Who Knows What’s Best for Black Students? Parents or Bishop Canevin HS Adminstrators?

Imagine… You’re a hardworking Black father in Pittsburgh. You graduated from an HBCU, Cheyney University, you value education. You are a hands-on parent. You are heavily involved in your children’s lives… All 11 of them… You decided to enroll your 14 year old son in a Catholic High School because you are looking for a better educational setting. You and his mother were raised, and continue to reside, in a solid working class, predominantly Black, section of of the city. As parents, you are seeking a school that will provide discipline and a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. After months of carefully considering traditional public school, magnet school, charter school and independent school options you decide to make some financial sacrifices and enroll your son in what you think is a good Catholic High School, Bishop Canevin.

You and his mother feel good about the decision. You have decided to place your child’s education in the hands of the Jesuits that run Canevin. This is a research-based decision on your part. After all, you learn that Jesuit educational institutions are universally lauded for their track record of preparing students intellectually, morally and spiritually for lives characterized by solidarity, service and professional success. You and his mother are beyond pleased that your child will be receiving a “Jesuit education.” After all, the goals and values expressed by the teachers, administrators and staff at Cavenin are very much aligned with your own.

Your son is inquisitive, bright and eager to learn. With the high school decision made, you and his mother even begin to contemplate Jesuit colleges. Four years of high school can go by rather quickly. A quick internet search and you discover Boston College, Georgetown, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Holy Cross, Fordham and Marquette are just a few of 28 highly regarded Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States.

You begin to think, “maybe… just maybe… we can have our boy spend 8 years with the Jesuits… He’ll be straight educationally.”

But…

Then he actually enrolls and begins to take classes. While he is able to maintain his grades, you notice subtle changes in his demeanor. Something is a lil’ off… Initially, you and his mother assume the changes can be attributed to his adjustment to a new school setting and the challenges of high school academics. Then one day, your son informs you…

“Dad… They called me nigger.”

“What?”

It’s Pittsburgh and it’s 2022, you and his mother did not expect nor did you plan for the possibility that your son would be subjected to such racial trauma as a high school freshman. You spend countless hours wondering if somehow it was your fault for enrolling him in this predominantly white Catholic School. Did we make a mistake choosing Bishop Canevin?

While traditional public schools in Pittsburgh lack the high standardized test scores and college acceptance rates of Bishop Canevin, your son would not be subjected to this type of racist behavior.

Shit adds another layer of stress… You and his mother now have a whole new host of concerns and worries. Your boy is just beginning his high school career and already you are worried about how racial incidents will impact his ability to have relationships, concentrate on school work, and feel safe.

You and his mother decide to immediately report the incident to school administrators.

As Black parents of school age children, you understand that racial discrimination can be harmful to a boy’s mental health. You are very much aware of the fact that perceptions of racial discrimination have been linked to lower life satisfaction levels, decreased self-esteem, increased depressive symptoms, as well as increased anger and anxiety among Black adolescents. You don’t want your son to begin exhibiting any depressive symptoms, conduct problems or decreased self-esteem.

This is a tough situation… You and his mother decide to stick it for the school year and attempt to work through it with the school officials.

Bishop Canevin administrators listen to your concerns and say all the right things. They say they want to ensure that your son has an affirming and safe school environment that celebrates him for who he is. They seem to recognize that they have an obligation to ensure that your son is not denied opportunities, treated differently, discriminated against, or harassed because of his race, color, or national origin.

On the surface, at least, it seems like they get it…

Nonetheless, after the school year is over, you and his mother begin to rethink the Catholic School placement. In addition to this and other racial incidents, the cost is proving to be problematic and perhaps even prohibitive. Once again, you weigh all the pros and cons of the traditional public, magnet, charter and private schools in the region. After carefully considering all of your options, you decide to remain committed to a faith-based educational setting.

You and his mother settle son to a small predominantly Black Christian school, Imani Christian Academy, serving students from low-income, under resourced school districts. Unlike Bishop Canevin, where more than 75% of the students were white, most of the students at Imani Christian are Black inner-city youth. Many come from single-parent homes or are being raised by a grandparent or guardian.

You and his mother have concluded that Imani Christian can provide a stable and nurturing environment for your young Black son.

Moreover, Imani Christian’s tuition is significantly less than the Canevin’s. That matters… At a the end of the most recent school year, you had a balance exceeding a couple thousand dollars. The financial struggle is real. Overall, you have determined that Imani Christian is the better educational buy for your family. Imani Christian delivers higher returns at a lower cost. So much so, that you can actually afford to begin paying down the debt at Bishop Canevin and pay tuition at Imani Christian.

Clearly, you and your son’s mother exercised your parental prerogative in a thoughtful and considerate manner. This is what we constantly encourage Black parents to do when it comes to their children’s education.

There are, however, some folk that think are better suited to make educational decisions for your son than you and his mother. The white educational and administrative elites at Bishop Canevin have decided that your son should remain there despite the racial animus and the financial burden your family is enduring.

They understand that you and his mother have chosen to transfer your son… They disagree with your decision. Not only do they disagree, they are going to take actions that will negatively impact your son’s educational experience after he is no longer attending Canevin. The Jesuits at Canevin decided your son would not play varsity basketball as a sophomore.

You and his mother are flabbergasted… You have no say over where Bishop Canevin administrators send their children to school. You do not get to decide if their daughter can play tennis or field hockey… Why do they get to make such a decision for your boy? Why do the Canevin Jesuits want to harm your boy?

Cavenin administrators sat directly across from you during meetings and mediation attempts surrounding the racial incidents. They acknowledged what happened. They see the ledger, they know you’re struggling with the tuition payments. They know all of this and, yet, they have determined that you and his mother should not send your son elsewhere. You should not seek an alternative placement for your son. They even go so far as to publicly declare that your decision to transfer is not based on all the aforementioned factors that kept you awake at night.

Canevin administrators basically, said fuck you and your wife…

They know your son was called a nigger here… They know school costs are problem for you… But, they have decided those factors did not influence your transfer decision. They determined that your concerns about racial incidents involving your son and their impact on his educational, social and emotional development are not important. At least not important enough to lead you to transfer. They have also determined the financial stress you endured is irrelevant.

Why would any Black family entrust the Administrators at Bishop Cavenin with their Black child’s educational development? They have demonstrated a willingness to usurp Black parental prerogative.

Although, the Bishop Jesuits were not at the kitchen table when you and his mother made educational decisions, they are effectively exercising a veto. Furthermore. their veto was enforced by administrators within the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL). The Bishop Cavenin Jesuits and WPIAL think they know, better than you, what’s best for your Black son.

Shit… he’s the only member of last year’s state championship team that has not received his ring. You have no choice but to conclude, they just don’t like your son… Maybe… just maybe they don’t like boys like him.

Black parents… Stop sending your talented Black students to Bishop Canevin. If you decide to leave, they will feel they have some say in your future…

Real shit…

Temple Knocked Off Nova & Changed the Sheets

Last night, Temple Head Coach Aaron McKie and the Owls broke out the 1,000 thread count Egyptian linen. This was after they painstakingly scrubbed the mattress and emptied a few cans of Febreze to counter the lingering stench. You see… On Monday, in a season opening “buy game” against tiny Wagner, Temple SHIT the bed.

After leading Wagner by 3 at the half… Temple was up, at home, by 15 (57-42) with 7:38 left in the game. With 1:49 remaining, Temple was up 8, 67-59. With 0:43 left Temple was still up 5, 69-64. Somehow, Wagner managed to force the game into overtime and eventually come away with a 76-73 victory. Wagner picked up a nice check and a huge road win against a strong American Athletic Conference team.

The sheets were heavily soiled… You couldn’t even wash ’em… Just throw ’em in the trash…

This was not the way anyone expected the 2022-23 campaign to begin on North Broad Street. Plenty of folk figured the Owls could be 1-1 after two games. But nobody… I mean absolutely nobody had the Owls losing to Wagner and bouncing back to knock off mighty Villanova. Wagner, led by first year Head Coach, Donald Copeland has been a very strong NEC program for several years. They deserve respect and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But coming back from 15 down late in the 2nd half to defeat Temple on the road?

Naaaah… Didn’t see that coming… WTF?

Damian Dunn and Khalif Battle in post-game press conference

Next up… Villanova…

Seems like the Wildcats have been steamrolling Big 5 opponents since Eisenhower was in the White House. Villanova’s Big 5 record over the past decade or so has to be something like 73-1. Their ascension to “blue blood” status has correlated with the demise of the venerable Big 5. Most nights, it feels like me and about 4 or 5 of my fellow fifty-sumthins are the only Big 5 fans left.

But guess what?

A fucking classic Big 5 game broke out on Broad Street tonight. The cast of characters was different, but the storyline was very familiar to Ol’ Heads. Playing the role of John Pinone was Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels portrayed Stewart Granger. For Temple, Damian Dunn did a great job as Terrance Stansbury and Granger Hall was played by Jamille Reynolds.

What a night!

Khalif Battle

No cap (as the kids say), I regret not sneaking in some streamers and tossing them on the court after the first made baskets. At several points during the game, I closed my eyes and pretended that I was in the Palestra with my ass hurting from sitting on 95 year old HARD wooden bleachers with about 57 coats of grey paint serving as a cushion.

From the time I discovered the Big 5 in the late 70’s til around the time Jay Wright convinced Kyle Lowry to go from Norf Philly to the Main Line, anything could happen in a Big 5 game. It didn’t matter what the records were… It didn’t matter what the rankings were…

Anything could happen… Comebacks, overtime games and buzzer beaters were the norm…

Big 5 basketball was lit!

The 3,000-4,000 Temple students that stormed the court TWICE after the game probably would not believe I saw Penn play Michigan State in the Final Four. To those kids, I would be something akin to Commander McBragg, if I asked “Did I ever tell you about the time I watched top-ranked Temple go into the Dean Smith Center, and beat the shit down the legs of North Carolina with a 19-0 run that erased a five-point Carolina lead at the start of the second half and depart with an 83-66 shellacking in front of 21,444 stunned Tar Heel faithful?” Coming of age during the Jay Wright era, the 18-22 year court stormers would think such tales were filled with unlikelihoods and outright impossibilities.

But that was the Big 5 I grew up on… Michael Brooks and Lionel Simmons were the best players in the nation and they plied their trade at 20th and Olney. St. Joe’s guard Mo Martin was as good as anyone else in the country. Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney impersonated Clyde and Pearl for about 3 years on 33rd Street.

It was truly a different era.

Temple, under Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, would routinely dominate wire to wire and you wouldn’t see so much as a high five amongst the Owls. No celebrations… Kicking ass is what they were supposed to do.

You could turn on a Temple-Villanova game and witness Howie Evans scoring 17 points while dishing out 20 assists with ZERO (0) turnovers to lead the Owls to victory.

Maaaaaan… I desperately miss shit like that…

That’s why last night’s game meant so much to me. For one night, at least, the Big 5 was back. For more than a decade, the Big 5 has not been the Big 5. With Wright at the helm, the Wildcats transformed the Big 5 into Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Everybody knows Gladys… People pay to see Gladys… The Pips? Not so much…

But last night, we had two headliners. Just like back in the day.

Eddie Kendricks AND Curtis Mayfield…

The Big 5 was BACK…

I think… Maybe… Kinda… Sorta…

Well at least the sheets are fresh and clean…

As for the game itself, I feign objectivity… I had a lot of favorites on that court… Eric Dixon and Chris Arcidiacono are my young bucks. I am proud of the careers they have put together with the Wildcats. Both were subjected to a rather high level of scrutiny when they decided to play on the Main Line. Both have had to rumble for every minute of playing time and earn their position as front line players in the Wildcat program.

Dixon has evolved to a point where he is a magnificent college player on the offensive end of the court. He is extremely strong with exceptional low post footwork and feathery soft shooting touch. Very few teams will be able to curtail his scoring with a lone defender. His quick 2 fouls helped Temple extend the lead in the first half. Villanova is a vastly different team with Dixon on the bench. Neptune realized this and gambled that Dixon could play spot minutes without picking up a 3rd foul before halftime. The strategy worked. Dixon was able contribute offensively, while avoiding another foul, and helped Villanova claw their way back into the game.

Arcidiacono has had to endure the inevitable comparison to his legendary older brother Ryan. Many implied and some outright asserted that Arcidiacono’s scholarship was some sort of gift or favor to the family. I call bullshit… Chris is a player… A winning basketball player… If we held a 100 meter dash featuring all the players in game he would come in near the back of the pack. If we held a high jump contest, he would finish near or at the bottom. But this ain’t the Olympics.

It’s Big 5 basketball…

In one of the best Big 5 games in recent memory, Arcidiacono played 36 minutes and pulled down a team high 10 rebounds. Because that’s what his team needed. Watching him tough it out and fight future NBA guards for a spot in rotation during the transfer portal era has been impressive. Grown man shit is what some call it…

On the Owls, Zack Hicks and Hysier Miller are my guys… McKie has decided to throw them in the deep end of the pool early in their careers. While their stat lines have not been overwhelming, they have been very smart and steady. These are my young bucks and truth be told, I wanted them to experience a Big 5 win last night.

Sometimes, the Pips should get to sing lead.

Aaron McKie, Temple Head Coach

Temple stars, Dunn and Khalif Battle scored 22 and 21 points respectively to lead the Owls, but the defensive effort put forth by Jalil White may have been the most impressive performance of the evening.

Charged with the task of slowing down the experienced and talented Caleb Daniels, White was more than up to the task. Daniels, like Gillespie, Brunson, Moore and a slew of other super talented guards before him, likes to back defenders down deep in the post and score or make plays for his teammates. White possesses enough strength, skill and determination to frustrate Daniels. He blocked or altered almost every shot attempt Daniels made while he was guarding him. When White switched off or was out of the game, Daniels was much more effective.

Reynolds, a 6’10, 285 lb transfer from UCF contributed a double-double in his first Big 5 game. One of the few players with the strength and girth to effectively bang in the low post with Dixon, Reynolds provides the Owls with a legitimate low post presence that has been lacking in recent years.

My only complaint was with the court storming… Temple has more wins than all but 4 other college basketball programs. Temple is supposed to win just about every time they play a basketball game on North Broad Street.

But I understand… Aaron McKie and Mark Macon are mere basketball “coaches” to the kids currently matriculating at Temple… Not two of the baddest muthafuckas to ever lace ’em up in Big 5 history.

Did I ever tell you about the time…

Huh? WTF? Trenton Catholic Prep Fires 2021-22 Mercer County HS Basketball Coach of the Year, Mark Bass

Fifteen months ago, Trenton Catholic Academy staved off closing for good. The Diocese of Trenton had determined they would no longer provide financial support for the school. Much like other Catholic high schools across the nation, Trenton Catholic Academy faced the ultimate tough choice. Should they close the doors permanently like North Catholic, Cardinal Dougherty, Bishop McDevitt and John Hallahan have done in Philadelphia? Or, do they find a way to continue providing safe, affordable, college preparatory educational programming to families sans Diocese funding? The Patrick School, St. Joseph’s Academy and Wildwood Catholic Academy have recently managed to fight off closure in this way.

The folks in Trenton chose the latter. The school formerly known as St. Anthony’s High, McCorristin High and Trenton Catholic Academy officially re-opened in September 2021 as Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy.

Mark Bass, former Trenton Catholic Prep Head Coach

One of the first decisions they made was to hire one of their own, Mark Bass, to lead the proud boys basketball program. Bass, a member of the Mercer County Sports Hall of Fame and the St. Joseph’s University Basketball Hall of Fame, is an all-time great Iron Mike. To this day, Bass remains entrenched as Trenton Catholic’s all-time leading scorer. He was a star guard for McCorristin (Class of 1991), as the team made back to back appearances in the State Championship game.

As a member of the St. Joseph’s University Hawks, Bass would go on to have a wonderful career in Philadelphia’s Big 5. He became one of the deadliest shooters in the history of St. Joseph’s basketball. After playing professionally in China, Bass would become the longest tenured (20 years) assistant coach in St. Joseph’s history. Bass has the distinction of leading the Hawks to the NIT final as both a player and a coach. He was also instrumental in the development of NBA players Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Dwayne Jones, Langston Galloway, DeAndre Bembry and Charlie Brown.

Hiring Bass to lead a resurgent Trenton Catholic Prep Basketball program was an absolute no-brainer. The accolades flowed after the decision was announced. “Mark is a perfect selection to lead TCPA’s boys’ basketball program,” said John Castaldo, Bass’ head coach while at McCorristin. “He returns to his alma mater with a wealth of basketball knowledge. His past successes as a player and coach will serve him well. His skills in developing and nurturing relationships are outstanding. He was a superb player during his high school and college career, and he has always been an individual of high character and moral integrity. His family support has always been remarkable, and I am confident he will lead TCPA positively into its next chapter of history and traditions.”

Bass did not disappoint.

After watching the Iron Mikes play in late January, Greg Johnson, writing for the Trentonian, noted “In the program’s first year under coach Mark Bass, Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy plays with a toughness on the defensive end that figures to make these Iron Mikes a lethal threat come state tournament time… Ball pressure. Steals. Intercepted passes… TCPA used all of it to swat away visiting Robbinsville, arguably the best team in the Colonial Valley Conference, for a 69-53 victory.”

A month later, Bass and Trenton Catholic Prep defeated Trenton High 72-57 in a raucous CURE Arena for the Mercer County Championship. The decision to bring Bass home continued pay huge dividends. The last time Trenton Catholic had been crowned NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public Champions was 12 years ago in 2009-2010. Three times they reached the sectional title game, 2012, 2015 and 2019. Three times they were turned away.

Trenton Catholic celebrates the win over Trenton

In his first year at the helm, Bass led the the Iron Mikes, ranked No.4 in the state by NJ.com to a 70-55 victory over Ranney in the 2022 South Jersey, Non-Public B title game. For the first time in 12 years, Trenton Catholic would play for a state title.
Unfortunately, the Iron Mikes would have to face a Roselle Catholic team that was the best team in the state and is currently a consensus #1 in the nation.

Tough task… for sure…

In the contest held at Rutgers’ Jersey Mike’s Arena, Trenton Catholic rallied from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 53-50 lead entering the fourth quarter before falling to Roselle Catholic, 74-66, in the Non-Public B final. As always, Bass represented Trenton Catholic with the class and dignity he has displayed over the past three decades. Following the loss, he stated “I can’t say anything bad about my guys. They played hard, man. They played hard. It was so much energy in that third to fight back, to take the lead. They’re a physical team, and we’re a physical team. But our thing was no turnovers and rebound their misses. But they were getting extra shots, extra possessions and it hurt us.”

Always gracious, Bass continued, “I’m very proud to win a Mercer County Tournament, to win a sectional. Nobody had us there. To be (ranked) fourth in the state, nobody expected us to be there. But it’s a tribute to the staff, it’s a tribute to these players. They worked and they believed in themselves and it worked out.”

Again writing for the Trentonian, Greg Johnson at the time wrote, “Bass is eager to keep leading the program. After graduating from McCorristin (Trenton Catholic’s former name) in 1991, he coached at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia for 20 seasons before taking some time off with his family and deciding that high school was the right fit.”

“It went well beyond what I expected,” Bass said. “I’m grateful that the school allowed me to coach them. I’m grateful for the players and my staff. I’m happy here. I went to school there, I’m proud of these guys and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Immediately after the season, Bass focused his energies on completing a Master’s degree in Athletic Leadership at Rider University. He received his graduate degree in August and began to prepare for year two.

Marty Flynn, Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy athletic director, (second from left) helps cuts ribbon

Unbeknownst to Bass, the Trenton Catholic Athletic Director, Marty Flynn had other plans. Winning with discipline and tenacious discipline apparently did not appeal to Flynn. Capturing the county titles, playing for the state championship and sending young men off to college was not enough.

Apparently, Flynn wanted someone other than Bass to lead the program. He immediately named former coach, Eric Elliot (above far left) to replace Bass.

Those involved in college basketball recruiting will readily admit that it has become a year round process. Moreover, the emergence of the NCAA transfer portal as a readily available pool of talent has taken a serious toll on all but the highest ranked high school prospects. The “Fall” season has become an increasingly important aspect of high school basketball. At least it is for programs that are serious and players with ambitions to play beyond high school.

Open gyms and fall events are crucial. College coaches are out there on the streets, trying to identify and recruit prospects. These fall events and fall leagues can get expensive. Most cost between $175 and $350. These fees add up quickly and can become burdensome for parents struggling to make Catholic school tuition payments.

Bass and his players decided to conduct a car wash to raise funds to pay for fall events. This way the program could avoid pestering parents. The car wash raised $600. Bass used the funds to pay registration fees for the COBL Fall event and a fall league.
The Iron Mikes played in the events. The players received scholarship offers. The $600 raised washing cars has resulted in scholarship offers worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Nonetheless, Flynn reported Bass to the NJSIAA. Let’s be clear here… The Trenton Catholic Prep Academy athletic director sought to have Bass and his players punished for washing cars to pay registration fees for Fall events. After reviewing Flynn’s complaint against Bass, the NJSIAA determined that a two-game suspension was warranted.

Sounds about right for such a minor infraction…

Flynn, however, wanted a pound of flesh. He somehow, someway, determined that termination of Bass as Boys Basketball coach was the appropriate consequence for washing cars and raising $600 to get his kids in showcase events.

Let’s be clear… This is how Trenton Catholic Prep treated one of its greatest alums. Any Black or Brown family thinking about enrolling their student-athlete in Trenton Catholic needs to this know this simple fact.

The boys basketball players at Trenton Catholic have suffered a loss… The families of the players have suffered a loss… The Trenton basketball community has suffered a loss…

The only winner here is Marty Flynn… I’m still trying to figure out what the prize is…

Shameful.

BCS TV Releases its 2022-23 Scholastic Basketball Broadcast Schedule

Black Cager Television (BCS TV) will live-steam and make available on-demand 27 Mid-Atlantic regular season high school games during the 2022-2023 campaign. The schedule, officially unveiled on (November 4), will feature blockbuster matchups and some of region’s top college prospects. This season marks Black Cager Sports 10th consecutive year covering scholastic basketball in the Greater Philadelphia Region.

In addition to highly competitive Philadelphia Catholic League games, BCS TV will stream several preseason matchups featuring highly regarded programs like Westtown, Perkiomen, Olympus (NJ), Salesianum (DE), Constitution, St. Frances (MD) and National Christian (MD). Public League contenders Sankofa and Overbrook square off on January 5. Two heated rivalry games are on tap when Westtown visits greatly improved George School team on January 6 and then we have a PIAA District 3 showdown between Reading and Muhlenburg.

Opening Week on BCS TV features powerhouse Westtown, Perkiomen, West Nottingham and Olympus Prep on November 30. Westtown features Matt Gilhool ’24 (offers from Maryland, Miami, Pitt, Va Tech, St. John’s and West Virginia). The key player for Perkiomen is Thomas Haugh ’23 (Florida commit. The doubleheader will be broadcast on the Black Cager Youtube channel at 4:30 p.m.

BCS TV’s opening week coverage continues on Friday, December 2 when Penn Wood and Nasir Washington ’23 visit Archbishop Carroll and Jake West ’25 in a Delco showdown on the Main Line at 6:00 p.m. All games will be available on-demand on the Black Cager Youtube channel.


Schedule highlights

~ 7 appearances by the defending Philadelphia Catholic League Champion Neumann-Goretti Saints, featuring one of the top back courts in the nation, Robert Wright III ’24 (Baylor commit) and Khaafiq Myers ’24 (offers from Temple, UMass, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, and Wichita St) and high major PF Sultan Adewale ’23 (offers from George Washington, Clemsom, Arizona State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech)

~ 5 appearances by Archbishop Ryan led by consensus Top 100 PF/C Thomas Sorber ’24 (offers from Marquette, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Penn State, Maryland and UMass) and Darren Williams ’24 (offers from Southern Miss, NJIT, Drexel and FGCU)

~ 4 appearances by 2021 Philadelphia Catholic League Champion Archbishop Wood Vikings with Jalil Bethea ’24 (offers from UCLA, Villanova, St. Johns, Syracuse, Rutgers, Kansas, Temple and St. Josesph’s) and Josh Reed ’24 (offer from Albany)

~ 3 appearances by the Roman Catholic Cahillites, featuring a pair of highly regarded St. Joseph’s commits, Xzayvier Brown ’23 and Anthony Finkley ’23

~ 3 appearances by West Catholic with Zion Stanford ’23 (Temple commit) and Budd Clark ’23 (Offers from Coppin, Howard and Delaware State)

~ 3 appearances by Cardinal O’Hara led by Isaiah Pasha ’23 (offers from Delaware, Iona, Xavier, VCU, George Washington and St. Joseph’s) and Aasim “Flash” Burton ’24 (offers from Drexel and UTEP)

~ 2 appearances by PIAA 3A State Champion Devon Prep featuring Jacen Holloway ’23 (Army commit) and Lucas Orchard ‘23 (Monmouth offer)

~ 2 appearances by Archbishop Carroll and Jake West ’25 (St. Francis offer)

~ 2 appearances by Reading and star combo guard Ruben Rodriguez ’23 (Rider commit)

~ 2 appearances by Father Judge led by Kyle Jones ‘23 and Ernest Shelton ’23

~ Philadelphia Public League showdown between Bo Kimble’s Overbrook squad and Sankofa led by long-time Head Coach Isaiah Thomas and featuring Zaki Alston ’23.

~ Highly regarded George School plays perennial power Westtown on January, 6 2023. George School is led by Kachi Nzeh ’23 (Xavier commit) and Christian Bliss ’23 (offers from Manhattan, FGCU, Towson and Delaware)

~ Reading and Muhlenburg square of in a fantastic District 3 rivalry game.

~ Huge rivalry matchup between Coatesville led by Head Coach John Allen and Downingtown West led by Stu Ross and featuring Dylan Blair ’23 (Army commit)

~ Big rivalry game between Trenton Central and Trenton Catholic Prep led by Head Coach Mark Bass

~ Northeast Invitational Tournament. Father Judge vs National Christian (MD) and Archbishop Ryan vs St. Frances (MD)

~ 5th Annual Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout. Reading vs West Catholic, Central York vs Father Judge and North Catholic vs Archbishop Wood

ZOOM link for Black Cager NIL Cyber Symposium, Thursday, October 13, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

Delgreco Wilson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Black Cager – NIL Cyber Symposium
Time: Oct 13, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 837 6356 4774
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Black Cager Sports Providing NIL & Financial Education to 2022 Fall Classic Participants

The road to the college basketball in the mid-Atlantic region goes through Black Cager. In addition to counseling and advising top players like Zack Hicks (Temple) and Anquan Hill (St. Bonaventure). A substantial number of the mid-Atlantic region’s players participating in NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 basketball have taken part in at least one Black Cager Fall Classic, a premier showcase for elite high school basketball talent held this year in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Current NBA rookies Jalen Duren (Pistons), Jordan Hall (Spurs), Collin Gillespie (Nuggets) and Izaiah Brockington (Pelicans) are Fall Classic alums. College Stars Ace Baldwin (VCU), Jamir Watkins (VCU), Donta Scott (Maryland), Hakim Hart (Maryland), Eric Dixon (Villanova), Nnanna Njoku (Villanova), Taquan Woodley (UMass), Rahsool Diggins (UMass), Hysier Miller (Temple), Jay Heath (Arizona State), Ricky Lindo (George Washington), Justin Moore (Drexel), Lucas Monroe (Penn), Aaron Lemon-Warren (Delaware State), Christian Tomasco (Hofstra), Lynn Greer III (St. Joseph’s), Naheem McLeod (Florida State), Jermiah Bembry (Florida State), Dahmir Bishop (FGCU), Blaise Vespe (FGCU), Jaylen Stinson (Merrimack) and Jalen Carey (Rhode Island) are just a few of the scholarship recipients the tournament has produced.

With advent of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legislation and policy changes, student-athletes are in position to earn levels of compensation their predecessors could only dream about. Black Cager Sports recognizes the need to help high school participants better understand the NIL marketplace. Black Cager Sports wants to help high school athletes navigate “the new normal”.

Toward that end, EVERY one of the more than 700 student-athletes participating in the 2022 Fall Classic will be eligible to participate in the Black Cager NIL Cyber-Symposium on Thursday, October 13, 2022 at 7:00 pm.

This panel will discuss the current state of name, image and likeness (NIL) a year into the “new normal.” This panel will examine the challenges faced by athletes, athletic departments and conferences as they navigate the continually changing landscape. The panel will discuss financial opportunities, legal and regulatory landscape of NIL, and the changes that have occurred since the NIL marketplace opened last year. 

Additonally, EVERY one of the more than 700 student-athletes participating in the 2022 Fall Classic will be eligible to participate in the eight (8) week Black Cager Fall Classic First Generation Investors (FGI) Program.

Through the FGI Program student-athletes will learn about finance & investing. Topics include:
a. Personal finance (banking, credit, etc.)
b. The stock market
c. Portfolio management
d. The Power of Compounding

Black Cager participants completing the 8 week program will make investments using real funds ($100) provided by generous FGI donors.

The Black Cager Fall Classic, in addition to being a premier scholastic basketball event, has evolved into an immersive multi-week educational, professional development experience and gathering place for college bound high school athletes and some of college sports’ most important stakeholders to share cutting-edge ideas, discover new interests, and learn how to maximize NIL opportunities to build their brands and amplify their voices.

Whether it’s hearing from the some of the foremost college athlete endorsers, being inspired by their favorite pro-athlete turned business mogul, or having the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals who want to shape the future of college athletics, high school student-athletes participating in all aspects of the Fall Classic will be equipped with the knowledge and relationships necessary to leverage their influence to create a better future for themselves and their communities.

Contact:

Delgreco Wilson, Founder

Black Cager Fall Classic

blackcager@gmail.com

Maryland’s Donta Scott Returns to Chester Biddy League

Eleven years ago, University of Maryland’s star forward Donta Scott was introduced to organized competitive basketball in through the Chester, PA “Biddy” League. Biddy Basketball was started more than 70 years ago, in 1951, by Jay Archer, Executive Director of the Youth Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Archer created Biddy Basketball to teach boys and girls the skills and fundamentals of basketball.

Maryland Star Donta Scott and Chester Biddy League participants

The Chester Biddy Basketball League is the most prestigious and longest running youth basketball league in Delaware County, PA. Chester Biddy players have gone on to compete at the high school, college, and even NBA levels. In addition to Scott, notable Chester Biddy alumni include 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Champion Derrick Jones Jr, Jameer Nelson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Michigan State point guard A.J. Hoggard and former Penn State 3 point sniper Shep Garner.

When Scott began playing Biddy basketball as a gangly 10 year old 5th grader he was incapable making a layup. His youth coach, Howard Hudson, said “some of the kids and opposing coaches used to tease and laugh at Donta because he was so raw.” What they did not and could not possibly understand was how determined Donta was to become a good basketball player.

Donta Scott, rear center, and his National Champion Biddy Team

Two years later, as a 12 year old 7th grader, Donta was the finest Biddy player in the nation and named “Mr. Biddy” as he led his team to the National Biddy Championship. He would go on to have a legendary schoolboy career with Imhotep Charter High School in the Philadelphia Public League and become a 4 year starter for the Maryland Terrapins.

On Sunday, August 28, Scott returned to talk to some of the current participants in the Chester Biddy League. He gave the kids copies of his book Wired Differently: My School Journey and provided practical advice regarding personal decision-making. The youth were attentive and engaged as Donta talked about his time in the Biddy League and his educational experiences.

Chester Biddy player reads Scott’s book

Also in attendance were Tanner Rouse, First Asst. DA at Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, and his children. Rouse and Melissa Muroff, Assistand District Attorney, were there in support of the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods (CPSN). They were pleased to see Scott, a former Chester Biggy player, come back and deliver a positive message to the current players.

Donta Scott and Tanner Rouse, First Assistant District Attorney

Scott has given away books on six separate occasions to elementary and middle school age students in Maryland and Pennsylvania. However, he was emotional about the time he spent with the Chester Biddy League players. “I’m really thankful that the Turtle Athletic Foundation made the donation to make this possible. The Chester Biddy League was my introduction to real basketball.”

“People like Ralph Dorsey and Rayleen Pierce have given so much to me. To see them still serving youth inspires me to do my part. I remember how I felt when I spent time with (NBA players) Jameer Nelson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Of course, I want to win another Big 10 title and a National Championship, but representing the University of Maryland like this is really important to me.”

Scott autographs a copy of his book for Ms. Rayleen Pierce

School starts next week and Scott is anxious rejoin his teammates and prepare for the upcoming season with new coach Kevin Willard.

Kam Roundtree: A Fresh Start in Texas

Kam Roundtree was an Imhotep Panther. He was a backup forward on the historic 2018-19 team that featured no fewer than 5 Division 1 players. Donta Scott (Maryland), Jamil Riggins (Quinnipiac), Chereef Knox (St. Joseph’s/Coppin St./Langston), Dahmir Bishop (Xavier/St. Joseph’s/FGCU) and Elijah Taylor (Notre Dame/Quinnipiac) were the headliners. Roundtree and Fatayn Wesley (Harcum/Rosemont) were very good role players on that dominant nationally ranked team. The following year, Roundtree, Taylor and Sam Wylie were the senior headliners on another strong Panther squad.

Roundtree is a 6’6″ jumping jack… He runs the floor extremely well… He rebounds at a high clip… He can defend 2-5 at the college level when motivated. His offensive game lacks polish, but he is very capable of attacking the rim over or through defenders. In short, he is a definite low to mid major D1 prospect.

Not pleased with his offers upon graduating from Imhotep, Roundtree decided to enroll in Harcum Junior College on the Main Line, located on the outskirts of West Philadelphia. His freshman year (2020-2021) was the COVID year and he did not appear in any games. The following year (2021-2022) Roundtree decided to take some time away from the game for personal reasons and withdrew from school.

Everyone’s path is different…

This summer while working he decided that he wanted to return to school and get back on the court. The problem was he hadn’t really played competitive basketball in two years. He had no film… He had no stats…

The schools that were willing to give him an opportunity were Division 2 and NAIA schools. I pressed him to consider those opportunities.

“I am a Division 1 player Del… I know I can play D1…”

I also believe he can play D1… But I also knew that I couldn’t convince a D1 coach to give a precious scholarship to kid that hadn’t played in two years. Definitely not in the portal era…

We were stuck… Then Roundtree told me he was willing to go to another JUCO to prove he was a D1 player. That opened up some options and I knew just who to call… Scott Monarch.

Scott Monarch, Head Coach Grayson JUCO

Monarch has a long history of giving kids, especially Philly kids, an opportunity to prove they can play at the collegiate level. His best player the past 2 seasons has been Tyrone Williams a 6’5″ shooting guard who played for Jason Lawson at Olney High School. Williams, a relatively unheralded player coming out of Olney has been dominant at Grayson. He averaged 27.7 points per game this season while shooting 50.9 percent from the field. 36.4 percent on threes, and he made 61.7 percent of his free throws. This year Williams had 13 games where he scored 30 or more points, including two games where he scored 41 and 40 points. Williams made a three-pointer in 22 of the 23 games played while also averaging 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. On defense, Williams also averaged 2.0 steals per game. William was named the NTJCAC All-Conference Player for the 2021-22 season.

Williams is headed to Oregon on a full basketball scholarship.

Williams’ running mate at Grayson last season was Blumberg’s Samier Kinsler. Kinsler is a 6’2″ North Philly point guard out of West Catholic. He averaged 10.3 ppg while shooting an exceptional 46.8% from behind the 3-point line. He accepted a full scholarship to West Virginia State. Another Philly kid, Aseem Lucky, played one year for Monarch before accepting a full scholarship to D1 Tarleton State where he will play for Billy Gillespie.

Sight unseen… Monarch said, “Del… If he can get eligible, I’ll give him a full scholarship and he can keep his Pell Grant ($6,000).”

“Appreciate you Scott…”

Roundtree needed to earn 4 credits to be eligible.

I made it clear to Roundtree, “Kam if you get the 4 credits, I’ll help you get to Texas and Scott will give you a scholarship. But you have to do the work and earn the credits.”

Kam would call repeatedly offering updates, “I turned in….”

“Kam… I don’t wanna hear that shit… Call me when you have the 4 credits… fuck all that other shit…”

We would repeat this dance several times a week for about a month… Each and every time I would offer the same response…

“Kam… I don’t wanna hear that shit… Call me when you have the 4 credits… fuck all that other shit…”

Then he finally called and said “I got a B.”

Now, I needed to get him a flight and get him to Texas. I leaned on folk that I know care about kids like Kam. I hit up the Philly Pride guys… Howard Hudson, Mike Scott and Amauro Austin… Without hesitation they helped round up enough to get Kam on a plane to Dallas. No Spirit… No Frontier… Out of respect for his “B” we put him on American Airlines.

He landed safely… He’s back in school… On a full scholarship… A fresh start with a clean slate…

Don’t give up… Don’t ever give up.

Everyone’s path is different.

Maryland’s Donta Scott Donates Copies of his book to Free Library of Philadelphia

Donta Scott enters his senior season at the University of Maryland with some huge goals. Since he was a little boy Scott wanted to accomplish two big things. One, he wanted to graduate from a good college… Two, he wanted to play in the NBA. Both goals are well within reach for Scott who will be the unquestioned leader of this year’s Terrapin squad under the direction of first year coach Kevin Willard. A three-year starter, Scott will be called upon to provide senior leadership and toughness for Maryland as they seek another Big 10 title and a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Scott is deeply appreciative of the opportunities that Maryland has given him. Many never expected Scott to emerge as the leader of a nationally prominent college basketball team. Diagnosed with a learning disability as a youngster, Scott struggled academically in elementary and middle school. He attributes his introduction to basketball with providing him with the structure and focus that has helped him matriculate through Imhotep Charter High School in Philadelphia and, subsequently, the University of Maryland.

More specifically, Scott met AAU coach, Howard Hudson, as a ten year-old and has never looked back. A former college football player, Hudson constantly challenged Scott to get better on and off the court. Hudson’s tough love approach has yielded great results. Last year, after constant urging from the publisher at Black Cager Press, Scott put pen to paper and told the story of his path from struggling middle school student to Big 10 basketball star. His book, WIRED DIFFERENTLY: My School Journey has been well received by educators, parents and young student-athletes.

Today, Scott donated copies of his book to Free Library of Philadelphia. Scott said, “I’ve given talks and donated books to kids at St. Frances Academy (MD), Thomas & Woods Foundation Youth Basketball Camp, Sean Colson and Tasheed Carr Basketball Skills Camp, Lewis Leonard Basketball Camp and the C.O.F.A. Bible Basketball Camp. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking I want to make the book accessible to every kid in Philly. By donating copies to the Free Library of Philadelphia, the book will be available to kids across the city for a long time.”

Christina Patton, Asst. to the President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia

While he has been busy getting his message out to young people, Scott has not neglected his own immediate academic and basketball related goals. He’s been getting stronger and has recently set some personal records in the weight room. He also helped lead the Darren McClinton All-Stars to a Championship in the highly competitive Kenner League in Washington, D.C. Focused on maintaining his conditioning and improving his outside shooting, Scott has been working out everyday with teammates as well as some of the local NBA players home for the summer.

Donta and Howard Hudson after the Kenner League Championship

As we get closer to the start of the school year, Scott has begun to focus on gaining a better understanding of what Coach Willard and his staff want from him. “I want to win another Big 10 Championship and I want to win a National Championship. I love Maryland and I want to make Maryland fans proud of our team.”

Scott understands that accomplishing those lofty goals will require that he and his running mate Hakim Hart emerge as two of the top players in the Big 10. Those two Philly kids are working diligently to do just that… They plan on being two of the best players in the conference and in the nation.