dedicated to covering elite High School, College and Grassroots programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The network is the ultimate destination for hoop heads and alumni throughout the mid-Atlantic region, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. Reaching over 100,000 viewers and hundreds of college coaches per month, Black Cager has a greater reach among college coaches than most other media companies in the U.S. The company’s leadership position extends across multiple platforms including live streaming games and on demand via its Black Cager TV pay-per-view service. Visit BlackCagerTV.com for more company information.

About Mark Bass
Mark Bass, one of the most prolific shooters in Saint Joseph’s history, coached 20 seasons at his alma mater and was the longest tenured assistant coach in SJU men’s basketball history. Bass joined the Hawks’ staff in 1999-2000 and during his tenure, he helped coach teams that have made six consecutive post-season appearances, won five Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and captured the 2016 and 2014 A-10 titles. Nine years after he led the Hawks to the NIT Final as a player in 1996, Bass again helped SJU reach New York City and the NIT Final as a coach in 2005.

A fiery leader on the court, and two-year team captain, Bass led the Hawks to the NIT Finals in his senior season, 1995-96, and ranked second on the team with his average of 14.3 points per game. He connected for school records of 91 3-pointers and 268 attempts, season marks which were later eclipsed by Pat Carroll in 2005. A Second Team All-Big 5 selection in 1996, Bass made 225 three-pointers during his career from 1992-96, a total that now ranks sixth on the Hawks’ all-time list. As a freshman, the guard led the Atlantic 10 Conference in free throw percentage with a school-record 86.9 percent, a mark which was broken by Langston Galloway in 2011-12 (88.7). Bass also led the A-10 in three-point percentage as a junior (.423), making him just the second Saint Joseph’s player to lead the league in two different categories. In 2001, Bass became the first member of the 1996 NIT Finalist team to be inducted into the Saint Joseph’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

About Maalik Wayns
Wayns played high school basketball for Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. As a Junior, he averaged 22.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. Wayns was also a two-time MVP in the Philadelphia Catholic League and also first team all-city and all-state in Pennsylvania. As a Senior, Wayns averaged 19.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He was named a Parade All-American and McDonald’s All-American and at the end of the year.

Wayns chose to attend Villanova. He was named Big East All-Rookie Team and won the Big East Rookie of the Week three times. Wayns finished with 6.8 points and 1.3 assists. As a junior in 2011–12, Wayns earned second-team All-Big East honors after averaging 17.6 points per game. He played in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers. He also professionally in Italy, Russia, Israel, Spain and Belarus.

Stevie Mitchell Commits to Marquette University

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Stevie Mitchell (Philly Pride/Wilson West Lawn) has committed to play college basketball at Marquette University. Mitchell has emerged as a Pennsylvania Scholastic legend in Berks County. He enters his senior as the all-time leading scorer for Wilson West Lawn.

An incredibly unassuming, humble and God fearing young man, Mitchell has handled his rise to basketball prominence with an unusual amount of grace. His recruitment process was intriguing. Because he is a consensus top 100 player, he was offered scholarships from some of the finest high major basketball programs in the nation. Miami, Georgia Tech and VCU made pushes to land Mitchell.

His very strong academic profile led some of the most competitive and prestigious academic institutions to try to add him to their respective learning communities. Stanford, Penn and Lehigh tried to land this scholar that happens to play a lil’ basketball.

Locally, in addition to the Quakers, Villanova St. Joseph’s and Temple recruited Mitchell hard. It’s easy understand why. The young man is loved by adults, peers and young kids alike. On the court, he is a relentless competitor with a well-rounded offensive game that will allow him to contribute immediately to the Marquette program.

Marquette Assistant Coach Dwayne Killings made Mitchell a priority. Killings and Marquette Head Coach, Michael Wojciechowski, stalked Mitchell like hungry lions on the Serengeti for more than a year. Their efforts were rewarded. They have landed the 2019 Under Armour Association 16U MVP. They landed the leader of the #1 ranked and National Champion 16U Philly Pride squad. They landed a stellar student with exceptional grades and test scores. They landed a true gentlemen with genuine love for young basketball fans. And, perhaps most importantly, once the buzzer sounds and the games begin, they will learn they landed a BAD MUTHAFUCKA!

Stevie can flat out ball… Big East Bound!

Coronavirus “Refugees”: HS Student-Athletes

Elections have consequences…

In 2016, America reacted to the close of the first presidential administration led by a Black man by placing a reality TV star, Donald Trump, in the White House. By any reasonable measure, the host of “The Apprentice” has failed to adequately deal with the public health crisis caused by coronavirus pandemic that overwhelmed the mid-Atlantic region in the first half of 2020 and continues to advance through the South and mid-West with relentless verve.

Coronavirus is kicking our American asses! It reminds me of the Dream Team’s blowout of Somalia. Just like the African nation on the court, the USA led by “Coach” Trump is offering very little resistance.

Coronavirus has grabbed America by the pussy…

This situation could conceivably create pockets of athletic “refugees.” Recently, Maryland joined six other states with the District of Columbia, to move its fall season to the New Year. Unless, all 50 states and Washington, D.C. follow suit, scholarship level HS student-athletes have a tough choice to make.

Courtesy Woodrow Wilson High School Basketball, Washington, D.C.

If a football or basketball player in Maryland or Washington, D.C. has received “interest” from NCAA Division 1 or Division 2 programs but no offers, they feel immense pressure to perform in scholastic contests to prove themselves worthy of a scholarship. If they have offers from low major D1 programs or D2 programs, they feel pressure to prove themselves worthy of mid to high major offers.

The horrendous handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the Trump administration resulted has resulted in tremendous uncertainty in all facets of American life, including scholastic sports.

On February 26, President Trump boasted that the coronavirus was about to disappear altogether from the United States. “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

As of August 15, there have been 4,793,950 confirmed cases and 157,416 deaths.

People are justifiably shook… State governors and state sanctioning bodies have been forced to develop strategies and policies to deal with a NATIONAL crisis. They are performing admirably in their attempts to fill the void resulting from the breathtaking absence of Presidential leadership as the United States limps through the largest public health crisis in a century.

However, it should be noted that the absence of federal leadership has resulted in 50 different intervention strategies. The variation among the responses is significant. Some states have postponed Fall and Winter sports until 2021. Others are committed to fielding teams and having them play as if the coronavirus crisis has subsided.

District of Columbia — Per July 16 announcement, the District of Columbia State Athletic Association has postponed interscholastic activities until January 2021. Under this plan, winter season practices would begin Dec. 14 with games coming Jan. 4. Postponed fall sports would begin practicing Feb. 1 with games getting underway Feb. 22.

Maryland — The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) announced Aug. 3 that football along with all its fall and winter sports will be moved to a hybrid two-semester plan starting in 2021. The exact plan for how it will fit into the two semesters is still being worked on, but Maryland joined six other states with the District of Columbia, to move its fall season to the New Year. According to a MPSSAA news release, the new plan will be made available in the next couple of weeks.

Now… the parents of D.C. or Maryland student-athletes face a choice. Let’s assume their child has been contacted by college coaches interested in following him/her and perhaps offering an athletic scholarship. Thanks to the inept response of the occupant at 1600 Black Lives Matter Blvd., spring and summer organized sports activities have been abrogated.

No basketball playoffs… No grassroots/AAU events… No 7 on 7 football… No combines…

The NCAA implemented a “dead period” in March. It looks as if it will extend through the fall… No face to face recruiting… No live evaluation of players…

Athletic scholarships are worth anywhere from $200,000 to $320,000 depending on the school. That’s a nice chunk of change… These kids have invested years of training, practice and conditioning for this moment and it’s suddenly taken away.

What if the pandemic deepens? The schedule set for January 2021 may not come to fruition. What if they just cancel sports altogether?

Do D.C. and Maryland parents send their kids to play in Pennsylvania where games are scheduled to take place? Even if there are no fans, the video can be shared with college coaches looking to fill out rosters.

If Drexel told the kid they want to evaluate him in high school games, does he move to another state to make it happen. Drexel costs north of $80,000 per year. A Maryland kid could come play in the Philadelphia Catholic League or Division A of the Public League and prove himself worthy of the $320K schollie… Or, he could wait, hope and take the chance that the pandemic will subside and their current schools will have sports in the spring.

While driving on I-95 last weekend, I saw a “caravan” of a couple hundred fit, lean and athletic 17-18 year olds walking on the side of the road. They were headed north towards Philadelphia.

Elections have consequences… The next one is November 3, 2020.

Let’s Talk About Ball in Philly: Black Cager Middle School Classic

This past Saturday and Sunday, Cardinal O’Hara hosted the third leg of the Black Cager Middle School Classic. The 4 month grassroots circuit features teams from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Locally, we had Gratz legend Jarett Kearse’s Philly Blue Magic in action. After three stops, Philly Blue Magic is undefeated at 10-0. Blue Magic will be the number #1 seed when the playoffs get underway two weeks. The reigning Baltimore Catholic League Champion, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD) will host the the playoff and Championship Games.

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Jarett Kearse and Philly Blue Magic

There were three other Philadelphia area entrants for this session. Team Claude Gross featured sixth grader Olin Chamberlain, Jr. Chamberlain is the nephew of both Wilt Chamberlain and the legendary Claude Gross. A long athletic point guard, Chamberlain has a tight handle, excellent vision and range out to the 3 point line. He will contribute immediately at the varsity level in three years.

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Team Claude Gross

The Philly Mavericks played 4 competitive games. Haneef Hall is a big man with soft hands and a nice shooting stroke. Charles Cook is an athlete wing with very good change of pace moves. Dame Collins (below) does an excellent job with this program.

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Dame Collins, Philly Mavericks

James Nelson Stewart put together the Suburban All-Stars. They had a very good little guard. That team also has a lot of length. High School coaches at private and Catholic schools should contact James.

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James Nelson Stewart and Bonner Assistant Joe McGinn

Each team played four games against teams like Maryland Sting, Team Melo, Crusader Nation, Thrill Black, Team Dedication and Virginia Lightning.

The Philly teams paid between $0 and $300 to participate.

The games were held at Cardinal O’Hara High School, in Springfield, PA. The Cardinal O’Hara gymnasium features two full regulation length courts and two electronic scoreboards.

United Brothers Basketball Organization provided the referees. Six referees worked 4 games each. Referees were paid between $20.00 – $30.00 per game.

Donta Scott (Imhotep CHS) managed the games. He worked 1 pm – 7pm on Saturday and 12pm – 6pm Sunday. Donta managed the games, worked the clock, kept the scorebook and supervised a 13 year old boy that manned the other table. That boy was paid $10.00 per game. Donta made between $200-$250. Jalen Hudson (Ridley HS) and an assistant worked the entrance table. They were paid between $200-$250.

We need additional workers for upcoming events. Must be willing to learn and love youth basketball.

AAU/Grassroots teams can play in gyms similar to O’Hara in Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware for $200-$300, with a 4 game guarantee. We want additional teams from the Philadelphia region.

Black Cager Sports provides media coverage to participating teams.

Refereeing is locked up. Philadelphia-based United Brothers Basketball Organization (U.B.B.O.) provides referees for Black Cager Sport youth basketball events.

 

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U.B.B.O. Referee T. Younger

Coaches from O’Hara, Friends Central, Bonner, Roman Catholic, McDevitt, Springside-Chestnut Hill and a few other Delaware and Maryland power house programs were scouting players and meeting parents.

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Springside-Chestnut Hill Coach Hartwell McFadden

Black Cager Sports is seeking 12U, 13U and 14U teams for additional competitive events. Those interested in working AAU/Grassroots events are encouraged to submit their resume to blackcager@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from interested parties.

 

Eric Dixon on Robeson Star Walter Hester!

By Eric Dixon

PHILADELPHIA, PennsylvaniaWalter Hester of Paul Robeson High School (Philadelphia, Pa.) is a “bucket”. The 5-11 combo guard can “flat out score the ball” as was evidenced in a recent win over Eastern University Academy where he scored an impressive 47 points to help get his team into tonight’s Class A championship game against Sankofa Academy.

Hester has started all but a handful of games in a four year varsity career that has seen him amass more than 1500 points from all three levels. The senior is averaging 27 ppg game, which represents a 8 point improvement over his junior season scoring average. He attributes the increase to a number of factors, including his ability to improve his pull up jump shot and “be more aggressive going to the rim” to draw fouls at a higher rate than in previous years.

It didn’t take long for the staff at Robeson to see Hester was special. He began his freshman year on the bench the first 3 or 4 games before one of the starters was slowed by an injury. “We tried it in practice it in practice and then they just kept it like that,” according to Hester.

His ascent to neighborhood folk and family hero began in middle school, says Joslyn Hester-Parham. “I wasn’t too into at first. I mean knew he played ball, but I didn’t know he play play.” She went on to say how it was around his eighth grade year when people from their southwest Philadelphia community would come up to her and tell “your brother play ball real nice.”

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Joslyn Hester-Parham and Walter Hester

Unfortunately, it’s taken college scouts a little longer to recognize his worth as his recruitment has been “slower than you might expect for a guy with his numbers,” says Robeson’s head coach, Robert Powlen. He insists if given the opportunity “Walt”, as he is affectionately known by family and friends, would be a great addition to a college program.

“On the next level, he can play either guard position and will continue to get stronger and will adjust to the college game. I truly expect him to have a great college career. His character, talent and will to win will never let him down” says Powlen.

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Coach Powlen and Walter Hester

Hester, a Philadelphia All public performer who is the 6th of 9 siblings, credits his brothers Khalil, Tyrefe, Nigel and Julius with helping him hone his game at the playground at 51st and Kingsessing. Hester is not being very tall in scholastic basketball terms but for pick up games he grew up having a to “play down low” and guard bigger players. The experience has helped him develop confidence in playing against taller players. Other influences are his mentor and trainer Rafiq Strand.

The Achieve More AAU basketball program allowed Hester to do just that by taking him to out of state tournaments and giving him free rein to explore and develop his creative shot making abilities against unfamiliar competition. “It was a good experience, they gave me more freedom. I didn’t do any thinking, I just played my game.”

Tonight against Sankofa, Hester will look to continue to do just that. He’s going to give it all he’s got, as he always does. “We are going to take what they give us. We are going to be scrappy and get the 50-50 balls and just go after it.” Sounds like something he’s used to doing.

Tired of NIGGA SHIT!

Last week, Gregory Bush, a 51 year old white man walked up to the door of the First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Filled with venom and hate and fueled by the relentless drumbeat of racist/white supremacist messages emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Bush was hunting Black people. Following a blueprint laid down in Charleston by Dylan Roof, another white supremacist convicted mass murderer 3 years earlier, Bush was intent on slaughtering Black people in their house of worship.

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Racist/white supremacist murderer, Gregory Bush

First Baptist Church officials confirmed that surveillance video recorded Mr. Bush’s unsuccessful attempt to enter the building. Billy Williams, the church administrator, said eight to 10 people were inside the church when Bush arrived after a midweek service. A church member in the parking lot grew alarmed when she saw him aggressively pulling on the historic church’s front doors. Mr. Bush drove away after less than 10 minutes.

“There were 70 people here at our weekly meeting service just an hour before he came by,” said Mr. Williams, who was among them. “I’m just thankful that all of our doors and security was in place.”

Unfortunately, the supermarket was open…

After a short drive to Kroger, Bush entered the store just before 3 p.m. and fired multiple rounds at Mr. Maurice E. Stallard, a 69 year old Black father and grandfather. He then exited and fired at Ms. Vicki Lee Jones, a 67 year old Black mother and grandmother, striking her several times.

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Maurice Stallard (l) attends the Louisville Male High School 50th class reunion with daughter Kellie Watson and his wife, Charlotte

Both Mr. Stallard and Ms. Jones were declared dead at the scene.

A white man confronted Bush with a firearm, the murderer told the man “Whites don’t kill whites,” and moved on.

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Vickie Lee Jones is pictured here with her nephew, Kevin Gunn.

That same week, another racist/white supremacist Robert Bowers, 46, did make it past the threshold of a House of Worship. Once in this particular house of God, Bowers shouted “All Jews must die!”

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Racist/white supremacist mass murderer Robert Bowers

He proceeded to methodically execute 11 unarmed Jewish people congregating in their sanctuary, including a 97 year old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Bush, Roof, Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, Jr, charged with mailing more than a dozen explosive devices to critics of President Trump are real-life enemies of Black, Latino and Jewish people.

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Jewish victims

Too many Black males in Philadelphia fail to truly understand what the word “enemy” means, As a result it is misused and misapplied all to often. An enemy is a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. 

Shit you hear Black Men say in Philadelphia…

“Why is he organizing a basketball game or event? He needs to stay in his lane… Fuck him, he’s my ENEMY!”

“Why is he taking that kid to talk to that college? He needs to stay in his lane… Fuck him, he’s my ENEMY!”

“Why did he take pictures of that AAU program? He needs to stay in his lane… Fuck him, he’s my enemy!”

“Why are you talking to him? I don’t like him, so YOU shouldn’t talk to him… Fuck you, you’re my enemy!”

“Why are you playing in his event? If you do, you’re my enemy!”

“Why don’t you write something positive about my son? If you don’t you’re my enemy!”

These are just few examples of the types of petty, inconsequential episodes that lead Black males in and around Philadelphia to declare other Black men to be their “enemies”…

Meanwhile…the real enemies are preventing Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans from voting across the country… The real enemies are sending American troops to confront a couple thousand penniless brown men, women and children trekking hundreds of miles toward the American border…

What amazes me is that Black men in Philly know full well that a majority of Black boys fail to graduate from high school in 4 years. They also know that too many of those that make it college struggle socially and emotionally.

In the past month, I have had a young man sent home for assaulting his girlfriend on campus, another arrested for fighting on campus and yet another two fail drug screenings.

Our kids are struggling…

Scholarship kids gunned down in the streets…

Superstars convicted… Others begging for dollars to buy pills…

We all see it… We’ve seen surefire NBA prospects derailed because of highly questionable behavioral choices. Some of our finest prospects have never worn an NBA uniform for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their basketball abilities.

Indeed, some of our guys in the NBA have had to deal with felony charges arising from poor decisions…

Over and over… Shit is on repeat…

Still… Black males somehow remain focused on keeping one another from advancing.

This is NIGGA SHIT!

As the larger society struggles to keep the racist/white supremacist pot from boiling over, Philly’s Black males, committed to crab-like behavior, pull one another back into the scolding water.

Last night a Black male executed another Black man… Yup… Although I have no idea who pulled the trigger, I am 99.999999% certain it was a Black male between 18-35.
He lurked in the shadows… He waited for an opportunity… He wanted to take a father from his kids… He wanted to take a coach from his players… He wanted to take an ol’ Head from his youngins…

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Coach Bok Green

Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Eleven (11) bullets entered his body… Piercing his skin… Crushing his bones… Dislodging internal organs… A river of blood ensued…

A life prematurely snuffed out!

Hundreds of young kids traumatized… Of the 200-250 he would have in a gym at a time, for at least 20-30, he was the tie, the connection to “civilian life”… Who will check on those kids now? Will they listen?

The Black male shooter is doing the work of racist/white supremacists like Bush, Roof, Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, Jr.

The Black male shooter is our enemy!

Miss me with the NIGGA SHIT!

Understanding New Rules: The End of “One-and-Done”

Black Cager Sports Media takes pride in our ability to disseminate important information to the youth, high school and collegiate basketball communities in the Mid-Atlantic Region. We are starting a new series of essays, “Understanding New Rules.” The aim, as always, is to help parents, student-athletes, coaches and other stakeholders make better informed decisions regarding their educational futures.

In the first essay, we delve into one of the most widely publicized aspects of the “New Rules” outlined in the Rice Commission Report submitted to the NCAA.

End of One-and-Done
“Elite high school players with NBA prospects and no interest in a college degree should not be “forced” to attend college, often for less than a year. These uniquely talented players are the focus of agents, apparel companies, investment advisors, college coaches and other seeking to profit from their skills and offering them cash and other benefits in hope of future gain. If they are allowed to turn professional, some of the pressure on the collegiate model will be reduced.”

Rice Commission Report

Those of us of a certain age can understand what the Rice Commission means by “the pressures on the collegiate model.” Like elsewhere, in college basketball, money is at the root of all evil.

What’s important to note is that this ain’t no new shit! The NCAA has been aware of this “pressure” for decades…

This particular “New Rule” only impacts “uniquely talented” players… Not good HS players… Not great HS players… Just “uniquely talented” players…

The jump from scholastic basketball to the NBA is HUGE… Only a select few over the past six decades or so have been able to make the jump successfully…

In the greater Philadelphia area, we tend to produce one of these players every 5-10 years… Wilt Chamberlain, Gene Banks, Rasheed Wallace, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Griffin and Cam Reddish immediately come to mind as guys that would have been high NBA draft picks right after prom. That’s a pretty short list…

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Gene Banks, #1 HS Player in the Nation at West Philadelphia HS

But when such a talent emerges, “the pressures” as the NCAA euphemistically calls them are well documented.

Forty-four years ago, “uniquely talented” young man from Petersburg, Virginia put ENORMOUS pressure on the collegiate model.

Shit was out of control!

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Moses Malone at Peterburg HS

After his junior year, Moses Malone made the trek to Howard Garfinkel’s Five-Star camp where he dominated… Garfinkel gave Malone 5 full stars and stated that his potential was to “infinity.” As a senior Malone was recruited by more than 200 colleges. Envelopes addressed to his uncle containing $1,000 were commonplace. One day a brand new Chrysler Imperial magically appeared with the keys in from of the Malone home.

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1974 Chrysler Imperial

Never really a serious student, Malone received straight A’s as a senior and managed to barley meet the minimum requirements for accepting an athletic scholarship.

Moses put real “pressure” on the collegiate model!

It was commonly understood that Malone required $200 to even consider making a visit to any college campus.

An assistant coach from New Mexico lived at the Petersburg Howard Johnson’s for more than two months while stalking Malone. Maryland’s tab at the Petersburg Holiday Inn surpassed $20,000.

In an extremely poor neighborhood of homes with no paint, no grass on the lawns… The Malones had a new floor model television, new carpeting and new furniture. They were also the only home in the area with an air conditioner in the window.

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Moses Malone as an ABA Rookie

Very rare are boys that can play with the best men in the world… Like mythological unicorns…

The NCAA has openly acknowledged that the collegiate model isn’t built to withstand the pressures surrounding these young men.

Darryl Dawkins, Bill Willoughby, Shawn Kemp, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Sebastian Telfair, J.R. Smith, Monta Ellis and Louis Williams were “uniquely talented.”

While Philly produces an abundance of college basketball prospects, straight to the NBA prospects are seldom seen…

Truth be told… Philly-based AAU/Grassroots Coaches/Directors tend to wage intense, friendship testing battles over low to mid-major D1 prospects…

But just in case another unicorn appears on the horizon, the basketball community should be well-versed in the rules…

The end of the “One-and-Done” era is fast approaching…

How will we know when another unicorn appears? Just look for the sports agents, NBA scouts, apparel companies, investment advisors and HIGH-MAJOR college coaches… They will ALL be at the games…

Putting PRESSURE on the young man and his family…