The Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame is sponsoring the first annual Middle School Showcase at Fidonce Basketball Development on Friday, December 29, 2017. The Tournament is designed to facilitate exposure to high quality academic high schools for Philadelphia-area Middle School students.
Admissions staff and basketball coaches from Catholic, Independent, Charter, Magnet and select Public Schools will be invited. Parents of participating students will have an opportunity to interact with high school representatives.
To encourage parents to bring relevant academic information, admission is 50% off if a player’s report card is presented. We want the parents and coaches to approach the event as a Middle School “Live Period.”
The Black Basketball Hall of Fame encourages and supports basketball centered activities that further academic advancement.
In exactly one month I will be 53 years old. My son will be 35 in January. My grandson will be 1 in January.
When the high school guys call me OG, I truly appreciate it… I feel that I’ve earned that designation… After all, I truly love and respect my OGs like the late Claude Gross pictured below… Every interaction and every move I make in the basketball community, I make knowing that he is watching me… I literally hear his voice giving me instructions… He’s never steered me wrong…
Delgreco Wilson & the late Claude Gross
In 1992, I began to work with freshman basketball players Mark Bass and Reggie Townsend at St. Joseph’s University. Since then, I have worked with young men and women every year helping them transition from high school to college. I have been blessed to encounter hundreds of young people on their basketball journeys.
Some, like Bass, have become dear friends. That’s my Lil’ Bro… I attended his wedding. His wife is like my sister. His Mom is my buddy. His sons are my nephews. Not a week has gone by since 1992, that I haven’t talked to Bass.
Guys like Rashid Bey (SJU), Terrell Myers (SJU), Eddie Griffin (Seton Hall), Jameer Nelson (SJU), Delonte West (SJU), Jamal Nichols (SJU), Mark Tyndale (Temple), Dionte Christmas (Temple), Samme Givens (Drexel), Scott Rodgers (Drexel), Devon White (La Salle), Traci Carter (La Salle), Dion Waiters (Syracuse), Rick Jackson (Syracuse), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), Trayvon Reed (Texas Southern), Dimencio Vaughn (Rider), Anthony Durham (Rider) and hundreds of others have all listened to the same spiel.
All are friends… Once they are no longer students, we become equals…
Until then, I try to maintain an adult/child distinction while they are students… It helps me when I ask them about their academic progress or when I try to redirect them from negative social behaviors they are exhibiting… College coaches know that I will try to reinforce the positive messages they are sending to the kids once they are on college campuses.
Parents like Ursula Tilghman (Austin Tilghman), Chandra Minnis (Biggie Minnis), Constance Cotton (Matt Cotton), Anthony Durham (Ant Durham), Dwayne Welch (Elijah Kiah-El) and Charles Brown (Charlie Brown) trust me with their child. These kids spend hours in my office and in my home… I am treated like an extended family member, I get report cards… I get test scores… I get question after question about the recruitment and eligibility processes…
I value these relationships…
The thought of publicly engaging in a “basketball beef” is anathema to me! Straight dumb, incomprehensible “nigga-shit”… Not gonna be able to do it…
I spent years developing a platform whereby I am able to reach thousands of parents, AAU coaches, HS coaches, college coaches and players.
Why would I use it to tear down another Black man? Huh? This what that would look like…
I’m NOT going back and forth arguing, calling names with a Black man for public consumption and entertainment!
We got WAY BIGGER fish to fry…
We have super elite HS athletes in prison right now… Two very serious NBA prospects have had to deal with allegations of sexual assault… A college senior finishing a wonderful career was shot in the leg in South Philly… An incoming freshman was shot multiple times in the torso before he could go off to college on a scholarship… Less than 1/3 of Black boys are graduating from Philadelphia and Camden public schools in 4 years… I could go on and on…
There is a void in leadership within the basketball community. Guys like Sonny Hill, Tee Parham, Ray Scott and Fred Douglas are in their 80s… They’ve put in half a century… It time for guys in their 40s and 50s to assume the reigns!
So what are we doing? How are we behaving?
So what are some of the contemporary “elders” doing? What the current so-called “leaders” doing? What are the “ol’ heads” of today up to?
Some go on Facebook and become social media “gangstas”… “Keyboard tough-guys”… Some go around “trashing” other Black men… Some smear other Black men… Some slander the businesses of other Black men…
Black basketball guys in his mid to late 40s are calling a guy in his early 50s a “sucka” on social media? Really… Really? Shit is corny…
Why not “jive turkey”?
Basketball Beef? WTF?
Miss me with the “Nigga Shit”!
I ain’t done anything to harm anyone in the basketball community… EVER!
I’m not about to start… This summer, I’ll have my grandson with me checking out games…
You and your homie can play internet “gangstas” and social media “tough guys” all by yourselves…
Real tough guys… Some of my friends and family members that have done 5, 10 or more years and prison constantly tell me to ignore the HATERS… It’s good advice…
See you at the games! And… y’all ain’t gonna do shit but make another facebook post…
Hate is like a disease… I don’t make fun of cancer patients… I don’t taunt people with HIV…
I hope they find a cure… Same with hate… I hope you are cured!
October 7, 2017 – Vorhees, NJ – Marco Morcos, Executive Director/Co-Founder, Full Court Press on ALS, 501(c)(3), announced the formation of the “Full Court Press on ALS, All-American Game.” The game will feature twenty-four of the nation’s finest high school basketball players. Delgreco K. Wilson, Founder/Publisher, Black Cager Sports Media has been brought on as the Director of High School Events for Full Court Press for ALS.
(L-R)Marco Morcos, Co-Founder, Kevin Nickelberry, Howard University Head Coach, Delgreco K. Wilson, Director of HS Events, (seated)Michael Honrychs, Co-Founder
Wilson noted, “The Full Court Press on ALS, All-American Game will provide an opportunity for us to greatly increase awareness about this debilitating disease. Also, I’m a firm believer in exposing young people to opportunities to do great things. Over the years, many of these great high school players will become ambassadors for this worthy cause and carry the baton further than any of us can imagine.”
“We are only here for a short time. We should all make a fundamental effort to leave this world better than when we first encountered it!”
Michael Honrychs, Co-Founder, Full Court Press on ALS
Kentucky Coach, John Calipari & Michael Honrychs, Co-Founder, Full Court Press on ALS
DISCOVER ABOUT ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, is a nervous system (neurological) disease that causes muscle weakness and impactsphysical function.ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous baseball player who wasdiagnosed with it. ALS is a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells togradually break down and die. In the United States, ALS is sometimes called “motorneuron disease.” In most cases, doctors do not know why ALS occurs. A small numberof cases are perhaps inherited.ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in an arm or leg, or sometimeswith slurring of speech. Eventually, ALS can affect your ability to control the musclesyou need to move, speak, eat, and breathe. ALS cannot be cured, and it eventually leads todeath, typically within two to five years of diagnosis.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, Mayor Kenney,Superintendent Bill Hite, and others at the top of the city leadership totem pole announced a plan to organize and expand sports opportunities for school-age youth throughout Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative (PYSC) was debuted as not just as a way to develop athletes, but as a way to spur genuine social change.
Like I said… Shit sounds real good…
Everybody round the way understands the positive role sports can play in the socialization of urban youth. In theory, everyone will be on board… In practice, naaaaaah….
School District of Philadelphia Superintendent, Bill Hite (kneeling)
The key players said all the right things… Superintendent Hite emphatically declared, “We need to be providing a system so that ALL young people have opportunities.”
The newly minted, PYSC Executive Director, Beth Devine hit the right notes when she said they will “build the game plan for the biggest and best sports development system in the country… Sports, can change a person’s trajectory.”
Beth Devine, Executive Director, Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative
Damn… That shit sounds good!
The heavy hitters are onboard… Otis Hackney, the city’s chief education officer; Michael DiBerardinis, managing director; and David Montgomery, chairman of the Phillies, have been charged with leading a new task force to analyze the state of youth sports and youth development and to make actionable recommendations for building a citywide system of such programs.
Lofty and ambitious goals for sure… Nonetheless, really good stuff!
But, I’m sure this seems like a daunting and highly complex task. Philadelphia has over 300,000 school age children and a sprawling disconnected (and frequently dysfunctional) network of youth sport organizations, recreation programs and school-based leagues.
I’ve met both Mayor Kenney and Superintendent Hite. I like them both… They seem like earnest and dedicated public servants pursuing the common good.
As a person intimately familiar with the complex and dysfunctional nature of the disparate sub-systems the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative is trying to corral, I humbly and respectfully offer one modest suggestion…
STOP FUCKING OVER Philadelphia’s kids!
Let me provide some clear examples of what I’m talking about…
While the big shots were downtown outlining their plans to develop “a system so that ALL young people have opportunities,” middle management level city employees were holed up at one of the oldest and largest of the German-American clubs in Philadelphia. A committee of District 12 Athletic Directors were meeting at the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verin Club to CRUSH the sports dreams of two young Philadelphia Boys.
While the city’s elites rolled out their plan in City Hall, 12.7 miles away, the middle managers were actually changing the trajectory of two young Black boys. Unfortunately, the direction of the change, however, is not what Ms. Devine had in mind.
T.J. Taylor is a 17 year old boy with a 3.9 GPA. He comes from a stable two-parent home. Extremely bright, he has already exceeded the 1,000 point barrier on his SAT exam. His parents Rodney and Joy Taylor have instilled all the proper values into their son. T.J. has impeccable manners and is always extremely respectful.
T.J. Taylor and his mother Joy Taylor before their District 12 hearing
T.J. was ranked in the top 20 of his class at Boys Latin. An inquisitive young man with high aspirations, T.J. did a lot of research and soon realized that he would be much more competitive for admission to elite Universities like Colby, Oberlin, Morehouse, Swarthmore and Bates if he was ranked in the top 1 or 2 of his class. With the annual cost of these schools in the $60,000-$70,000 range, T.J. and his parents felt is was worth it to transfer to, Overbrook, his neighborhood school where he would have a shot at Valedictorian status. A quarter million dollars is still a LOT of money for some of us. Besides a close friend of his was murdered just blocks away from Boys Latin.
He made the move… A sound, rational well-thought out FAMILY decision…
Another factor working in Taylor’s favor is the fact that he is a strong and solidly-built basketball player. While he is not among the city’s elite, he is a very solid, tough hard-nosed player with a sophisticated understanding of the game. A Philly guard! They are always in demand at all collegiate levels. Like two of Philly’s very best HS guards Shipley’s Sam Sessoms and Cardinal O’Hara’s Antwuan “Booty” Butler, Taylor’s skills were forged during weekly Bottom Ballers wars in the quaint and extremely hot City Recreation Center located at 34th and Haverford. The Bottom Ballers Basketball Club, arguably, has routinely produced some of the most competitive and well-rounded guards in Philadelphia. T.J. Taylor is a Bottom Baller.
His basketball skills combined with his strong academic profile make him an ideal prospect for NCAA Division 3 programs with high admissions standards. With a strong senior season, Taylor would garner attention from all the top D3 programs in the mid-Atlantic region for sure. He would be able to pursue his dream of playing college basketball while matriculating at one of the nation’s finest institutions.
Socialized largely through sports, Taylor is a poster-child for the program envisioned by our well intentioned leaders Mayor Kenney and Superintendent Hite.
Just one problem though…
At the exact same time the big dogs were in Center City extolling the virtues of sports participation, middle management level school employees were running different play…
Somebody needs to tell Kenney and Hite they calling audibles out there on the field…
“Fuck T.J. and his aspirations!”
While the cameras were rolling in City Hall, PIAA District 12 committee members ruled that T.J. Taylor was ineligible to play basketball at Overbrook for his senior year…
Like Devine said… “Sports can change a person’s trajectory.” I saw it happen.
Alas, on this day, there was a doubleheader… Next up…
Yazid Powell transferred out of Boys Latin High School in late February. He enrolled at West Philadelphia High School. By early May, Powell and his mother, Romaine Sims, determined that West was not a good fit after his grades dropped precipitously.
Yazid Powell and his mother Romaine Sims
She ruled out her neighborhood high school, John Bartram. She cited repeated violence such as when a student “knocked out a teacher” among other concerns. She also felt that Yazid was too familiar with all of the kids at Bartram. She decided to enroll him at Overbrook High School.
While Yazid DID NOT EVER PLAY AT WEST PHILADELPHIA HS, he did compete with the Philly Hurricanes basketball club in the late spring and throughout the summer.
While playing with the Hurricanes, Yazid exhibited breathtaking athleticism. Finally healthy after a nagging ankle injury he BLEW UP on the grassroots/AAU circuit. Yazid, literally can hit his head on a 10 foot basketball rim. A very good shooter, his range extends well beyond the three-point line. He caught the eyes of college coaches. He has several Division 2 scholarship offers and many Division 1 programs have promised to come watch him play during his senior year.
Ms. Sims was feeling wonderful… Having lived through the murder of Yazid’s father and watching his 28 year old brother end up in the penitentiary, her young son was on his way.
Sports would be the vehicle he uses to escape the streets of Philadelphia and access higher education…
Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney
Just like Mayor Kenney and Superintendent Hite envisioned…
Then middle management called another audible…
At the request of the West Philadelphia High School Athletic Director, supported by the Boys Basketball coach, the District 12 committee ruled Yazid ineligible to compete his senior year at Overbrook.
Another trajectory changed by sports… Beth Devine seemed prescient…
Even though Yazid NEVER donned a WPHS uniform, they were determined to keep him from playing at Overbrook. Their argument won the day. They won. Their achieved their goal!
Seriously… Think about that shit…
At the exact same time Superintendent Hite were standing before the assembled mainstream media outlets contending “We need to be providing a system so that ALL young people have opportunities” his employees were working diligently to DENY an opportunity to a young fatherless boy living in Philadelphia’s public housing and a mild-mannered kid with a 3.9 GPA.
What the hell are we doing?
The grandiose objectives outlined for the PYSC are admirable. I truly hope they succeed…
Lord knows we need all hands on deck.
For now though… I’ll settle for simpler, tangible and more easily obtained goal…
Tears were cascading down her cheeks… The pain was evident on her face… Veins were throbbing in her neck… She was screaming at the top of her lungs, “Y’all trying to wipe Black Boys off the face of the earth!”
You could sense the vulnerability, you could tell she felt powerless, you could tell she felt betrayed… Romaine Sims had just sat through an eligibility hearing for her son Yazid Powell a senior shooting guard at Overbrook High School.
Before the hearing she explained that she was using basketball to keep her son engaged with the educational system. “He’s all right when he’s on a team and playing… When he’s not involved with basketball, he’s easily influenced to do stupid things.”
Overbrook student, Yazid Powell and his mother, Romaine Sims before hearing
At stake was Powell’s senior season… Would he be eligible to play for Overbrook?
Last Spring, Powell transferred from Boy’s Latin at the end of February to West Philadelphia High School. During the hearing Sims stated that West Philadelphia High School coach, Jermaine Snell “begged me to send Yazid to West Philadelphia High School… He even sent a car to my house to drive me to a meeting with him.”
Snell contended that he did not “beg” Sims. He did acknowledge that he sent a car to pick her up for a meeting.
It is important to note that Yazid Powell NEVER suited up for West Philadelphia. He NEVER played in one game for the Speedboys. Sims and Powell were both very confused… How was West Philadelphia able to contest his eligibility given the fact that he was NEVER a West Philadelphia student-athlete? This matter was never really made clear during the hearing.
What was clear was that West Philadelphia’s Athletic Director and Boy’s Basketball Coach did not wish to see Powell play for Overbrook. They went on the record pushing for denial of his eligibility.
Yazid Powell awaiting the ruling
West Philadelphia’s Athletic Director, Barry Strube, stated that he began an investigation of Powell’s transfer to Overbrook after “Rob Moore (Constitution Head Coach) called me and indicated that Antwann Postell had recruited Powell to Overbrook to play basketball.”
Reached by telephone, Moore told the Black Cager that he has “never called Strube.”
Snell indicated that he is very active in the Philadelphia basketball community. He stated that he personally observed “Postell coaching Powell while he played for the Philly Hurricanes.”
Strube produced a copy of Postell’s criminal record, pictures of Powell playing for Postell in the Chosen League and he noted that he played in alumni game at Overbrook after transferring in May.
Snell openly question Sims motives for transferring her son to Overbrook. Tensions rose between the two of them as Sims indicated that Snell repeatedly called her and never was concerned about anything but basketball.
When asked why she didn’t consider John Bartram HS when he left West Philadelphia, Ms. Sims indicated that Bartram was out of the question. Pressed further, she stated that “since a student knocked out a teacher” she’s never considered Bartram for her son.
A pensive Romaine Sims awaits the ruling
After an extensive hearing, the family and the media left the room where the committee discussed the case. After about 10 minutes, everyone returned to hear the ruling.
The committee of 15, was made up of 10 white males, 2 Black males and 3 Black females. There were 13 votes to deny Yazid Powell eligibility.
West Philadelphia HS, Strube and Snell won this round…
Powell was ruled ineligible…
Sims vowed to appeal the ruling to the PIAA.
Powell’s father was murdered years ago… His 28 year old brother is currently incarcerated in the state penitentiary system…
His mother vowed to protect him and not let the streets devour him… Today, School District of Philadelphia and West Philadelphia High School employees Barry Strube and Jermaine Snell were successful in denying Powell a chance to play basketball during his senior season.
The young man with extensive interest from over 10 colleges, is left without a team. However, all is not lost… The Black Cager reached out to one of the Deans of Philadelphia’s basketball community for help with this matter.
If Sims and Powell are not able to overturn the ruling, Sam Rines, Director of Rocktop Academy has indicated that he will allow Powell to play with him at a significantly reduced cost. Rines‘ program has helped hundreds of young men earn college basketball scholarships over the years.
“I’m in the business of helping young men better themselves so they can become contributing members of society. Basketball is just a tool I use to accomplish this goal. I hope he’s able to play High School basketball. I know how important that is for kids. But I want him and his Mom to know I will do everything I can to help him realize his dream of playing college basketball.”
Rocktop Academy is a private Prep School program. Located in suburban Philadelphia, Rocktop Academy is tone of the most prominent programs on the prep circuit. Strategic location allows Rocktop to play a highly competitive prep schedule in the country that includes over 60 games. Players have access to multiple gyms, and receive instruction around the clock.
Black Cager Sports Media salutes Sam Rines and Rocktop Academy. Someone has to be on the side of the kid.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19
Basketball Recruiting… These words have been thrust to the forefront of America’s ongoing sports dialogue… Basketball Coaches are the new “thugs”… Overnight, AAU and college coaches have become morally equivalent to the Jamaican Shower Posse… It is impossible to envision a return to things as they were… We are truly in a new era…
Recently indicted Business Manager, Christian Dawkins
We all knew recruiting was a rough and tumble, bare-knuckle brawling business. The stakes are so astronomically high, that damn near anything goes. We’ve seen Rick Pitino get away with providing strippers and prostitutes for recruits and their ohhhh so willing Dads, Uncles and Ol’ Heads… About a week ago, this statement would have been met with some meek challenges from some quarters… No longer… It’s out there for all to see…
Want the kid? Will he make a difference for you? Will he get you to the NCAA tournament?
Indicted Adidas Executive, Jim Gatto
Pay him… $150,000… $100,000… That’s about the going rate… As a result of a high profile federal fraud and bribery scandal shaking the foundations of college basketball, all possible doubt has been removed.
Let’s be clear…
Shoe companies, agents and financial advisors PAY college coaches, AAU programs and family members for the services of elite scholastic basketball players. They have the tapes…
But, most keen observers of collegiate athletics already knew that was the case. It’s inevitable and it will continue… High profile basketball and football players have a tremendous monetary value to the top college programs. A 5 year extension for some of the top coaches could be worth anywhere from $25-$40 million. Shoe companies are paying the top college programs $12-19 million per year to wear their shoes and uniforms. Assistant football coaches in the BIG BOY programs make upwards of $1.5 million annually and top basketball assistants pull down $500,000 – $750,000.
So, one has to ask… What are the BEST players worth in that context?
See… the way capitalism is set up… Money finds it’s way to things of value.
The top defensive ends, left tackles and quarterbacks impact the outcome of games, hence they are extremely valuable. So are the top 50 or so basketball players in the nation. The people and organizations controlling their destination and selling their performances are literally shitting money!
While the NCAA reaps over $1 billion every year from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament alone, the players (the actual performers in this show) are supposed to receive room, board, books tuition and fees. That’s it…
The prevailing NCAA rule is as follows: NCAA guidelines for improper benefits violations of at least $700 recommend an athlete sit out at least 30 percent of the season and repay the value to charity as conditions for reinstatement.
Well… as anyone that has read the recent headlines and stories can tell you, we are waaaay past that threshold.
What’s the penalty for improper benefits of $150,000?
Donald Jackson, Attorney – The Sports Group
Don Jackson is a prominent Alabama-based sports attorney. Jackson represented Todd O’Brien when St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli refused to release him to play for the University of Alabama-Birmingham after he graduated from St. Joseph’s University. More recently, he represented Archbishop Carroll native, Derrick Jones in his battle with the NCAA while playing at UNLV. Jackson, has handled many NCAA eligibility cases for athletes including former Mississippi State forwards Mario Austin and Renardo Sidney. He also represented former Southern Mississippi and Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall in his appeal process to attempt to remove or lessen the 10 year show-cause penalty given to him in 2016 after violations were found during his time as head coach at Southern Miss. He currently teaches Sports Law courses at the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University.
One of the most respected attorneys handling cases involving the NCAA, Jackson recently noted that this recent scandal is
“going to break new ground… “Those rules are out of the window of this case, because no one ever envisioned a $100,000 benefit.”
In the past, collegiate student-athletes improperly receiving $100-$200 have been held out of games and the suspensions were much harsher as the value of the benefits increased.
So what’s likely to happen to the young players involved in the current collegiate recruiting scandals?
“If the student-athlete received money, knew it was a violation and accepted it anyway, it’s more likely that he could be sanctioned in a potentially harsh way,” Jackson said. “And if he lies about it, then he’s going to be charged with … an unethical-conduct charge, which could render him permanently ineligible.”
The Black Cager also asked Jackson for his opinion on an ongoing eligibility controversy involving several Overbrook High School student. Three young Black players have transferred into Overbrook, one from Boys Latin HS and two from West Philadelphia HS. The sending schools have, thus far, refused to “sign off” on the transfers… As a result, the three Black young men are currently ineligible to compete in varsity basketball.
The young man from Boys Latin has a 3.9 GPA and strong standardized test scores. The two from West Philadelphia High School are both scholarship level basketball players. Both have Division 2 offers and legitimate Division 1 interest. The West Philadelphia transfers are also fatherless. Both lost their Dads to senseless gun violence.
Who speaks for these young men and others like them?
The Black Cager asked Jackson for his opinion on the Overbrook eligibility cases. He responded as follows:
“Sports, when taught appropriately, can be formative, reformative and transformative. The game can shape, mold and change lives. When I see families and young people attempt to use the game to elevate their lives and provide opportunities (only) to face opposition from individuals that are only focused on selfish, short sighted motivations, it angers me… Overbrook is a widely renowned secondary school with an incredible history. Efforts to impede these youngsters’ ability to better their live are unethical and, frankly, immoral. Young African-American men face considerable obstacles everyday. It is troubling to see officials in secondary schools place additional obstacles in their paths to education and accomplishment. It is pathetic.”
The college basketball scandal will continue to unfold and national media outlets will cover it incessantly.
The story of the smart kid and the fatherless boys will be covered by the The Black Cager. Regional and national interest in this case is growing. They say, Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love…
Will the adults deciding the fate of the young brothers placed in their care live up to the moniker?
I hope so and I WILL keep you posted… Until then, drop ’em a quick email and let ’em know how you feel…
Boys Latin HS Joe Dunn, Athletic Director
RJ McDaniel, Principal
West Philadelphia HS Mary Dean, Principal
Barry Strube, Athletic Director
Overbrook HS Robert Miller, Athletic Director
Yvette Jackson, Principal
Bzzzzzz… Bzzzzzz… Bzzzzzz… the alarm on athletic director’s Bob Smithson’s new IPhone 7 is annoying as hell… But, it serves it’s purpose. Smithson rises out of the bed, kisses his lovely wife, showers, eats breakfast, chats with his kids and make his way to the garage. The toughest decision of his morning awaits… take the SUV or the sedan?
He remembered… His wife has to pick up some new lamps, so he takes the sedan. Within minutes he is on I-476 headed toward Philadelphia. After the 35 minute commute, he arrives in the parking lot and heads into the Hilltop school building. The first bell rings in exactly 17 minutes, enough time to check a few emails from his coaches and down a cup of coffee…
Meanwhile, in the Cecil Johnson projects… Jamir Jenkins is running a lil’ late… His Mom works the overnight shift and he has to get his 3 younger siblings dressed and ready for school… Jamir quickly realizes his youngest sister doesn’t have a clean uniform. He finds a stain free shirt, grabs a washcloth, some dishwashing liquid and procedes to “spot clean” the tartan dress… “Good enough,” he tell his sister…
He pours store brand “Fruit Lupes” in 4 bowls… However, when he grabs the milk he realizes there’s only enough for maybe one serving. It’s the 27th of the month, so the balance on the ACCESS card has been $0 for nearly 2 weeks. All too familiar with this situation, Jamir “stretches” the milk so that the cereal in three bowls is at least moist. He quickly wolfs down his dry bowl.
After walking his siblings 3 blocks to school, Jamir jumps on the Broad Street subway… After two stops, he transfers to the Market-Frankford Elevated Train. He rides the “El” to 60th street. Once he exits, there’s a 12 minute wait for a bus that will drop him off at the school.
He arrives at the school, with 3 minutes to spare… He races to his homeroom, hitting the door just as the bell rings…
Soon as the bell quiets, on the other side of the building, Smithson opens an email titled “Jamir Jenkins Transfer”…
The Athletic Director at a Eastside High School town has written Smithson to let him know that he will not “sign off” on the paperwork that will allow Jamir to play varsity basketball.
See… Jamir played last season for Eastside… He was their best player… An incredible athlete, Jamir plays the game with a combination of finesse and power that is uncommon at the scholastic level. Standing 6’4” inches, he has a vertical leap exceeding 40 inches. His ball-handling skills are very solid and his shooting is excellent.
Jamir has emerged as a strong prospect for a Division 1 basketball scholarship. Schools like Fairleigh Dickinson, North Carolina A&T, Central Connecticut State and Robert Morris have expressed interest in offering him a scholarship. They all let him know that they will follow him during his high school season.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for Jamir. This is his way out… His father was murdered when he was 4 years old. His mother is struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. The cost of attending these schools for four years ranges from $160,000 to $240,000. There’s no way Jamir can attend without a basketball scholarship. The money is just NOT there…
Indeed, the coach and the athletic director at Eastside know this is the case. They’ve been to the home… They picked him up and dropped him off more than 20 times last year. They saw the sparse, well-worn second-hand furniture. They bought him some sneakers so he could play better and so he could fit in with his teammates. They know his father is deceased. They know his Mom is struggling…
They also know that Jamir had been having “beef” with some of the Eastside kids… There were multiple fights… There were several occasions where Jamir had unexplained lacerations on his face… There were other times where his hands were swollen around the knuckles… Jamir would never elaborate, but the other kids did…
“Coach, those boys from 53rd St. mess with him everyday…”
Things were looking up though… This past summer, Jamir linked up with two of his friends and they decided to play with an AAU club called Philly Thunder.
They had some really exciting moments… They beat a couple of the well-funded high profile shoe company sponsored teams. In one instance, Jamir had a follow-up dunk where his head literally hit the rim! Video of that dunk went viral, with over 300,000 views.
College coaches became increasingly intrigued… They started showing up at Philly Storm games… At first 1 or 2… As the summer went on, there were more each game… By the end of the summer 15-20 coaches were watching the Philly Storm games.
The attention and the success was new for Jamir. Weary of fighting his way into and out of Eastside High everyday, he had already decided to transfer. After playing with his friends in the summer he decided to join them at Hilltop.
Hilltop plays in the competitive B Division, whereas Eastside is in the lowly E Division. This is not insignificant… In search of a college scholarship, playing in a tougher decision appealed to Jamir. But more than anything, he didn’t want to fight anymore.
So… he transferred… He left Eastside and enrolled in Hilltop…
After reading the email from the Eastside coaches, the Hilltop athletic director, Smithson, responded with a mere two words…
With that, the Hilltop athletic director, the Eastside athletic director and the Eastside coach determined that they would deny Jamir a chance to compete and play varsity basketball at Hilltop.
They “agreed” that he transferred for “basketball reasons” and was therefore ineligible to play at Hilltop… These three suburban-dwelling, college educated white males, each making between $70,000 and $90,000, determined that they would collude to end Jamir’s high school basketball career.
“Fuck his scholarship!”
“We need to make an example of him, these kids cannot just change schools when they want. We need them to stay put and ensure that OUR team is competitive.”
One immediately wonders what Jamir’s father is gonna say… Then you remember his father was murdered 14 years ago.
Later that evening, the Hilltop athletic director and his wife sat down after dinner and reviewed the performance of their children’s college fund. Then they compared the academic performance of three area schools in preparation for exercising their right to choose the best educational settings for their family.
St. Joseph’s to Host 32 team Middle School Jamboree
Philadelphia, PA – September 5, 2017 – Black Cager Sports Media is excited to announce that it has partnered with Phil Martelli to provide a 32 team Middle School Tournament that will take place in June 2018. Martelli, the winningest coach in Saint Joseph’s illustrious history, will host the “Middle School Jamboree’s” regional field as well as families and fans during the two-day event, June 9-10, 2018 at Saint Joseph’s University.
Located on a bucolic campus straddling City Avenue, Saint Joseph’s University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic Jesuit university located in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion Township. As Philadelphia’s Jesuit Catholic University, Saint Joseph’s provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. Saint Joseph’s prepares students for personal excellence, professional success, and engaged citizenship.
“Partnering with Coach Martelli and Saint Joseph’s allows us to offer middle school teams a unique mix of academics, skill development and competition” said Delgreco Wilson, Executive Director of Black Cager Sports Media. “I’ve known Phil for over 30 years and he has always emphasized academics and preparing student-athletes for the next phase in their life as much as winning… People tend to focus on his ability to put guys like Jameer Nelson (Denver Nuggets), Langston Galloway (Detroit Pistons) and DeAndre Bembry (Atlanta Hawks) in the NBA. But, Phil is the same way with his walk-ons and managers.”
According to Wilson, “Phil may take more pride in the fact that he has guys like Mark Bass (St. Joseph’s), Mike Farrelly (Hofstra), Dwayne Lee (St. Bonaventure), Bill Phillips (Delaware) and Bobby Hughes (Rosemont) coaching at the collegiate level. Most recently, Daryus Quarles ’14 was named Head Coach at his alma mater Paulsboro High School. These guys were able to seamlessly move into coaching because Phil prepared them for the next phase while they played for him. Phil and I want to help Middle School players make better, more informed decisions during the high school selection process.”
The kids will compete. Phil Martelli’s Middle School Jamboree will provide middle school teams an opportunity to compete in five (5) guaranteed games.
The kids will get better. There will also be skill development sessions led by Coach Martelli.
But perhaps, most importantly, Martelli insisted that every participant be afforded an opportunity to participate in an “Academic” session. Participation in the Jamboree will be limited to rising 8th graders and younger. “I want to provide the kids and their parents with information they can use, and arm them with questions they can ask, as they navigate the high school selection process,” said Martelli. “We will welcome admissions staff and coaches from area Catholic, Independent, Public and Charter schools. There will be ample time for parents to engage High School representatives. We really want parents to come out and take advantage of this opportunity.”
The tournament’s full schedule is expected to be announced in Spring 2018.
Black Cager Sports Media, a regional sports marketing company, is partnering with the Saint Joseph’s Men’s Basketball program to manage all event operations and recruit regional teams to complete the 2018 field. Black Cager Sports Media has worked with many of the mid-Atlantic region’s leading high school and grassroots basketball programs, including current clients Team Melo (Nike), WeRone Hoops (Under Armour), Team Final (Nike), K-Low Elite (Adidas), Philly Hurricanes (Independent), Team Hines (Independent) and the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame.
For further information, please contact:
Phil Martelli, Jr., Saint Joseph’s Men’s Basketball – firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
Delgreco Wilson, Black Cager Sports Media – email@example.com