Teaneck’s Pierre Sow Commits to Hampton University!

Pierre Sow (pictured below) is an unassuming, quiet and highly intelligent young man. A strong student, Sow has very good grades and an outstanding SAT score. He also happens to stand about 7’0″ tall and is fast becoming a very good basketball player. A key member of the 2 time State Champion Teaneck (NJ) High School Highwaymen basketball program, Sow has worked his way to a Division 1 scholarship. On the morning of April 7, 2017 he committed to play for Coach Edward Joyner, Jr and the Hampton University Pirates. IMG_1876

Sow just began playing organized basketball a couple of years ago and has really progressed while playing for Teaneck’s fine coach Jerome Smart. However, Division 1 colleges in New Jersey paid little attention to Sow. They missed out on kid with a chance to be a good college player. Sow’s former HS Assistant Coach, Roland Whitley firmly believed in Sow’s ability to compete at the Division 1 level.

“The kid has all the tools… He’s long, he has good timing and he’s very agile. He lacked strength and experience. But, I knew he was a Division 1 player”, said Whitley. “More than anything else, I just needed more people to see him play. So I asked Black Cager Scouting Service to come and check him out two years ago. Delgreco Wilson (below left) came up and agreed that Pierre was a D1 prospect.”

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Wilson noted, “I saw a kid that was raw with a huge upside. The immediate goal was get him in the gym against other good big guys in the off season. I reached out to several Philadelphia area AAU/Grassroots programs. Only Philly Pride invited Pierre to come work out. He didn’t end up playing with them for the summer because the travel was too much, but he made it to several workouts and made some important contacts.”

Philly Pride directors Nette Bennett and Amauro Austin are proud Hampton University alums. Austin reached out to Hampton and strongly encouraged them to offer Sow a scholarship. He had been considering prep school.

“Those guys at Black Cager Scouting really helped me through this thing,” said Whitley. “I played at North Carolina State under Jim Valvano but things are much different these days. I really leaned on them to help me guide the family. We are extremely happy with Hampton University.”

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According to Wilson, “academically, Pierre is the type of kid that usually ends up in the Ivy or Patriot League. Hampton is a perfect fit for him because he has the intellectual tools to really take advantage of Hampton’s academic programs. The University President, Dr. William R. Harvey (above right) made Sow’s mother (above center) feel welcome and assured them that he would take care of their son. There is no substitute for the intimacy and familiarity one finds on HBCU campuses. Jaekwon Carlye is a Philly Pride kid completing his freshman year at Hampton and he loves it there. I know Pierre made the right choice.”

 

 

Shit Ain’t Fair… We Need Search Firms for Families!

There’s a BIG ASS thumb on the scale in the college coaching market… I am sure Adam Smith is rolling over in his grave. In this particular market, the “invisible hand” has been amputated! You see… Free Trade and open market exchange are SUPPOSED to automatically channel self-interest toward socially desirable ends. However, in the college basketball coaching market free trade and open markets have been usurped. A group of overwhelmingly white men have formed cabal that controls access to the 350 or so Division 1 head coaching positions. This search firm cabal severely limits minority candidate access to these highly desirable positions.

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In some ways, the existence of these “search firms” is easy to understand…

Choosing a Division 1 basketball or football coach is very difficult task… Where do you begin? These guys are silky smoooooth… They really know how to come across as personable, gregarious and charming. It’s hard not to like most of them… They present themselves well at all times…

They are TOP NOTCH salesmen… Some would say “slick”… The product they are selling, at all times, is themselves…

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Guys like Mark Turgeon (Maryland), Mike Hopkins (Washington), John Calipari (Kentucky – pictured above), Frank Martin (South Carolina – pictured below), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph’s), Fran Dunphy (Temple), Pat Chambers (Penn State), John Giannini (La Salle), Zach Spiker (Drexel), Martin Ingelsby (Delaware), Todd Bozeman (Morgan State), Kevin Baggett (Rider), Joe Dooley (Florida Gulf Coast) and Mike Brennan (American) are ALL good dudes… Spend a few hours with any of these coaches and you will like them…

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The very best among them can sell water ice to Eskimos in the dead of winter… They can sell a furnace to Satan himself… Oh… they use different approaches and different tactics but selling is selling… It’s what they do best… Buyer beware!!

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the 351 Division 1 Head Basketball Coaches come across as “good dudes” precisely because they are highly capable pitchmen… The questions that ultimately matter are: Which one is best for you? Which one should you entrust with your future? How do you begin to figure it out?

Two distinct groups grapple with these crucial questions year after year: 1) predominantly white male athletic directors, and; 2) predominantly Black families. They bring vastly different backgrounds and resources to the decision-making process. The former are, generally speaking, experienced and well educated. Most ADs have Masters or Doctorate degrees. The latter are, for the most part, novices in the world of college athletics and often lack Bachelors, much less, advanced degrees.

The differences between the two groups are really profound…

One recent survey found that whites are 89 percent, 90.9 percent and 95.9 percent of the athletic directors in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. Additionally, only 8.3 percent of Division I athletics directors are women. Plainly stated, hiring a college coach is, more or less, a white male task.

Conversely, in 2015-2016, Blacks (3,153) made up a majority (57%) of the total number of Division 1 basketball players (5.472). Black Division 1 football players (13,453) also outnumber white players (11,240) and all other racial groups.

Both groups, white male ADs and Black families, routinely face the difficult challenge of selecting a D1 coach… For both groups, it’s an extremely important decision.

Let’s examine the way each approaches selection processes…

On one hand, university presidents and athletic directors have become increasingly reliant on search firms. The aforementioned cabal has assumed the role formerly played by Athletic Directors in the dysfunctional college basketball coaching market. For that, they are handsomely rewarded. It’s not uncommon for universities to shell out anywhere from $50,000 to $325,000 for assistance in making such decisions. Search firms, supposedly, dig deep into the background of the coaches and provide detailed reports to institutional decision-makers. Thereby enabling highly informed and rational decisions. In this way, it is argued, the help the market function better…

However, very little attention is focused on the extent to which qualified minority coaching candidates are EXCLUDED through this process. With search firms in place, they often can’t even get a sniff!

Black families choosing a coach, on the other hand, all too often are left to fend for themselves… They, typically, have little to no experience and even less background information.

Who provides Mom and Dad a detailed report? Who tells them about the 6 players the coach ran off over the past 3 seasons? Who tells them the program has NEVER had a Black Head Coach in 120 years? Who tells them Black players ALL major in Parks and Recreation? Where are the search firms for families?

There are none… In fact, when well-informed AAU coaches or HS coaches offer assistance and guidance, the media and the general public at large are quick to condemn them as “interfering handlers” or, worse, self-centered “pimps.” The cry is to “let the market prevail in a fair and unfettered manner”…

To sum up… Helping athletic directors = good… Helping families = bad…

It’s a highly hypocritical position to hold… Shit makes NO sense…

These days, presidents and athletic directors rarely rely on their own contacts and instincts… They don’t perform their own due diligence… Parents, however, are forced to go it alone in many cases…

The cabal works in the shadows…

Very little is said about the way university administrators use search firms to shield access to their decision-making process. Arguably, search firms are used to favor some groups and exclude qualified candidates from full consideration.

If a candidate is not on the search firms short list, he has absolutely no shot! He can’t even get a fucking phone interview…

Search firm dealings are Top Secret! They clandestinely develop lists of coaching candidates and put out feelers to “preferred candidates” without divulging any information, should the match not be made. Search firms also prevent problematic situations for coaches under contract at other institutions. Their names are usually not revealed as applicants for said opportunity, preventing awkward conversations with current employers. Perhaps, most importantly, an athletic director can place the blame for what could be a future bad decision on the search firm thus save his own ass.

Compare that to the situation faced by families. Every single offer a family receives from a D1 coach is immediately broadcast on several recruiting websites, college message boards, twitter, instagram, local newspapers, etc. Everyone knows the family’s business… Everyone knows which coaches are vying for their child’s services. If they turn down an offer, everyone knows… Unlike, presidents and athletic directors, families have no one to blame for what could be a future bad decision. The media and the general public hold families accountable for their decisions.

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Shit ain’t fair… We need search firms for families!

Such firms could lead parents to selecting certain coaches in manner similar to the way universities are led to preferred candidates. Search firms could match parents of elite Black prospects with Black coaches, programs that have high Black student-athlete graduation rates and/or programs with Blacks in leadership positions.

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Of course such intervention would foster heated discussions among the media and university athletic administrators. Such outcomes would be vilified… The media would predictably condemn a process whereby “middle  men” steer prospects to certain coaches…

The same media  is largely silent while “middle men” steer presidents and athletic director to certain coaches…

I call BULL SHIT!!

These consultants offer a mix of headhunting, background checks and other services formerly performed by Athletic Directors. Cost is no object for NCAA D1 institutions.

At the same time, those offering similar “consulting services” to families are commonly labelled pimps and handlers…

But who is truly pimping the game? According to USA Today, Texas paid the search firm Korn Ferry $267,000 for services associated with the hiring of football coach Charlie Strong. Three years earlier Colorado State paid about $320,000 for a company to run its football coaching search.

Tennessee coughed up $50,000 plus expenses for Collegiate Sports Associates to oversee its men’s basketball coaching search which yielded Rick Barnes. George Mason paid $50,000 paid to Parker Executive Search to help them hire Dave Paulsen away from Bucknell. More recently, N.C. State paid $90,000 to Parker Executive Search to help hire Kevin Keatts and Missouri paid $80,000 to Parker Executive Search to help hire Cuonzo Martin.

Street-agents and handlers ONLY look out for themselves we are told… They do a lot of self dealing… Right?

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Well… Last year Quinnipiac University used the Chicago-based search firm, DHR to hire its athletic director. This year, Quinnipiac fired its men’s basketball coach -Tom Moore. DHR receives the contract to replace him. DHR targeted Villanova Assistant Baker Dunleavy (pictured above) who was recently announced as the Head Coach. Meanwhile, Ashley Howard, also an Villanova Assistant (pictured below), is, apparently, not on the search firm short lists for some reason… SMH…

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Hmmmmm… Pretty sweet arrangement for DHR…

Many hardworking single Moms have no awareness of the differences between low-major, mid-major and high-major programs… They don’t know the Big 10 and from the SWAC… They don’t know how to research NCAA Academic Progress Rates… In too many cases, Dad is not involved… Mom may be working two or more jobs trying to keep food on the table…

These folk need help making extremely difficult choices among D1 football and basketball coaches. In my opinion, low to moderate income Black families need help with these decisions waaaaaaaay more than white guys running $20-$200 million dollar athletic departments.

I’m just saying…

The Paucity of Black Coaches: Does it Matter?

African-Americans have long dominated college basketball on the court. Every year, college send their coaches into Black communities in search of talented Black basketball players. These coaches beg, plead and some even try to bribe young Black men to come play for their colleges and universities.

In the overwhelming majority of instances, the Head Coaches are white. The players are, for the most part, Black.

Does this matter?

Should players, their parents, AAU coaches and others involved in the school decision process consider the racial background of the coaches?

If they do not consider the racial background of the Head Coaches, will the situation ever improve?

Are Black males destined to remain the “talent”? Will their presence on the sideline ever match their presence on the court?

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As you can see on the chart (above), Black players are disproportionately represented in the uniforms. These are ten of the biggest conferences with the largest basketball budgets in the nation.

In the Missouri Valley Conference, Blacks make up about half the players and there are ZERO (0) Black Head Coaches in that league. ZERO!

If Black players never see Black Head Coaches and Black Athletic Directors, how will they envision themselves in these positions of authority?

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Where are Today’s John Chaney & John Thompson?

The NCAA has consistently implemented a series of increasingly stringent academic reforms. These reforms have disproportionately impacted Black student-athletes from under-performing urban and rural schools in the South.

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When the initial reforms were proposed and implemented John Chaney and John Thompson took incredibly strong stances. They cited the “racist” nature of the measures. They openly criticized the NCAA.

Today, prominent Black coaches and professional athletes are noticeably silent. This despite the fact that the most restrictive and discriminatory reforms are set to become effective August 1, 2016.

This had led me to ask: Where are today’s John Chaney and John Thompson?

I’ve spoken to a couple hundred young student-athletes in the Philadelphia area over the past 3-4 weeks. Maybe 1 in 20 have ever heard of John Chaney and John Thompson.

Our children do not know our history. They have no idea of their place in the struggle for inclusion and equality. As a result, they are not prepared to navigate the traps that have been set for them.

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The DEVIL is a LIAR! Our kids WANT to learn!

Black student-athletes don’t care about academics… Inner city High School coaches don’t emphasize the importance of books…

Last week a U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia openly stated “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

I’m here to tell you…

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Out kids are thirsty for knowledge. They want to learn! They want to go to college. They want to create better situations for themselves and their families.

What they lack is a road map. How do they accomplish their goals? They have no idea. What are the obstacles the face? They have no clue.

What I know for sure is that High School Coaches want to see their kids excel and further their education. Coach after coach has demanded that I come in an explain the NCAA eligibility process to their players. Indeed, Lou Williams at Dobbins Vo-Tech insisted that I hang up the phone and come talk to his players immediately. Of course, I jumped in my car and headed to 22nd and Lehigh. Upon arriving, Coach Williams stopped practice because he said, “education is MORE important” than what they were reviewing in practice.

Time after time, the same scenario plays itself out… The DEVIL is liar…

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The coaches know that in June of 2013 Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid off 3,783 employees, because of the district’s financial crisis. The list included 676 teachers, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, and 1,202 noontime aides. Before he said it, the coaches knew that “These … employees are more than numbers: these are people — professionals — who play important roles in the lives of thousands of students throughout our city.”

The coaches see the results… Hite called the layoffs “nothing less than catastrophic for our schools and students… Every aspect of the district will feel the impact — schools, regional offices, and central office — along with employees ranging from senior administrators to support staff.”

I have been amazed by the extent to which the coaches and the student-athletes persist in the desire to pursue higher education… Everyone knows Philly’s students and student-athletes have long received the short end of the stick. Yet, they strive…

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When I show up to talk about NCAA regulations and the kwalifī smartphone app, I am frequently told “I already downloaded it and put my grades in…”

I cannot put into words how that makes me feel… To know that my idea, my concept, my plan has come to fruition and the young people are using it without being prompted nearly made me cry! Youngbucks have called me from Baltimore asking how to interpret their results and I have yet to visit a single school in Maryland.

It’s not just under-performing urban schools… Predominantly white and middle to upper class Upper Moreland, Wissahickon and Pymouth-Whitemarsh have embraced kwalifī. But, the intent was and will always remain to help those who are most needy… For years, I have spent hours and hours with some of the sharpest, most intelligent young men in the country. I have seen many of these guys go on to do great things in college and beyond. Here is a partial list…

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With the kwalifi app, instead of 10-15 per year, we will be able to help tens of thousands!!

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The young brothers pay attention to the message… They ask very good questions…

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I love, love, love this particular project… For us, by us… But everyone should feel free to download and utilize the kwalifī app…

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I will be visiting schools every day for the rest of the school year… If you want us to talk to your guys/girls contact us blackcager@gmail.com…

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We must remain vigilant… We cannot allow a return to the days of yore…

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…and remember… The DEVIL is a LIAR!!

Take Control of YOUR NCAA Eligibility Process: kwalifī app

Happy Holidays!! Here’s my gift to the basketball community… It’s a tool that will allow you to track the progress of young people you care about. It could be your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, neighbor, cousin or just a youngin’ you know with potential.  For a limited time in December, we are making the kwalifī app available for FREE to those that read The Black Cager.

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The kwalifī smartphone app allows high school student-athletes, parents and other concerned adults to track progress toward meeting NCAA DI, DII and NAIA eligibility standards.

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The app is available in both the IPhone App store and Google Play store for Android. Use a keyword search for “Black Cager” to access the FREE download. You can also download kwalifi by clicking on the logo below and following the links on the website…

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If you care about a young student-athlete, download the app… Tell the student-athlete to download the app… Tell his parents to download the app… Take control of the NCAA eligibility process…

It costs you nothing!! This is my gift to the basketball community… Merry Christmas!!

If you do NOT download the app… If you do NOT take control of the NCAA eligibility, the consequences could be severe!!

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For nearly 30 years… The NCAA has been closing the window of opportunity for students…

“A survey by the Associated Press showed the overwhelming majority of players sidelined by NCAA eligibility standards are Black…. Blacks accounted for 81 percent of football ineligibles in 1986 and 90 percent in 1987.”

Reading Eagle, September 9, 1988

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Temple Great Eddie Jones was ineligible as a freshman

“Two members of Temple’s 1990 basketball recruiting class who figured prominently in the Owls’ plans will be ineligible next season because they failed to meet the academic requirements of NCAA Proposition 48, sources said. Sources close to the program said yesterday that Eddie Jones, a highly touted 6-foot-6 swingman from Pompano Beach, Fla., and Aaron McKie, a 6-4 shooting guard from Philadelphia Public League champion Simon Gratz, had scored less than the required 700 of a possible 1,600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or 15 of a possible 36 on the American College Test.

Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 1990

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Sun-Times player of the year Kevin Garnett of Farragut H.S. (photo by Phil Velasquez 2/28/95 Sun-Times) Sun-Times Library files

Kevin Garnett had the high-school grades to qualify to play college basketball, but the standardized test scores were a different story. He easily gained the necessary number in practice tests, and his teachers considered him plenty smart, but try as he might, he kept coming up short when the ACT was given for real. The best he could do was a 16, one point short of the minimum required by the NCAA for freshman eligibility at the time.”

ESPN, February 28, 1995

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Brandon Jennings could not meet NCAA eligibility requirements

Brandon Jennings signed a letter of intent to attend Arizona and planned to stay there only one season. But he struggled to reach a standardized test score to meet the N.C.A.A. minimum for a scholarship. (He and his mother, Alice Knox, said that his last SAT score was questioned by the testing service and that they still had not received it.)”

New York Times, October 4, 2008

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Jonah Bolden (right) in street clothes during UCLA game

“The NCAA has ruled that UCLA freshman Jonah Bolden is a partial qualifier, and as such, will not be able to compete for the men’s basketball team this season,” UCLA said. “The ruling allows for Bolden to continue on athletic scholarship.”

ESPN, September 12, 2014

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Lamonte Turner was not cleared by NCAA

“Tennessee athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak confirmed that Lamonte Turner is unable to compete or travel with the Volunteers this season because he “was not cleared by the NCAA eligibility center.” Satkowiak said Turner will be able to practice with the team. Turner enrolled at Tennessee in August but was awaiting clearance from the NCAA in an attempt to play this season.”

ESPN, September 28, 2015

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Kobie Eubanks lost a scholarship to University of Alabama

“Kobie Eubanks, Alabams’s top recruit in the 2015 class, won’t play for the Crimson Tide after he was not cleared by the NCAA. Eubanks will not enroll at Alabama, Tide head coach Avery Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday.“We are disappointed for Kobie and his family,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, Kobie wasn’t cleared by the NCAA and we couldn’t get him admitted to the University of Alabama. He has a bright future and we wish him well.”

Sports Illustrated, August 19, 2015

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Andy Van Vliet ruled ineligible by NCAA

“Wisconsin forward Andy Van Vliet will not play in the 2015-16 season after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA, UW announced Tuesday night. According to the press release from UW, “NCAA rules state that prospective student-athletes have one year to enroll in a collegiate institution following their high school graduation or expected graduation date. Van Vliet played basketball as an amateur outside of that one-year window, which has resulted in him sitting this season and losing a year of eligibility.”

SB Nation, November 17, 2015

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James Proche ruled ineligible by NCAA

“SMU receiver James Proche, a DeSoto alum, has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2015 season by the NCAA. But don’t get the wrong impression about Proche, who was one of the state’s top-100 recruits in the Class of 2015.”

DallasNews.com, August 25, 2015

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Marcus Lovett cannot play this year

Red Storm freshman guard Marcus LoVett has been deemed a partial qualifier for the 2015-16 season, which basically means that he can practice with the team but cannot play in games. The ruling stems from an investigation into LoVett’s academic credits in high school, as the six-foot point guard attended three different schools.

CBSSports.com, November 11, 2015

2014 Nike EYBL. Session #2. Dallas.

Mickey Mitchell rule ineligible by NCAA

“Ohio State freshman forward Mickey Mitchell has been ruled ineligble, according to a release from the university athletic department. “Freshman forward Mickey Mitchell has not been cleared to compete for the Ohio State men’s basketball team by the NCAA Eligibility Center,” Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith said in the release. “He is eligible to practice but not compete until the issue is resolved.”

Scout.com, November 3, 2015

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Therence Mayimba lost scholarship to George Mason

“We got some sad news yesterday via redshirt freshman Therence Mayimba’s instagram account. It appears that once again he has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and likely keeping him off the college basketball hardwood for good. Recently he’s been playing in the FIBA Afrobasket 2015 tournament for his home nation of Gabon and doing well.”

GMUHoops.com, August 29, 2015

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Jovon Robinson ruled ineligible

“Auburn’s biggest running back on the roster will not be playing for the Tigers this year after the NCAA ruled Jovon Robinson ineligible. The action came after one of his high school guidance counselors at Memphis’ Wooddale High admitted to changing a grade on his transcript.”

Trackemtigers.com, August 18, 2012

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Giovanni McLean lost a scholarship

“The NCAA has issued a temporary waiver allowing Giovanni McLean to continue his studies at the university for the remainder of the fall semester,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “He is, however, prohibited from playing and practicing with the basketball team until the NCAA issues a final decision.”

Q30television.com, November 3, 2014

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Download the kwalifi app NOW!!! Click the link below…

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Do Y’all Even Give A Fuck? Notes of a Madd Ol’Head

With the start of the High School Basketball season upon us, the Black Cager has few things he wants to get off his chest… This information is presented “WITH LOVE” and nothing I write is directed at any particular individual… However…

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Yo… HS Coach, why you tryin’ to get that boy to transfer to your school?

You know the average SAT score at your school is 650… You know the kid is at a good school right now… The average SAT score at his current school is 1280… His science labs have modern, functioning, state of the art equipment… Your school has 15 year old text books and the students have to share those…

Last year, there was one suspension at his school. There was a heated argument and one girl slipped and called another girl an “ugly bitch.” She fucked up and said it in front of that nosey meddlesome group of parents that volunteer at the school 3-4 days a week. Of course, they reported her to the Head Master and his hands were tied… He had to suspend her for one (1) day… That’s as bad as it gets at his current school…

Last year, at your school there were 4-5 fights per day. Everyday, weapons and potential weapons are confiscated as students arrive for their daily trek through the metal detector gauntlet. There are 3 armed police officers assigned to your school. One of the rooms adjacent to the main office has been converted to a “holding cell.” The police make trips to take “offenders” to the station for processing.

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The counselors told you that there were 23 pregnancies at your school. You took three of your players to the clinic when you realized they were “burning.”

C’mon man… How…..

How do you even broach the subject of the kid transferring from such a well regarded, high achieving learning environment to your abysmally under-performing school? One hundred percent of the students at his school are admitted to college and many end up in Ivy League institutions. Conversely, only about 26% of the Black males in your school will actually receive a diploma.

Does high school basketball mean that much to you?

Are you really willing to place your desire to win a league, city and/or state championship above the clear cut “best interests” of this young man?

You’re fucked up!

Yo… AAU coach, why you trying to get that boy to change AAU programs?

He’s been with those guys for six (6) years. When they first got him, he couldn’t make two consecutive layups. He was garbage… No one wanted him.

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That range from anywhere on the floor all the way out to NBA three… It didn’t just appear. Those guys put in hundreds of hours in the gym working on that jumper. That soft touch around the rim, where he uses both hands to finish with a variety of moves, is the result of intensive drills day in day out. You know how he gets in the triple threat position and uses jabs and shot fake? Well, they work so well because those guys spent countless hours improving his first step.

When they got the kid, he was soft as cotton candy. Now, he fights hard to get good position on the block, and even harder when crashing the offensive glass. That’s the result of reinforcing the mental aspects of the game day in and day out for years. They have developed a kid with a strong personality with great confidence who never gets down on himself. There are few doubts about him becoming a big time impact talent at the collegiate level.

Now… You want him to abandon those guys and come play with you?

He already has 23 scholarship offers… How does changing programs benefit him?

Are you really gonna place your desire to win AAU tournaments and secure a shoe company endorsement over what’s best for the kid?

You’re fucked up!

Yo Mom… Why you not playing the parental role?

That boy is only 12… I know he can be a handful. He’s going through that stage. He’s trying to figure out who he is.

He wants to be a baller!

But… Pay attention… I mean… seriously…

Pay attention

You need him to be a student-athlete. Or, should I say STUDENT-athlete! In order to accomplish that goal, he needs his parents to play a parental role.

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Black student-athlete at his desk

I know it seems innocuous… The “mentor” seems nice… He looks out for your son. He picks him up almost every day to go to the gym. He feeds him before he brings him back. He’s given him 6 or 7 pairs of sneakers. I know it feels like a real burden’s been lifted off your back. Those sneaks cost $125-$200 a pair.

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Your son seems happy… He’s traveled to New York, the Jersey Shore, Washington, D.C, Virgina Beach and Orlando to play ball. There’s no way you could have afforded to take him all those places.

I understand… But… Nothing is free…

Here is where you need to be careful. The “mentor” is gonna come and tell you that your son should change schools. He’s gonna tell you that his current school cannot “develop” your son to his full potential. He’s gonna tell you that your son should go to “Big Catholic/Private HS.” He’s gonna tell you it’s a much better school and he may be right in that regard…

What he isn’t telling you is that he has a relationship with the coach at “Big Catholic/Private HS”… He isn’t gonna tell you that the transfer is designed to ensure that he strengthens his “control” over your son’s scholastic basketball career…

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Knowing full well that you can’t afford to pay $9,000, $22,000 or even $30,000 per year, he’s gonna tell you that your son will receive a “scholarship.”

Beware… If your son does not develop as player the “scholarship” funds will disappear. If your family decides to move, you may find out you have accumulated a balance that will have to be paid in full before your school records are released to his new school. If you son has disciplinary issues, you may discover that same balance is due the day they ask you to leave.

I can safely predict that they will tell you that you son need to repeat a grade (reclassify) when he enters “Big Catholic/Private HS.” The stated reason will be that he is inadequately prepared for the more rigorous curriculum. The extra year will allow him to become acclimated to more challenging academic setting. The more pressing, and often unstated, reason is that 19 year old seniors are more effective high school players than 17 or 18 old seniors.

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You may agree with all of the above, but it should ALWAYS be your decision. Do NOT relinquish your parental control.

When the college coaches start to call, text and direct message your son, make sure you are in the loop. It may seem convenient to let the mentor “handle” his recruitment. College coaches are worse than the most persistent bill collector you have ever encountered. They are relentless and the amount of communication can seem overwhelming. But, it’s part of the process.

Always remember that the interests of the mentor and those of your family might be aligned and they also might NOT be aligned. There may be outstanding academic colleges offering your son a scholarship but unwilling to make donations to the mentor’s “program.” If a less prestigious, less competitive college is willing to make a donation to the mentor’s “program” he will steer you toward that program. More importantly, you may never even know the other school offered a scholarship.

Are you really gonna place your convenience above the best interests of your son?

If so, you’re fucked up!

Which begs the question: Do y’all even give a fuck?