Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate on the Democratic ticket has triggered severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts among many Black men. For these men, the rise of this highly qualified, uniquely experienced and politically ambitious AKA from Howard University is a traumatic event. As evidenced by the relentless onslaught of attacks levied against the sister, the brothers are experiencing difficulty adjusting and coping with her being placed on the Democratic ticket.
As a result, these brothers will be of no use in the struggle to remove the candidate endorsed by the alt-right, neo-nazis and the KKK from the office of President of the United States.
The hope is that with time and good self-care, these brothers will get better. However, the competence, self-assurance and searing intellect Senator Harris will display over the next three months will likely make the symptoms worse. Should the Biden/Harris ticket emerge victorious, the anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts could last for months or even years. The reality of President Biden and Vice-President Harris will interfere with the day-to-day political functioning of these Black men.
In a very real sense, these Black men are politically disabled. Their disability is characterized by below-average political intelligence or political ability and a lack of skills necessary for day-to-day political engagement. These Black men have developed positive feelings towards the explicitly racist/white supremacist administration of the current President. They exhibit a persistent refusal to cooperate with progressive forces and other social movements unless they are led by racist/white supremacists tied to or endorsed by the current administration.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, politically disabled Black men believe in the humanity of the current administration because they do not perceive the current President as a threat when Black people hold the same values as the administration. It should be noted that politically disabled Black can and do learn political skills, but they learn them much more slowly than non-disabled Black men.
Hard head makes a soft ass…
Political disabilities among Black men strike their friends and family members much harder than it does the disabled Black man himself. Because of the personality difficulties and problems of adjustment of the politically disabled Black man, many friends and family members consider their lives to be miserable during election season.
However, while some friends and family members ignore politically disabled Black men, others go out of their way to help him to the extent of overprotecting him. This, on the contrary, makes politically disabled men completely unfit to learn or achieve anything.
Their friends and family members therefore should be properly trained as how to handle the politically disabled Black men. No doubt the politically disabled Black man should be given proper love and affection. But this should not amount to something like overprotection and overindulgence. The friends and family members must be sympathetic but at the same time they should be strong on certain points.
Every effort should be undertaken to redirect politically self-destructive behavior. When politically disabled Black men affirm their support for Donald Trump, friends and family members should refer to the case of Herman Cain. Cain, Black male supporter of Trump, attended his rally in Tulsa, refused to wear a mask and did not practice social distancing. Days after the rally, Cain was hospitalized with coronavirus. Within weeks, Cain was dead.
Should the Black men continue to exhibit politically disabled behaviors, friends and family members can refer them to documentation of Trump’s father’s arrest at a Ku Klux Klan rally in the 1920’s.
Evidence of his refusal to rent to qualified Black tenets and his signed agreement to not discriminate in 1975 should be cited.
The unwritten policy of removing Black employees from the floor of Trump casinos whenever he visited should also be mentioned.
Politically disabled Black men should be required to read the full page ad Trump took out calling for the “death penalty” for the Central Park 5. At the same time they should read Trump’s statement that he still believes they are guilty despite the confession of the actual rapist and DNA evidence exonerating the Central Park 5.
Politically disabled Black men must be required to review documentation of the $200,000 fine Trump paid for transferring Blacks off tables to accommodate racist gamblers.
Trump’s central role in perpetuating the false and patently racist rumor that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States should be examined closely. His persistent questioning of President Obama’s academic credentials should also be reviewed.
If, after these interventions, politically disabled Black men remain in the Trump camp, friends and family members can share the litany of racist statements made and bigoted actions and policy decisions taken since Trump has occupied 1600 Black Live Matter Blvd.
If after these all of these interventions, the politically disabled Black man still remains in support of Trump or his political minion, Kanye Kardashian and steadfast in his opposition of the Biden/Harris ticket, the friends and family members must look the man squarely in his eyes, forcefully say “fuck you… you coon ass muthafucka” and walk away never to engage him politically again.
Philly is a tough sports town… Fans want success and they want it yesterday…
It can be a very difficult place to establish a playing or coaching career. Thirty years ago, a hard-nosed, no-frills guard emerged on the basketball landscape and led Simon Gratz High School to the Public League championship with a 26-4 record.
That season, his last year playing for legendary high school coach, Bill Ellerbee,Aaron McKie averaged 18.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. Despite his incredibly well-rounded game and his accomplishments in what was then one of the premier scholastic leagues in America, McKie wasn’t highly recruited.
But he got the offer he wanted…
Even though McKie was unable to meet NCAA freshman eligibility requirements, Temple’s Hall of Fame coach, John Chaney gave him a scholarship and patiently waited for McKie’s sophomore year to put him on the court for the Owls.
As they say, the rest is history… McKie finished his three-year career tied for sixth on the Owl’s all-time scoring list with 1,650 points. Once eligible, McKie never came off the court, averaging 17.9 points per game while starting all 92 games. He teamed up with eventual NBA All-Star Eddie Jones at Temple, and was named first-team All-A10 and he was named to the A-10 all-tournament team as a senior. As a junior, he was the 1993 A10 Player of the Year, after averaging 20.6 points per game.
Fast forward 30 years… After a strong 14 year NBA playing career, McKie finds himself at the helm of the Owl program. Coming off an inaugural season that saw his squad post a subpar record of 14-17, McKie is looking to instill some of that Philly toughness he was known for as collegian.
Today, McKie accepted a commitment from his first Philadelphia player as head coach of the Owls. Hysier Miller, a rising senior for the reigning Philadelphia Catholic League Catholic League Champion Neumann-Goretti Saints has stated that he will play college basketball on North Broad Street. Miller chose the Owls over Penn, Penn State, East Carolina and Rider, among others.
The Liacouris Center is a 10 minute drive from Miller’s Wilson Park neighborhood in South Philadelphia. For the uninitiated, Wilson Park is the decidedly NON-GENTRIFIED section of South Philly. He lives a mere stone’s throw from I-76. It’s a neighborhood that has experienced far more than it’s fair share of violence and mayhem in recent years.
Miller has seen some of his friends and family members succumb to the lure of the streets. Through it all, he has managed to maintain a clear focus on his educational, vocational and athletic goals.
Upon transferring to Neumann-Goretti prior to his junior season, Miller stated that he would bring the Catholic League crown back to South Philly… Done.
As he worked his way through the recruiting process, Miller established a strong relationship with Temple Assistant coach, Chris Clark. He worked extremely hard to get this commitment done… The last Philadelphia Catholic League player to suit up for the Owls, Clark really zeroed in on Miller. The phone calls and texts were relentless. Miller was the guy Clark really wanted. Over time, their relationship grew much stronger. Miller was also impressed by the direct, no sugar coating personal interaction style of Coach McKie.
Miller has a very large extended family. His younger siblings and little cousins look to him for guidance and direction. He actually works a few of them out everyday. During these sessions, Miller is a taskmaster… “No days off” he says.
As he weighed his options, Miller knew he wanted to play for a coach he really trusted in a high profile and highly competitive league. He also wanted to be able to share his college playing career with his mother, aunts, siblings and cousins that have supported him along the way.
Temple is his choice.
The first Philly kid to commit to Head Coach Aaron McKie is the personification of Temple TUFF!
Hysier Miller will look to defend the best opposing player… He will take no plays off… He will not unnecessarily dribble between his legs and behind his back… He will make the plays at the right time… He will help Temple win basketball games…
Shit… In so many ways, he reminds a lot of a kid from ‘Norf’ Philly that arrived on Broad Street 30 years ago..
That worked out pretty good for the Owl program… So will this commitment.
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.
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.
With Nanna Njoku (Sanford/Villanova), Jordan Longino (Germantown Academy/Villanova), Rahsool Diggins (Wood/UConn), Stevie Mitchell (Wilson West Lawn/Marquette) and TaQuan Woodley (Camden/Penn State) off the board, high major college coaches searching the shelves in Philadelphia’s class of 2021 are starting to focus on Neumann-Goretti’s tough hard-nosed PG Hysier Miller.
To some, Miller’s rise to prominence may seem meteoric. In actuality, it’s been a long slow, steady grind on the independent grassroot circuits and in Philadelphia’s Public League. For years, Miller toiled in relative obscurity with some of the best youth basketball coaches/instructors/mentors in the region. JasonYoung and Harold Mackey Boswell developed a fine HS player. Sean Colson and Carl Arrigale have produced a high major “Philly” guard.
I first met Hysier when he was about 3 years old. His older brother, Mark, was one of my favorite participants in a youth program and we became very good friends. While there was about 30 years separating us, we shared a love for the game of basketball. Mark, like thousands of young Black boys in Philadelphia, was struggling behaviorally in school. My initial goal was to help Mark comply with school rules and expectations.
Once I became aware of his love for hoops, I used the game to help Mark learn to navigate educational and professional settings in a socially acceptable manner. We attended scores of college basketball games. Temple, St. Joseph’s, La Salle and especially Drexel. Mark became a huge Dragon fan. Then Dragon Head Coach Bruiser Flint and Assistant Coach Geoffrey Arnold took a liking to Mark. Mark had complete run of the program. He attended Bruiser’s summer camps. He befriended Samme Givens, Frank Elgar, Chaz Crawford and his favorite player Bobby Jordan.
Never, not one time, did Mark exhibit behaviors that would raise an eyebrow or be a cause for concern while he was in a college basketball setting. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t keep him on campus 24 hours a day. When Mark was in his neighborhood proximate to the Wilson Park public housing development, he assumed another identity.
As the young people say, Mark was about that life… Eventually, he would have run-ins with law enforcement. No longer enrolled in the program, Mark remained my friend. We ran the gamut… Juvenile court hearings, probation, Youth Study Center, Glen Mills… I have stood by Mark as he worked his way through the juvenile and subsequently adult justice system.
I love Mark, he’s like my little brother.
His late grandmother, mother, aunts and adult sisters all accepted me as part of the family. They are “my people.”
All this time, Mark would tell me about his lil’ brother Hysier “Fabb” Miller and how good he was in basketball. I knew Hysier as the kid too young to tag along when Mark and I would go to games. Nonetheless, I really liked Hysier. He was always unfailingly polite, respectful humble. Just a very nice boy.
Once he got to middle school, his mother Juanita would always say, “Mr. Wilson you gotta go see Fabb play, he’s my basketball star.” I hear this so often, I really didn’t take her seriously initially. I was, however, very happy to know that he was involved with organized youth basketball.
Engagement in organized basketball activities almost always leads to positive school outcomes like fewer suspensions and increased graduation rates. If we had been able to get Mark involved in youth basketball, I truly believe his path would have been much different.
Juanita also raved about his coach, Mackey. I didn’t know Mackey at the time, but the respect and appreciation Juanita had for Mackey spoke volumes. He would take care of Hysier for days at a time as they traveled up and down the east coast playing in tournaments. While I didn’t see Hysier play in middle school, I did begin to ask him about his game. He was always focused. He worked relentlessly… He would work out everyday on his own. Hysier was a true Philly “hoop head” in the making. I respected his grind.
As he neared completion of the 8th grade, he told me that he was going to attend Martin L. King HS. I was elated… One thing for sure, if Fabb had any real basketball talent, King Head Coach, Sean Colson would develop it, polish it, refine it and give the city a true college ready Philly guard. I’ve seen him do it over and over again.
With Hysier coming from Wilson Park in South Philly all the way to Stenton Avenue, in Germantown, every day, I was a little worried. That’s a very long commute for a 15-16 year old. But Hysier really appreciated the attention from Colson and he wanted to get better. It worked… Over the next two years, Colson molded Hysier into one of the best guards in Philadelphia.
The texts would inevitably come before “BIG” games… “Mr. Wilson, can you come to my game tommorrow?”
I made it out to a few games and I could see the potential to play at the D1 level. He was competing relentlessly… He was one of the better defensive guards in the city as a freshman. Offensively, Hysier more than held his own every time he stepped on the court. As a sophomore, he was the unquestioned leader of the Martin L. King squad.
However, the notoriety wasn’t there. No one really noticed.
Hysier decided he wanted to play on the biggest scholastic stage in the region. He transferred to Neumann-Goretti to play his last two seasons in Philadelphia Catholic League.
Soon as we talked about the transfer, Hysier told me he was gonna get to the Palestra and win the Catholic League Championship.
Straight up… First thing out of his mouth…
At the start of his junior campaign, Hysier had ZERO (0) scholarship offers. I felt he was as good or better than kids in his class with 10 or more offers. I told him I would make sure he had offers commensurate with his playing ability by the end of the season.
In October, I take Hysier and his Aunt Linda to visit Head Coach Zack Spiker and Drexel University. Now all along, Mark is calling me 2-3 times a week from prison and I’m keeping him updated on Hysier’s progress. He wants to know how he’s playing, does he have any scholarship offers, can they win the Catholic League.
I let Mark know I’m taking Hysier to visit his favorite program. Mark’s excited. He still likes Drexel. It was a very nice visit. Spiker is a very affable and personable man. He makes Hysier and his Aunt feel at ease. Drexel has updated the facilities, the locker room is very nice and the gym has been modernized. The apartments are top notch. I could tell Hysier liked University City. It’s a vibrant and diverse learning community within walking distance of Center City.
As we walked back to the car to head out, Hysier asked “Did he offer me?”
“Naaaah… you will know when a coach offers you.”
I call Coach Spiker and tell him that Hysier liked the visit and was looking for an offer… Coach Spiker said, “we want to continue evaluating him while he plays for Neumann-Goretti in the Catholic League.”
“Coach… Once he starts playing the fields gonna be pretty crowded.”
Couple of weeks later, Hysier and wake up early and drive to visit Mark’s favorite college player Bobby Jordan who’s an assistant at Wagner College. We watch practice and tour the campus, Head Coach Bashir Mason and Jordan are wonderful hosts. As the visit winds down, Mason tells Hysier, “I want to come see you play at Neumann-Goretti before I offer a scholarship.”
“Coach… Once he starts playing the fields gonna be pretty crowded.”
December rolls around and they start playing basketball games. First up, Westtown and Jalen Warley ranked #36 in nation by ESPN and #21 by Rivals. In his debut with Neumann-Goretti, Hysier steals the ball from Warley 3 times in open court while leading his team to a convincing wire to wire 64-59 victory over the much bigger Westtown squad.
Another one of Mark’s friends, Rider Assistant, Geoff Arnold watched the Westtown game. Impressed with Hysier, Arnold said he will bring the other Rider coaches to watch Hysier. They subsequently watch Hysier go against the highly regarded Lynn Greer III and Roman Catholic. Hysier is matched up with Greer and he does well as Neumann-Goretti wins 77-69 in double overtime.
Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett has seen enough… He offers Hysier a full basketball scholarship.
Next up is Archbishop Wood led by Rashool Diggins ranked #69 by ESPN and #41 by Rivals. Miller scores 24 points and leads Neumann-Goretti to a 66-55 win over Wood. Diggins managed a hard-fought 14 points.
Wagner Head Coach Bashir Mason is in attendance at that game. Literally, within 3 minutes of the first quarter, he says “I’m offering him a scholarship.”
Things start to pick up for Miller, Hofstra offers him a scholarship. Eventually, Drexel extends an offer.
Just like he said he would, Miller helps lead Neumann-Goretti to the Catholic League Championship as they defeat Lynn Greer III, Jalen Duren and Justice Williams for the second time with everything on the line.
Talking to Mark several times a week, I let him know we are just beginning. With the state playoffs and the April “Live Period” I expected Hysier to pick up no fewer than 8-10 high major offers over the spring.
Then coronavirus struck…
Everything was shut down… No playoffs… No live period… No opportunity for Hysier to demonstrate his progress for coaches.
Fortunately, earlier in the year I had told my friend Michael Starling from Raw Sports that I expected Hysier to be the breakout star in in the Catholic League this year. Always looking to highlight deserving players, Michael made sure to focus his lens on Hysier during several of the biggest games of the year. Also, Charles Jones from BornLeader Sports decided to break down his game films and compile an outstanding highlight video for Hysier.
Armed with links to these videos, I pushed Hysier hard. First up Pat Chambers and Keith Urgo at Penn State. Knowing how much the Nittany Lions appreciate Philly toughness, I sent those guys the links. They contacted Hysier immediately after viewing the videos. Within 2 days, Chambers offers Hysier a Big 10 Basketball scholarship.
I also had conversations with VCU, Seton Hall and SMU. Everyone was interested, but they were all very deep in the recruitment process with other guards and reluctant to offer players they could not watch live.
Coronavirus was fucking up the process…
I continued to lean on my friends… I pressed Ashley Howard… But he had a freshman starter and was locking down the magnificent 2020 PG Jhamir Brickus from Coatesville HS. I figured Chris Clark at Temple would listen. Chris was a Catholic League product and I know he would see how much Hysier’s no-nonsense approach to the game mirrored that of his boss, Templ great, Aaron Mckie.
Chris immediately got it… But the Owls were also in deep with other PG prospects. Chris would not let up, he maintained contact with Hysier and the Neumann-Goretti coaches. Forced to recruit through ZOOM conference calls, McKie and the rest of the Temple staff got to know Hysier.
Eventually, in early July, Coach McKie extended an offer.
Last week, Joe Dooley, the head coach at East Carolina reached out. Joe and I go waaaay back to when he successfully recruited the Morris twins out of Prep Charter while he was an Assistant at Kansas.
Dooley said, “I need some toughness… I need kids that aren’t gonna back down.”
I sent him the Raw Sports and Born Leader Sports videos and he offered Hysier a scholarship within a few minutes of viewing them.
St. Joseph’s, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and VCU have expressed interest.
However, it’s almost August, there will be no live periods… there will be no NCAA camps… there will be no NBA top 100 camps…
It looks like Division 1 coaches will be tethered to their respective campuses throughout the fall.
I am encouraging young boys and girls with real offers on the table to weigh their options and take one of those offers. Division 1 scholarships are valued anywhere from $200,000 to $320,000.
My man Mark should be home this fall, just in time for the Catholic League Basketball season.
All things considered, North Broad Street seems like it makes a lot of sense. Hysier’s rather large and boisterous extended family can attend every game. Temple pays a cost of attendance stipend. They have state of the art facilities, including luxury apartments for student-athletes. The academic support is first rate. And, most importantly, I trust Aaron McKie and Chris Clark with the social, emotional and basketball development of a young man I love.
In the midst of one of the wildest years in recent memory, some shit just makes sense… We’ll see if Hysier agrees…
This is a unique era… Since March, college athletic departments have been effectively shut down… The NCAA has halted ALL face to face recruiting for Division 1 college basketball coaches… Since March, D1 Basketball recruiting, both men’s and women’s, has been in a dead period…
Shit is at a complete standstill…
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. A “dead” period is a time when coaches cannot have any contact other than phone contact with players they are recruiting. Coaches can’t scout, visit players’ homes, bring recruits in for visits, talk to them in-person. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
We are approaching the 6th month of the current extended dead period. It’s seems likely that the dead period will be extended through the fall.
This begs the question: What should class of 2021 boys and girls with D1 scholarship offers do? How should they proceed?
If kids have scholarship offers that are real, meaning the head coach would accept a commitment, the kid should carefully weigh his options and accept one of the scholarship offers sooner rather than later. Bear in mind, college coaches are constantly engaged in the roster management process. While they may have offered kid A a scholarship, most likely they have made similar offers to kid B, kid C and kid D. Even if kid A is the preferred target, the coach has an obligation to his staff and his team to effectively administer the roster management process.
If the team needs a point guard and kid A is the primary preferred target, but kid B is acceptable and ready to commit, the coach will likely take the commitment from kid B rather than risk not landing an acceptable point guard prospect.
In such a scenario, the options for kid A will be reduced over time as kid B, kid C and kid D accept scholarships. If kid A knows where he wants to go to school and they have offered him a scholarship, he should accept it.
Sometimes, people advising kids want to keep the process open to help other kids in an AAU or HS program. The thought is that having college coaches coming out to see the star player will help increase the visibility for lesser known players in the program. In many instances, that is true…
Not today though… The coaches ain’t coming out…
The advisers may also argue that other “higher profile” programs will eventually offer and the kid shouldn’t take the offers on the table.
Maybe… maybe not… It’s truly a crap shoot this year…
We are operating in truly unforeseen circumstances. Ordinarily, college coaches would have had an opportunity to evaluate kid A in April, June and July during AAU/Grassroots live periods, NCAA camps and HS live periods. Those evaluation opportunities were nonexistent this year. In normal times, college coaches would be able to visit high schools in September and October and evaluate kids in “open gym” settings. It does not appear that D1 coaches will be allowed to do so this year.
The dead period is likely to continue through the fall… It is what it is…
So… If kids have real offers, they have to be creative and find ways to gather the information necessary to make a decision. While they cannot take official or unofficial visits to campuses and engage athletic department staff, they can visit the city and tour the campus on their own. If they really want to see what the campus looks like, get on a plane or gas up the car and go check it out on your own. Ask people questions while you are there. Do what you can do without assistance or contact from the basketball staff.
It’s a big decision… Treat it as such…
Do NOT wait for permission from the NCAA to take official or unofficial visits… It’s probably not coming…
Again… If kids have scholarship offers that are real, meaning the head coach would accept a commitment, the kid should carefully weigh his options and accept one of the scholarship offers sooner rather than later.
Don’t let kid B, kid C or kid D take the scholarship you really want…
Bloomfield College, as it has been known since 1961, has been serving it’s community with responsiveness and proactive compassion since its beginnings in 1868 as a German Theological Seminary. It is appropriate and inspiring that the private liberal arts school is led by “spiritual” and passionate leaders who are committed to helping their students find their professional and personal purpose.
“God orders your steps,” intimates Sheila Wooten, the school’s athletic director of 18 years and de facto mother figure, who has been a fixture at Bloomfield since her Hall of Fame basketball career there in the 1980s. She embodies the commitment that she hopes to “grow” in the student body she serves. “Service” is a mantra repeatedly espoused by both Wooten and Gerald Holmes, her assistant Athletic Director and Head Men’s basketball coach, a post he’s held for 19 years.
“One thing my father always told me was do something you love and give back”, says Holmes, a 4-time Coach of the Year during his tenure at the school of 1700 students, which evolved into a predominantly black (PBI) and Hispanic Serving (HSI) institution in the mid-1990s. The commitment to an underserved sector of the education industry was necessitated after ancillary campus policy changes facilitated a shift in student demographics. “We started to get more applications from Essex County so we began to look to better serve those communities,” says Wooten, who shared that during her days as a BC Bear the school was only about 35% African-American. “I enjoyed my experience here (as a student) which is why I came back,” she added saying that even though the majority of the students were white, “we all worked together.”
So why consider Bloomfield College? The answer is a simple one: The People. Holmes, who came from a family of “learned” professionals, and Wooten, one of six siblings from a depressed section of Atlantic City, bring different perspectives but the same passion to “give back” even though neither had early plans to gain their current positions. “This was not my journey” says Wooten, echoing the sentiments of her “brother” who also shared that he entered coaching on a lark after seeing someone he knew garner a high school coaching position.
Holmes, a scrappy 5-7 PG at NJIT (D3) in the mid-80s, said his love of the game didn’t lead him into coaching until 6 years after his playing eligibility expired. Wooten said a chance encounter and some coaxing from a former mentor, Al Restaino, led her to her current perch atop the athletic department where she is one of 5 female ADs and the only African American in the CACC. Both share a love of the college, sports and helping student-athletes reach their goals on and off the field or court.
In addition, Wooten and Holmes lauded Dr. Marcheta Evans, the new President of the school for her continuing and enhancing the commitment of creating a familial environment in the athletic department and school in general. She is the 17th president of the college and first African American female. “I was attracted not only to Bloomfield College’s mission; its designation as a minority-serving institution (PBI and HSI) committed to providing access to an affordable education; the quality of our distinctive, nationally-ranked curriculum offerings; but also to the importance placed on inclusive excellence and preparing our community to be multiculturally-competent citizens,” is part of her perspective she shares in her letter to the school community on the Bloomfield College website.
Athletically and socially, BC offers 14 sports and a wide range of other extra-curricular activities that cater to their specific demographic groups. One example is the “Male Empowerment Club” which welcomes men from all nationalities and ethnic groups but is geared to address concerns of African American males in particular. “We see the unique problems they face and want to help them”, says Wooten.
In men’s basketball, Holmes’ program offers a solid culture, a great atmosphere and winning tradition to “tough, hardworking” players looking to maximize their abilities. Did I mention that they win? A lot. Competing in the CACC the Bears boast an impressive 322-192 record with 11 regular season first place finishes, 7 league titles and 8 NCAA tournament appearances. This team success has translated well into individual accolades for players in the program which has produced six (6) CACC players of the year under Holmes.
Academically the school offers “personalized education with small class sizes that allow faculty to provide detailed assistance and instruction to meet the needs of students. Also, part of the school’s aspirations can be seen in its commitment to making higher education affordable for their students. “Bloomfield College is the first institution in New Jersey to eliminate its comprehensive and course fees” to maintain one of the lowest tuition rates for a private college in the state.
The practical benefit of attending the school is the “Bloomfield Bounce”. According to its website the students are often propelled several rungs up the socio-economic ladder from where they are upon entering the school. This adds pragmatic substance to the pursuit of the institution’s mission statement.
Holmes says although the school’s lack of top tier facilities and awareness of the quality of instruction and academic rigor can present some challenges in recruiting, his focused approach to recruiting and the large amount of talent in New Jersey make getting the right players for his program easier. He demands “mental toughness” from players and believes in an honest approach to recruiting and coaching relieves much of the frustration that small college coaches often experience.
Holmes counts a few influences on his approach as a coach and a prominent one is former Temple great, John Chaney, whose fiery temperament seems in contrast to Holmes’ calm but stern off court demeanor. He is a molder of men who uses the tools of honesty, consistency and accountability to shape his players into contributing community members. In his own way he furthers Bloomfield’s aim to, in the words of Dr. Evans, “recruit, retain, and graduate students to be ‘workforce-ready’ as well as civically-engaged, global individuals.”
The U.S. Constitution was written as a tribal document. Indeed, based upon a careful reading of the document in 1857, the United States Supreme Court in a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roger B Taney, ruled that no African-American, free or enslaved, had ever enjoyed the rights of a citizen under the Constitution. Taney argued that, since the time of the ratification of the Constitution, blacks had been “regarded as beings of an inferior order, altogether unfit to associate with the white race … and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
The Constitution was designed to protect the rights and interests of the white American tribe. Those arguing otherwise have absolutely no respect for the intellect of non-whites.
It took a civil war and the deaths of 750,000 Americans to (temporarily) establish that Black Americans warranted protection under its Bill of Rights. That protection lasted a brief period spanning twelve years from 1865 to 1877. The white tribe rigidly implemented and enforced a white supremacist Apartheid/Jim Crow social order from 1877 to the mid 1960’s. The struggle to have the rights and interests of Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and other people of color fully recognized and protected continues today.
But focusing on the Constitution’s shortcomings and flaws can result in an under appreciation and overshadow what it actually accomplished. Its core mission was to forge, out of a diverse population, a new national identity, uniting Americans of European descent into a white America tribe. To a remarkable extent, it succeeded.
Throughout the colonial and revolutionary eras, Americans were a multiracial, multi-ethnic conglomeration… A diverse mix of English, Dutch, Scots, Irish, French, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Greeks, enslaved Africans and terrorized Native Americans.
The Founding Fathers deftly united the people of varying European backgrounds into a white American tribe. The Constitution was a key tool deployed to overcome profound divisions among people of European descent. The Founders guaranteed members of the white tribe religious freedom. The Constitution also declared that the United States would have no national church and no religious tests for national office. These foundational guarantees helped America avoid the religious wars that for centuries had torn apart the nations of Europe.
The Founders also utilized the idea of white supremacy to establish the “others” once they granted American citizenship status to members of the white American tribe. The Black tribe was relegated to “chattel” status. The Native American tribe was deemed “savage” and marked for removal or eradication.
Tribalism lies at the heart of the American experiment.
Today, we are witnessing tribal allegiances return once again to the foreground. The white tribe is alarmed. The United States is experiencing rapid demographic shifts that are resulting in the inevitable tanning of America. The nation is well on its way to becoming a predominantly Black and Brown country.
Formed explicitly to further white American tribal interests, these shifts are resulting in considerable angst and tension for all Americans. The angst is observable in many aspects of contemporary American life, including sports. Riley Cooper, Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James, Drew Brees, Kylin Hill, Pat Chambers, DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson and Bubba Wallace are just a few prominent sports figures that have found themselves at the center of racial tempests in recent years.
It makes sense that racial strife permeating American life in general is spilling over onto the playing fields and courts as well as into the locker rooms. Sports have played a pivotal role in American communities since the dawn of the 20th century. Today, athletic contests pushing physical limits are more popular than ever before. Sports is a booming industry at the youth, high school, college and professional levels.
As long as local governments, schools, universities and major corporations continue to see sporting events as sound investments, sports will play a vital role in society for the foreseeable future. This means sports will continue to provides one of the most visible platforms for racial wrangling.
At no other time in American history have sports played such a dominant role in daily life. Their absence due to the coronavirus pandemic only serves to heighten their importance. While we have had no games, yet we have had plenty of tribal warfare taking place in the world of sports.
The white tribe, for the most part, until the George Floyd murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police remained steadfast in their opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protesting of police brutality and murder during the national anthem. It should be noted that there were some whites that defected and supported Kaeperneck prior to Floyd’s life being extinguished on camera. Indeed, Nike launched a massively successful marketing campaign focused on Kaeperneck’s peaceful protest campaign. However, the tribe’s resistance front remained strong.
The unquestioned leader of the white tribe, President Donald Trump, loudly and relentlessly beat the racial drums on this issue. He engaged in a sustained attack on NFL players who kneeled in protest of the national anthem. Trump’s line of attack reached a crescendo in September 2017 when he openly challenged NFL owners to release anyone who engages in the movement started last year by Kaepernick.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a campaign rally for an Alabama candidate for the U.S. senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
The white American tribe loved Trump’s antics.
Adequately describing social developments prevailing in contemporary America requires a word as primal as “tribe” to place adequate focus on the mindless allegiances and deeply held partisan affiliations. Tribes have formed everywhere. In many ways they are similar to gangs, sans the violence. Like gangs, tribes demand loyalty, and in return they confer the security of belonging to insecure people longing to belong. They’re badges of identity, not of thought. Indeed, they are hostile to intellectual pursuits and sophisticated analyses. Tribes make thinking unnecessary, because they do it for you. This point is important… Tribes will attempt to punish you if you try to think for yourself. According to their imbecilic logic, to get along without a tribe makes you a fool. Moreover, to give an inch to the other tribe makes you a sucker.
This conceptualization is applicable to hard-core Trump supporters. Their blind allegiance to the president is unlike anything in recent history. Those red baseball caps give them a sense of belonging to the white nationalist tribe. These people not only reject intellectual pursuits, they frequently abandon science altogether. Those that accept science-based Center for Disease Control guidance are considered suckers.
Fuck a mask… Fuck social distancing… Fuck your health… The white tribe is “giving up its freedoms.”
The Black tribe is similarly engaged in reflexive and regressive behaviors. Recent revelations that Penn State Head Basketball coach Pat Chambers used the word “noose’ while talking to then freshman point guard Rasir Bolton has riled up the Black tribe. Eighteen months ago, on the heels of a poor performance against Wisconsin, Chambers said, “I want to be a stress reliever for you. You can talk to me about anything. I need to get some of this pressure off you.
“I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”
With these words, unknowingly Chambers initiated a tribal skirmish that wouldn’t see a retaliatory strike for 18 months. But when it came, it came hard and heavy.
With Chambers at the helm, Penn State has made deep inroads into the Philadelphia basketball community. He’s recruited several prominent players from Philadelphia’s Public and Catholic Leagues. DJ Newbill, Shep Garner, Lamar Stevens, Seth Lundy, Izaiah Brockington and Mike Watkins are a few of the more prominent Philly kids that have donned the Nittany Lion uniform. Philadelphia has been good to Chambers and Penn State.
So when it was revealed that he uttered the word “noose” to a Black player, the Black tribe within that community was triggered. Members of this tribe quickly gathered around the fire (social media) and declared their commitment to seeing Chambers terminated. The speed with which partisan lines were drawn was spectacular. Like a gang, the Black Philadelphia basketball tribe demands undying loyalty, and in return they confer the security of belonging to the larger group.
The significance of the sense of belonging cannot be overstated. These are a group of frustrated middle-aged men that could not play in high school and college… They do not coach… They wield zero influence beyond the tribe itself… Basically, it’s a bunch of bitter irrelevant “never was” dudes that were MAYBE honorable mention all-milkcrate. With the Black basketball tribe and the advent of social media, they have created a basketball home for themselves. They have created a self-contained place where their thoughts, opinions and arguments related to basketball matter.
Membership in this tribe is a badge of identity, not of thought. For the most part, they reject anything but the most simplistic instinctual responses. “Chambers is a racist, Penn State must fire him immediately.” Individual tribal members do not have to think, because tribe thinks for them. In the case of Chambers, there’s no need to examine his actual track record with his Black players. There’s no need to even talk to the Black players from Philadelphia.
The Tribe demonstrated that they will attempt to disparage and punish anyone with a propensity to think for themselves. For them, to spend ven a moment assessing the actual situation as it has existed within the Penn State basketball program over the past decade makes you a fool. Moreover, to condemn Chambers actions, to call for suspension, suggest cultural competency training and NOT demand that he be dismissed makes you an Uncle Tom.
This strain of behavior is spreading almost as fast as the coronavirus…
Then less than 24 hours after the Chambers headlines grabbed the nation’s attention, the Jewish tribe gathered around the fire (social media). Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson ignited controversy by sharing anti-Semitic comments on social media this week.
Jackson posted a quote on his Instagram Story on Monday which was attributed to Adolf Hitler, stating in part “the Jews will blackmail America, they will extort America, their plan for World Domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.” The Jewish tribal response was predictable and swift…
Notably, former Eagles president Joe Banner, who is Jewish, forcefully declared, “If a white player said anything about (Black people) as outrageous as what DeSean Jackson said about Jews tonight there would at least be a serious conversation about cutting him and a need for a team meeting to discuss… Which would be totally appropriate. Absolutely indefensible.”
Here we go again…
Tribes, as I have noted, eschew sophisticated analyses. Banner demonstrated the reflexive and instinctual nature of the tribal response. Tribes don’t think things through. They just want casualties… They are interested in the body count… Careful consideration of Banner’s reaction validates this assertion.
There’s an obvious and appropriate Eagles case study that serves as a useful comparison for the Jackson incident. It’s worth a quick review… During a Kenny Chesney country music concert in June 2013, Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on video calling Black people “niggers.”
Despite Banners claim to the contrary, the Eagles did not cut Cooper after he called Black people niggers. One could argue they actually embraced him. Exactly, what were the consequences applied in the Cooper case?
In August 2013, the Eagles announced that, “Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities. This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates.”
Then on February 27, 2014, the Eagles announced that they signed Cooper to a new contract. According to reports, the terms of the deal include $25 million over 5 years.
So… What the fuck is Joe Banner talking about?
Banner is bright man that has manned the helm for two NFL franchises. He most certainly was very much aware of the Riley Cooper “nigger” episode. Yet, he made the patently false claim that if a white player said anything about Black people as outrageous as what Jackson said the team would consider cutting him.
That’s simply not true. The team in question, the Philadelphia Eagles, not only didn’t cut Riley. They signed him to a next 5 year $25 million dollar deal just months after he called Black people niggers on a video that went viral.
It’s tribalism that prevents Banner from making the obvious comparison and conducting a sober analysis. He feels, perhaps rightly so, that his tribe is under attack. His response, nonetheless, does nothing to move the dialogue forward in a constructive manner.
How do we begin to limit the impact of tribalism? From whence does it come?
The causes of America’s resurgent tribalism are many. One obvious explanatory factor is seismic demographic shift underway. Whites have ruled this continent since the colonial era. They have enslaved, subjugated and oppressed people of color for centuries. They are well aware that they will lose their majority status within a few decades. On some level, whites have to wonder if people of color will do unto white as whites have done unto them. Tribalism is spreading like penicillin in a petri dish under these conditions.
Another factor is perceived declining social mobility and a growing class divide. Over 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment is recent months. People are scared. Rent and mortgages are due and they don;t have jobs. The global pandemic is only intensifying despite the quixotic proclamations of President Trump. This seems to be contributing to widespread retreat into tribes.
Finally, social media has evolved in a manner that rewards expressions of outrage. Any dunderhead with a cell phone can “go live” and rally up a tribe predisposed to feeling under attack and pitted against another tribes. Tribal idiots have stages and platforms to spread ill-formed ideas and half-baked arguments among other frustrated tribal members.
Unfortunately, the past three years have witnessed further entrenchment of tribalism. Hence, social interactions, even in the world of sports, are devolving into mindless zero-sum competitions, one in which tribes measures success by the extent to which they can stroke their member fears and appealing to their ugliest us-versus-them instincts.
Count me out… I refuse to stop thinking for myself…
Penn State Men’s Basketball Coach Pat Chambers finds himself is a huge racial hole of his own making. The timing could not be worse. This is, by far, the worst possible time for a rich middle-aged white man, especially one in a position of power, to be accused of racist behavior in the fifty-five years I have been alive… By far…
So how did we end up here?
Eighteen months ago, in January 2019, Chambers told then freshman starting point guard Rasir Bolton, “I want to be a stress reliever for you. You can talk to me about anything. I need to get some of this pressure off you…
“I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”
There it is… the big ass RACIAL elephant in the room. Chambers with that sentence created a devastating imagery that harkens back to the darkest days in this nation’s long and violent struggle with racism/white supremacy.
A middle-aged white man, working under a multi-million dollar contract at one of the most highly regarded public research Universities in the nation, said “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck” to a young 19 year old Black man under his direct supervision. It’s an inexcusable comment… There is no other way to assess it.
That’s really, really fucked up… Unbeknownst to him, Chambers built a huge problem for himself right as the word “noose” passed through his mouth… A year and a half later, the bill has come due.
There are no ifs, ands or buts needed… It was a very bad and very bigoted moment… I have made this clear to Pat Chambers.
Moreover, it truly does not matter if Chambers intended it in a bigoted manner. It’s a bigoted statement. The word “noose” has a very specific connotation in the Black American community. The threat of the noose has been used to rigidly enforce an Apartheid/Jim Crow racist/white supremacist social order throughout American history. After slavery was abolished, lynching with “nooses” emerged as a horrific weapon used to reinforce white supremacy and suppress Black civil rights. At least, 4,000 Blacks were lynched with nooses between 1877 and 1950. There have been countless incidents of people using nooses to intimidate or terrorize Blacks in the ensuing years.
Pat Chambers knows this. Or, he should have known this was a totally unacceptable manner in which to speak to a young Black man in his basketball program.
Chambers, in a recent interview published on ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com, stated, “I didn’t realize that word would hurt him, and I am truly, truly sorry for that.”
There can be no doubt that Chambers should have realized that word would hurt any young Black man in his program. Saying he didn’t know it would hurt weakened the apology considerably.
Adding insult to injury, Bolton also alleges that Chambers later told him he was impressed with how “organized” and “well-spoken” his parents were.
Well… Damn… Now the RACIAL Hippo just joined the elephant in the living room.
From the moment Black people stopped working for free in the United States of America, a derogatory stereotypical narrative emerged: Blacks are disorganized, inarticulate and lazy. I have been praised countless times for my writing and being articulate, each and every time it feels like a paper cut.
Da fuck you talkin’ bout?
I attended some of the best schools in this country… Why can’t you assume that I am organized and well-spoken? It’s another inappropriate and bigoted comment.
The score is now 0-2 and Chambers is down in the late innings.
Figuratively speaking, he has RACIAL shit on the soles of both shoes. We now know that Bolton left the program and had a fine year at Iowa State after he was granted a waiver to play right away without sitting out a year. Chambers and Penn State also experienced a successful season. The divorce seemed to have worked out for both parties.
Then everything changed… The world seems to have finally come to the realization that racism/white supremacy is horrible and very much present in all aspects of American social life. After the murder of George Floyd, everyone has a heightened sensitivity to the stench of the 18 month old racial shit on Chambers shoes. College student-athletes have become activists and now lead racial reform movements. A football student-athlete at Oklahoma State called his Head Coach into question for supporting a network with a history of racist programming. Another football student-athlete sparked a movement that led to the removal of the slaveholder racist/white supremacist Mississippi state flag after it proudly flew for more than 126 years.
I wholeheartedly supported these movements. I stand with these kids. I applaud their bravery and willingness to confront racism/white supremacy. I think Bolton and his parents did the right thing when they formally complained to the Penn State administration last year. That’s what they should have done.
Obvious questions emerge: What was the appropriate consequence for Chambers’ actions 18 months ago? Did Penn State impose such consequences? Now, that the story has become public, what consequences, if any, should be taken today for Chambers actions 18 months ago?
Should he be fired? Should he be suspended?
Living and working in the Philadelphia region, reaction has been swift and, for the most part, very harsh.
As coach of the Nittany Lions, Chambers has had an incredible amount of success recruiting the Philadelphia region. Devonte “DJay” Newbill (Strawberry Mansion), Shep Garner (Roman Catholic), Tony Carr (Roman Catholic), Lamar Stevens (Roman Catholic), Nazeer Bostic (Roman Catholic), John Harrar (Strath Haven), Izaiah Brockington (Archbishop Ryan) and Seth Lundy (Roman Catholic) are some of the area players Chambers has recruited to play in Happy Valley.
Given the intense racial climate of today, it should come as no surprise that some observers are calling for his immediate dismissal. Time is up for racism/white supremacy…
For many Blacks, especially those unfamiliar with his racial track record, Chambers’ words uttered 18 months ago in the practice gym should cost him his job and perhaps his career. For them, the mere fact that the word “noose” crossed his lips is evidence of a previously unseen and deep seated racism/white supremacy permeating his true character.
As noted earlier… I agree that Chambers FUCKED UP! But does his behavior warrant a career death penalty? I don’t think so…
So… What should have happened?
There can be no denying that he should have been disciplined. The transgression should have been formally documented in his personnel file. An unpaid suspension of some sort would have been appropriate… Additionally, Chambers should have been required to attend a recognized cultural competency training… In short, Chambers should have definitely been subjected to serious and logical consequences for his behavior.
It should have been noted that further transgressions of this sort could lead to termination.
Penn State, apparently, chose not to impose such consequences. In this regard, the Penn State athletic director, Sandy Barbour, fumbled.
Now, because these incidents did not reach the general public 18 months ago, there was no widespread media coverage at the time. For better or worse, they have come to the fore right now, the absolute worst time… ever.
Eighteen months after Chambers said he wanted to “loosen the noose”, we have cops lynching unarmed Black men in the street. We have several young Black men dangling from trees with ropes around their necks in recent weeks. We have had a garage door pull fashioned into a noose in the garage of the only Black driver on the Nascar circuit. We have Confederate statues being toppled like dominos across the country. We have “Black Lives Matters” riots and protests in virtually every city and town in America and many others in nations spanning the globe.
The flames of racial anger are raging like California wildfires. Rasir Bolton came along and dropped an 18 month old kerosene soaked ” We Are” rag into that fire.
Again… Pat Chambers FUCKED UP.
With his carefully crafted reputation and, perhaps, his career hanging in the balance, I am sure he knows he FUCKED UP.
Here’s why I am sure Chambers grasps the seriousness of his situation…
Because he know what FUCKING UP looks like… So do I… On many occasions over the past decade, young men playing for Pat Chambers have also FUCKED UP. It’s what young college age men do…
It’s what I did when I was in college. I FUCKED UP… I smoked marijuana every day while I was in college. EVERY SINGLE DAY… I got in trouble for it… I was placed on something called “social probation” and my mother was notified about my fuck ups. I was arrested while in college. I was caught “running a speakeasy” while in college. My friends “hustled” relentlessly, while we were in college… I invested in their entrepreneurial efforts. I had several “incidents” in the girls dormitory while in college. I thank God, the adults at Lincoln University didn’t throw me away. I truly appreciate the patience, love and understanding they displayed every single time I FUCKED UP! Upon leaving Lincoln, I came to truly understand and appreciate the importance of grace.
Upon graduating from Lincoln, I had full fellowship, with substantial stipend, offers from Delaware, Michigan, Ohio State and California-Davis. At any one of 20 or more points during my time at Lincoln, I could have been kicked out of school. However, the adults believed in me and believed in my potential to do better. It’s a lesson that I’ve never forgotten.
Two weeks after graduating Lincoln, I was on a plane headed to the University of Michigan where I was paid to pursue graduate studies. After that, the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland paid me to do the same. I eventually taught at Maryland and Lincoln.
All of that after I FUCKED UP damn near every day in undergraduate school at Lincoln University.
Over the past ten years, I’ve watched Philly kids go out to State College and guess what… from time to time, they would FUCK UP. Sometimes they would get caught smoking weed… On occasion, they would be arrested… They would get into fights… They would have incidents with young women on campus. On each and every occasion, Pat Chambers handed out a measured and logical consequences for the behaviors. Never… not once, did he throw the young men away. Each and every time he notified all of the adults involved with the young man and came up with a plan to address the negative behaviors, while NOT throwing the young men away.
Some of the incidents were serious. He’s dealt with complex mental health issues. On multiple occasions, Chambers was urged by many commentators to dismiss the young men from the program. Never… Not once did he go down that road. Today, these young men are productive, contributing members of society and more importantly, they are Penn State graduates.
All this despite the fact that they FUCKED UP on campus more than a time or two…
So today, the tables are turned… This time Chambers FUCKED UP. There are some calling for his dismissal, there is a loud crowd gathering on the courthouse steps… They want the Penn State administration to remove Chambers from his position as Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball program. I get that… I understand those yearning to see his head roll… So far, the administration hasn’t given any indication that they are preparing to throw him to the angry mob. Hopefully, Chambers’ behaviors will treated as he has treated others. Of course, Penn State must address his bigoted comment, but they shouldn’t throw away the man.
If so, he will be held accountable for his actions. He will learn from his FUCK UP. And, most importantly the Penn State community will be better off as a result.
Besides, I have a seven year-old nephew that Chambers offered a basketball scholarship during a trip to Happy Valley. I also have a 3 year-old grandson. If they are interested in Penn State, I would send them both to play for Pat Chambers.
Off the top of my head… the list includes Earl Lloyd (West Virginia State), Al Attles (North Carolina A&T), Zelmo Beatty (Prarie View A&M), Dick Barnett (Tennessee State), Willis Reed (Grambling State), Sam Jones (North Carolina Central), Earl Monroe (Winston-Salem State), Bobby Dandridge (Norfolk State), Truck Robinson (Tennessee State), Purvis Short (Jackson State), Charles Oakley (Virginia Union), Elmore Smith (Kentucky State), Marvin Webster (Morgan State), Slick Watts (Xavier-Louisiana), Ben Wallace (Virginia Union) and Rick Mahorn (Hampton), Ronald “Flip” Murray (Shaw) among others.
All of these proud Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alums went on to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). To this woefully incomplete list we can add guys like Cleo Hill (Winston-Salem) and John Chaney (Bethune-Cookman) that were more than good enough but had to watch lesser white players fill rosters during the era of American Apartheid.
Today, a renaissance of sorts is underway. We are witnessing many of the top scholastic players choose to play for Black coaches at high major programs or committing to play at HBCUs. It’s a truly refreshing shift. For the last 50 years or so, white coaches at predominantly white universities have invaded the hood and syphoned off the very best basketball players from Black communities. Before that, these coaches and schools stood in the door and declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
After seven decades of explicit and rigidly enforced racist/white supremacist exclusion, white coaches and white institutions finally opened the doors of opportunity to Black student-athletes in the early 1970’s. But not before Texas Western with a Black starting 5 spanked the Kentucky Wildcats led by the virulently racist Adolph Rupp and USC led by a Black Quarterback trounced Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide on National television.
The desire to field the most competitive teams proved overpowering. Even white supremacists want to win football and basketball games. By the dawn of the 1980’s, most college basketball and football teams at the high major D1 level were at least half Black.
All too often, observers forget just how recent widespread Black participation in NCAA athletics emerged. These fans, alums, coaches, athletic directors, boosters, presidents and trustees did not like nor want Blacks in their schools not long ago.
But… Blacks, especially parents and student-athletes must NEVER forget. Whites have already cast aside the memory of the Jim Crow era that spanned 1906 to roughly 1970. White fans and commentators forget how white coaches and white institutions shunned even the most talented Blacks. So much so, that when a kid like Makur Maker commits to what many consider the finest HBCU in the land, some whites publicly respond as follows: “Many types of decisions defy conventional logic regarding a wide range of topics. Unless we see more examples of the same thing, maybe a lot more–no pressing point in solving any perceived mystery.”
In other words, he’s convinced the overwhelming majority of the finest Black student-athletes will continue to commit to and play for white coaches at predominantly white schools. Maker to Howard is viewed a just a “one-off,” he’s an anomaly. Blacks will continue to view white coaches at white institutions as more desirable.
I beg to differ… We live in very interesting times… Existing power dynamics and relationships are being questioned.
Penny Hardaway (Memphis) signed seven (7) top 110 players in the class of 2019. That happened… I saw the NCAA (with it’s long unquestionably racist history) intervene and run the best freshman, James Wiseman, in the country off the court because he played at Memphis and not Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina… That happened…
Mike Boynton put together Oklahoma State’s top-10 signing class and then add Ole Miss guard Bryce Williams and 6-10 forward Bernard Kouma. They join a Cowboy class ranked No. 4 by Rivals, featuring the 2020 Naismith High School Player of the Year, Cade Cunningham, who was named the nation’s top recruit according to ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals, USA Today, MaxPreps and Ball Is Life.
That happened… Again, I saw the NCAA (with it’s long unquestionably racist history) intervene and impose some harsh penalties on the Oklahoma State program, perhaps, hoping to see Cunningham flee to one of the traditional programs known for “Strong Ass Offers” like LSU, Arizona, Kansas or Duke…
Form where I sit, it seems that Black parents and student-athletes are increasingly behaving in a rational manner. All things considered, it makes sense… It’s a rational decision to commit to Juwan Howard (Michigan), Ed Cooley (Providence), Ashley Howard (La Salle), Aaron McKie (Temple), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown) or Kevin Baggett (Rider). It’s a rational decision to play at Howard, Morgan State, North Carolina-Central, South Carolina State or FAMU.
By placing Black men in leadership positions, these institutions have demonstrated a level of respect that should be prerequisite for Black parents considering college destinations for their talented sons.
What doesn’t make sense it to hand your gifted Black son over to a white coach at at white institution that has never had a Black head coach, athletic director or University President.
Why the fuck would you do that? They do not see Black men as leaders.
Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA and Vanderbilt have Black athletic directors right now. Maryland has a Black President, Black Athletic Director and a Black Head Football Coach.
Choose wisely…. and never, ever… ever… shut up and dribble.
Paul Gripper Memorial Scholarship Recipient Announced
The Friends of Paul Gripper have selected their 2020 Paul Gripper Memorial Scholarship recipient. This is the inaugural year for the scholarship which awards at least $250 towards tuition or school-related expenses and a laptop computer for a student entering their freshman year of high school. The recipient was selected after displaying remarkable dedication to the sport of basketball, academic achievement, extra-curricular participation and community service.
Funded by the Friends of Paul Gripper, the scholarship program is designed to facilitate the transition from middle school to high school for a local student-athlete. The late Paul Gripper had a long-standing history of service to the local basketball community. He was especially dedicated to working with middle school student-athletes and was instrumental in guiding the development of scores of players that received full basketball scholarships.
The Friends of Paul Gripper includes representatives from the Philly Pride Basketball Club, Team Final Basketball Club, NJ Playaz Basketball Club, Black Cager Sports Media, Rider University Men’s Basketball, the families Torre Harrison, Jonathan Michels and many others that were touched by the magnificent work of Paul Gripper.
2020 Paul Gripper Memorial Scholar
Khalid Jenkins, Cardinal O’Hara High School – In the fall of 2020, Khalid Jenkins will attend Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania. With the goal to one day be a college student-athlete, Jenkins flourished academically at West Oak Lane Charter School. West Oak Lane provides students with a student-centered, learning environment emphasizing literacy, math and the sciences as well as targeted intervention and enrichment programs so all graduates are prepared for and accepted to high performing high schools. His desire to achieve academically and athletically stems from guidance he has received from his mother Priya Cavanaugh, stepfather Dwayne Murphy and his grassroots coach Jarett Kearse. When he wasn’t doing homework or helping at home, Jenkins was in the gym with Kearse and his Philly Blue Magic teammates. While at West Oak Lane, he was an Honor Roll student and played on the boys’ basketball teams.