Wanna Recruit Philly? Hire One of These Guys!

Real shit I’ve heard in recent months…

From a PAC 12 Head Coach, “Yo man… we gotta get tougher! Who should I be recruiting in Philly?”

From a Patriot League Head Coach, “I really FUCKED UP passing on Ryan Daly (pictured below)… We could have really used his toughness this year!”

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From a C-USA Head Coach, “I love Philly guards… Anybody like Kyle Lowry coming up?”

From a Big 10 Head Coach, “Close the door… real talk… How the FUCK did Charlie Brown (pictured below) end up at St. Joes?”

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These types of interactions are a daily occurrence…

One thing for sure… Philadelphia’s basketball community is complex, challenging and, at times, highly dysfunctional. Successfully recruiting Philly is badge of honor in the college coaching ranks. A lot of coaches can’t get it done…

Shit ain’t easy in the BIG markets…

Philly, Chicago, New York/North Jersey, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, North Carolina, Los Angeles and Detroit… Each area has it’s own set of unwritten rules and traditions…

Make mistakes at your own peril… One bad move can KILL a program recruiting-wise in the region…

Violating these unwritten rules can result in a program and it’s staff being ostracized for years! Gotta know know what to do… Who to see… What to say… When to say it…

In every major market across the country, one will hear local basketball HS/AAU coaches explicitly say, “We don’t FUCK with them… They can’t get NONE of our kids…”

These HS/AAU coaches HOPE you will relay the message to the program in question… They want the college coaches to know they “don’t FUCK with them…”

In most cases, the coaching staff at a particular program has either mistreated one or more of the beloved local schoolboys or they have, in some way, disrespected some of the more important local HS/Grassroots coaches.

Like Run said… “It’s Tricky!”

So…while the sports world is once again focused on HIGH MAJOR Head Coach hiring and firing, we want to take a deep look from a different perspective… The Head Coaching carousel is widely covered by National sports media… When Cuonzo decided to head to Missouri everybody knew within minutes… Same thing with Romar’s termination at Washington…

Far more interesting to the Black Cager, is the following scenario:

Say… a head coach is hired this spring and he wants to recruit Philly… Or, a coach has an opening on his staff and he feels a need to penetrate the Philly market… What should he do? How does the program establish a foothold in the area? How does the staff avoid those nasty Philly potholes?

Here’s my suggestion: Hire somebody from the area that knows what FUCK they are doing!

Let me provide a concrete example…

Take a program like Bowling Green University Men’s Basketball… Bowling Green located in Wood County, Ohio…

Where the FUCK is Wood County, Ohio? I still don’t know…

There’s no significant history of Bowling Green successfully recruiting Philadelphia… How does a program like that reach into Philly and get some quality kids?

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That’s exactly the situation faced by Michael Huger (pictured above) when he was hired as the Bowling Green head coach in April 2015. In May 2015, Huger hired Kevin Noon as Director of Basketball Operations. A year later, he promoted him to Assistant Basketball Coach.

Noon (pictured below) is an unassuming and quiet guy from the Greater Philadelphia Region (Cherry Hill West graduate). He’s also extremely bright and a relentless worker. Noon played at Rider where he walked on to the team as a senior after serving as a team manager for three seasons. Following his senior year, in which he posted the highest GPA in the MAAC, Noon was awarded the Richard H. Bubacz Award for leadership, sportsmanship, and scholarship.  He graduated Manga Cum Laude from Rider in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English writing. Great hire!

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Next thing you know…

Daequan Plowden (pictured below) one of the top players in the Philadelphia Public League committed to play at Bowling Green in November…

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Then…

Matiss Kulackovskis (pictured below) one of the top players in the Philadelphia Catholic League committed to play at Bowling Green in February…

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Bowling FUCKIN’ Green! Where the FUCK is Wood County again?

Coach Noon is a clean slate… No basketball enemies… Just an earnest hardworking college assistant coach that was given a chance. As an alum and former staffer at Rider, he has keen awareness of the fertile nature of the Philadelphia region… He’s seen Mike Ringgold (Roman Catholic), Brandon Penn (Robeson), Danny Stewart (Neumann-Goretti), Novar Gadson (Bartram), Junior Fortunat (Roman Catholic), Anthony Durham (Abington) and others have success at the collegiate level. He knows how to relate to Philly… He knows how to talk to Philly…

In a very short period of time, Noon has helped Bowling FUCKIN’ Green become a player in the Philadelphia region!

Who’s next? Who will be given an opportunity like the one that Huger gave to Noon?

Who is the next Horace Owens? Geoffrey Arnold? Ashley Howard? Aaron McKie? Mark Bass?

Who should Head Coaches be interviewing if they want to recruit the talent laden Philadelphia Catholic, Philadelphia Public, Inter-Ac, Del-Val and Suburban One Leagues?

Who can land players from K-Low Elite, Team Final, Philly Pride, WeRone and the Jersey Shore Warriors?

Black Cager held a roundtable discussion and considered 25-30 guys that could help a college staff right now. Participating in the discussion were Delgreco Wilson, Amauro Austin, Kamal Yard and Paul Gripper. While I appreciate the input from my Black Cager colleagues, the blame for any errors and omissions lies with me… The final list was my call…

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Sean Colson (pictured above)… An extremely successful high school coach, Colson has taken a moribund Martin L. King, HS program and built it into one of the top 3 in Philadelphia’s Public League. He can be found at or near the top of the standings and playing for the Public League Championship every year. He is also one of the top grassroots coaches in the region. Two years ago, his Philly Pride 17U (Under Armour Association) featured Charles Brown, Jr (SJU, A10 All-Rookie), Stevie Jordan (Rider, MAAC All-Rookie), DeAndre Hunter (Virginia), Jaekwon Carlyle (Hampton), Tyere Marshall (Rider) and Lapri Pace McCray (Putnam Science-Prep). Colson’s teaching ability is evidenced through his role as a national trainer for Under Armour which allows him to work with elite scholastic players at Steph Curry’s Camp and Under Armour All-American camp. Colson is a proven basketball coach and skills trainer. He would be an asset for any program looking to establish relationships and recruit in Philadelphia.

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Matt Griffin (pictured above)… In his first year heading the storied Roman Catholic program, Griffin quickly established his coaching bona fides in the highly competitive Philadelphia Catholic League. Despite losing 3 Big 10 players, Griffin kept the Cahillites in the running and had them, once again, in the Final Four at the Palestra. He spent time at St. Joseph’s Prep working under Speedy Morris. Perhaps, more importantly, he’s spent a lifetime sitting at the dinner table with his father, former St. Joe’s and Siena Head Coach, John Griffin and his brother, Bucknell assistant, John Griffin, Jr. Griffin is a highly organized and highly motivated coach. He’s demonstrated an ability to get kids to play extremely hard while maintaining their composure.

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Kyle Sample (pictured above)… An old youngbuck, Sample has been coaching with Team Philly/K-Low Elite for more than a decade. During that period, they have produced more than 70 players that have received college scholarships. One of the more highly respected young coaches in Philadelphia, Sample consistently established very strong relationships with players and parents in their program. He is also able to work with coaches and administrators in other Grassroots programs as well. A true gymrat, Sample finds time to work with players ranging from elite D1 prospects to novice players being introduced to the game for the first time. He treats everyone with the upmost respect.

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Donnie Carr (above right)… One of the most well-liked members of Philadelphia’s basketball community, Carr was a legendary schoolboy and Big 5 player. Currently a non-coaching assistant at Hartford University, he has relationships that extend throughout Philadelphia and beyond. Carr has experience recruiting scholarship level players at the Division 2 level from his stint on R.C. Kehoe’s staff at Holy Family. He coached some of the very best players in the Philadelphia region while working with Nike Team Final on the EYBL circuit. There is not a gym or home in Philadelphia where Carr wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms. This Claude Gross protege is the perfect blend of old school tradition with new school awareness. The addition of Donnie Carr would bring instant credibility to any college basketball program seeking talent in Philadelphia.

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Jason Harrigan (above center)… The 2016 Daily News Philadelphia High School Basketball Coach of the Year, Harrigan just competed his first year as Head Coach of the O’Hara Boy’s Basketball team. In his final year at Del Val Charter School, Harrigan led his team to playoff victories over powerhouse Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep on neutral court. Known for extensive game preparation, Harrigan is very meticulous in his approach. He has played a crucial role in the development of some of the finest guards in the Public League including Antwan Butler, Semaj Mobley and Makhi Morris. His players exhibit fierce loyalty to Harrigan and he works tirelessly to place them in college. Harrigan is a rising star within Philadelphia’s scholastic coaching ranks.

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David Anwar (above right)… True Philly hoop heads know and respect the name David Anwar. Casual hoop fans might ask: Who? You see Anwar, a Philadelphia native, has toiled in the hinterlands of Arkansas, Nebraska and Texas… Arkansas-Fort Smith earned a 101-29 record with Anwar on the bench, including a pair of top-seven national finishes in 2001 (fifth) and 2002 (seventh). He then moved on to join the staff at Texas El-Paso (UTEP) before going to Nebraska. For the past 5 seasons, Anwar has been on the staff at North Texas. Incredibly well connected, Anwar would bring a wealth of knowledge to any Division 1 program. Over the years, Anwar has made sure his recruits graduate on time. He is one of the most honest and trustworthy guys in the business.

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Aaron Burt (pictured above)… As the Coach of the Nike Team Final 17U (EYBL) program, Burt has gained an immeasurable amount of experience working with high major and mid major basketball prospects. He is able to help young men understand that they have a specific role to play within an organization with big goals. The importance of that skill cannot be overstated. In an era where every kid and parent is thinking “one and done” Burt is able to adeptly balance individual aspirations with organizational goals. His relationships with HS coaches at the top Philadelphia High School basketball programs and his experience coaching McDonald’s All-Americans and future NBA players makes him an outstanding candidate for any college assistant opening.

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Randy Monroe (pictured above)… Been there… Done that… If you are trying to mitigate risk in your hire, if you want someone with extensive experience… Hire Randy Monroe! He was an Assistant at the D2 level in the PSAC (Cheyney), at the D1 level in the A10 (La Salle), in the SEC (Vanderbilt) and in the America East (UMBC). As a D1 Head Coach, he led UMBC to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008. Highly respected by everyone in Philadelphia Scholastic/Grassroots basketball circles, Monroe is the clear choice if experience is the deciding factor.

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Brian Daly (pictured above)… While he’s been a D1 assistant in the Patriot League (Boston) and the Big 10 (Penn State), he’s probably best known as Ryan Daly’s Dad these days. Daly is highly regarded by everyone in Philadelphia. He was awarded the prestigious Markward Award as the best player in the Philadelphia Catholic League in 1989 while playing for Monsignor Bonner. He competed collegiately at St. Joseph’s University. As a HS coach, he developed a reputation for caring about the academic and social well-being of his players. An excellent communicator, Daly is able to help parents understand and navigate the recruiting process. His relationships with Philadelphia’s basketball community served him well at both Boston University and Penn State. Both programs witnessed a surge in Philadelphia recruits while Daly was on staff. Most importantly, Daly is laser focused on making sure his players matriculate. Whenever, he decides to jump back in, he should be high on the list of anyone seeking a Philly-based assistant coach.

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Jazz Williams (above center)… Quietly, Williams has established himself as one of the premier young basketball coaches in the region. For a few years, he was the only Black head coach working in the Philadelphia Catholic League. Williams has an excellent rapport with young men and their families under his tutelage. Currently, he is on the coaching staff at The Haverford School and K-Low Elite (Adidas Guantlet). Williams has been extremely valuable in helping young men transition into a highly competitive academic institution. A very intelligent and thoughtful young man, Williams would be an ideal assistant coaching candidate in the Ivy and Patriot League programs or any program committed to placing educational development on par with athletic competition.

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Bobby Jordan (pictured above)… If a Head Coach wants to get in every gym and become acquainted with everyone in Philadelphia, then he should hire and walk in with Jordan. Currently, serving as the Athletic Director at Girard College, Jordan is a Bruiser Flint protege. He played for Flint, at Drexel, after graduating from Roman Catholic. Jordan is high-energy and extremely engaging. A true “hoophead” he will discuss middle school girls basketball just as quickly as high major college men’s college basketball. He has an extensive network of acquaintances and confidants that keep him tapped directly into the artery of Philadelphia’s basketball talent. Passionate about Philly hoops, Jordan consistently works hard to help kids even when he has no skin the game. This makes him a very attractive assistant coaching candidate for those that need to make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail in the Philadelphia region.

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David Butts (above left)… Every year young people develop new ways of communicating… The slang changes… The greetings change… The technology changes… It can be very challenging to keep up. Within Philadelphia’s coaching community, Butts may have the best handle on what the kids are thinking, saying and doing. He is immersed in grassroots community. Butts knows what the kid’s aspirations are… He knows what they are trying to achieve through basketball… He’s able to engage and communicate with Philly’s young players in way that is truly admirable. He’s currently an Assistant Coach at Rosemont College just outside Philadelphia.

Of course, there are others equally, if not more qualified, to recruit Philadelphia. But these guys have excellent jobs or are just starting on their respective gigs. But hey… It don’t cost nothing to reach out… Andre Noble (Imhotep Head Coach) is the most decorated coach in the Public League over the past 20 years. Jamie Ross (Frankford Head Coach) has been a part of three state championship teams in recent years. Skip Robinson (WeRone Coach) is an integral part of an emerging grassroots dynasty. Larry Yarbray (Chester Coach) fields ultra competitive squads year in and year out. Mike Scott (Paris JUCO, TX) has quietly emerged as a top flight recruiter in a superb JUCO conference. Marvin Stinson (Audenreid Assistant) has helped build a strong Public League program and continues to run one of the premier middle school grassroots programs (Bottom Ballers) in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Lou Daniels (Manor JUCO Coach) has done an exceptional job in his first year as a Head Coach after assisting at Scotland Prep. Al Crockett (K-Low Elite Coach) is recognized as one of the top developers of basketball skills in Philadelphia. Terrance “Nip” Cook (Mastery Charter North) is building a powerhouse Public League program and developing scholarship players. Justin Scott (Arcadia Coach) is one of the premier small college coaches in the Greater  Philadelphia Region. Ellis “Chuck Ellis” Gindraw is the founder of “Chuck Ellis Workouts” and long-time small college assistant.

Wanna recruit Philly? Hire one of these guys!

Seriously…

Black Cager Scouting Report: Jalen Carey… NJ Playa!

Last year, Immaculate Conception came to South Jersey to play in the Black Cager Fall Classic. That day, Jalen Carey exhibited a well rounded and sophisticated backcourt game. He was named the New Jersey MVP.

More recently, he was ranked #78 in the nation by 24/7 Sports and the #13 shooting guard by ESPN.

A very mature and loyal young man, he plays for Immaculate Conception HS in Montclair, NJ and the NJ Playaz Basketball Club on the Nike EYBL circuit.

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Carey currently holds offers from the following colleges & universities:

Minnesota

UConn

Saint Peter’s

Penn State

DePaul

Saint Joseph’s

Pitt

Seton Hall

VCU

Fairleigh Dickinson

Temple

Rutgers

Rhode Island

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Tribulations of a Basketball Junkie: Martin L. King Let Me Down!

I confess… I am an addict… I am a degenerate basketball junkie…

I drive all over the Greater Philadelphia Region and beyond in search of my fix…

I NEED to see good competitive, well played basketball games! My addiction is full blown!

In just the past couple of weeks, I’ve been to Baltimore, Bensalem, Bryn Mawr, Malvern, Souderton, 54th and City Ave., 33rd and Walnut and tonight Solly Ave in Northeast Philadelphia chasing… I’ve seen Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, JUCO and high school contests.

All in search of a really good fuckin’ basketball game. Sometimes I come across that good, good…

For example, last Thursday, I watched Martin L. King take mighty Imhotep, ranked 6th in the nation, to the brink of defeat. It was really, really UGLY, but it was GOOD… In a hard fought defeat, King controlled the game throughout much of the first three quarters before falling 53-49 in overtime. Photo below (PennLive/Daniel Gallen)

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That game was full of missed shots, fouls, turnovers… It more closely resembled a bare-knuckle backyard brawl than a basketball game. Shit… I kept waiting to see Kimbo Slice emerge from the King huddle and check in the game. Even though he never appeared, I got my fix… I did witness Wil McNair, standing 6’10” and weighing about 250 lbs team with 6’6” 225 lb Elijah Kiah-El to meet Imhotep’s extraordinary athletes at the rim time after time. Repeatedly, Donta Scott, Dave Beatty and Koby Thomas tried to go over and through the King bigs. Over and over, they were turned away, shots rejected. Repeatedly, they regrouped, reloaded and came back to challenge the big boys somewhere near or over the rim.

This was “good basketball”… Not pretty, not elegant, not fluid… But good…

In the end, Imhotep’s lightning quick superstar Daron “Fatts” Russell was able to impose himself on the less experienced King guards and will Imhotep to the Public League title. Fatts is dat dude! The Pub’s best player on the best team got it done. Nonetheless, I was impressed with King’s performance and their effort.

For a few days, at least, my urges were satiated…

However, the monkey soon reappeared on my back… I was unable to resist the pull of the Palestra, the Catholic League Championship was calling me…

“Gonna be some GOOD basketball” (photo by Zamani Feelings)

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The matchup featured the Philly player having the greatest high school career, Quade Green, going against the player having the greatest high school season, Collin Gillespie. Had to be there..

We all know how that ended… Green and Neumann-Goretti jumped out early and took control of the game. He was able to impose his will and Wood was down 13 at the half, with Gilllespie limited to a mere 2 points… Things looked bleak…

Truth be told… an informal survey among several media members (Randy Miller, Amauro Austin and myself) at halftime gave Wood less than a snowball’s chance in hell to comeback and win… But…

Collin Gillespie is a BAD MUTHAFUCKA!

He finished with 24 points and Wood wins going away.

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This set up what seemed to be an intriguing matchup tonight. Big, bruising, intimidating, aggressive Martin L. King versus the Wood basketball orchestra conducted by Maestro Gillespie.

Now… we all know junkies don’t think straight… Why should I be any different?

Listen to this dumb shit…

I told several of my friends, I think Martin L. King might be able to win. After playing to a full house of 9,000+ in the majestic Palestra, the tiny gym on Solly Ave. couldn’t be an exciting venue. After defeating Neuman-Goretti, Quade Green and Carl Arrigale for the second time this season, Wood had to ripe for a let down. Right? McNair and Kiah-El would be problematic for the competitive, determined and rail thin Seth Pickney. Right?

I envisioned a scenario where the bigger, stronger King players would impose themselves on Wood and cause the symphony to miss a few notes for a change. No way Wood would be able just pick apart Sean Colson’s staunch defense. After all, King just hit mighty Imhotep with body blows, upper cuts and right crosses for four full quarters before finally yielding in overtime.

King’s toughness would be problematic for Wood’s precision… Right?

Fuuuuuuuuuuck no!

How bad was the beat down? Let me try to explain… Let’s put it in a comparative context…

Those of you of a certain age might remember the “body bag game” between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins 27 years ago. The score that Monday Night was 28-14. A defeat for sure, but nothing epic is reflected in that score. To get a true sense of the magnitude of that particular beat down, one has examine the injury report.

Buddy Ryan’s defense knocked NINE (9) Redskins out of the game with injuries… Nine players left the game and did not return… Simply stated, it was a complete ASS Whuppin…

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I really hadn’t thought about that game until riding home from the Wood-MLK game trying to think of an adequate comparison for what I just watched. How do I convey the extent to which the Catholic League champ crushed the soul of one of the Public League powers?

There I sat, in the balcony with bleachers at full capacity… Good thing the Fire Marshall’s kid wasn’t playing… eagerly anticipating a “good game”…

I was ready…

I needed my fix… I needed a good, competitive and hard-fought basketball game…

Man… Let me tell you… King let me down… Right out the gate…

After 3 minutes of play, the score was Wood 16 – Martin L. King 2.

From there, shit went downhill.

The maestro was in his bag…. Weaving in an out of the King defense, Gillespie dribbled effortlessly right around the King bigs until he located one of his snipers standing, feet set, elbows cocked and ready to rain 3’s.

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The net was barely moving. One after the other, Cerruti, Pickron and Funk hit the back of rim and the ball fell straight down. You could see it developing, Gillespie created space… off a screen, crossover or an in and out dribble absconded his defender… on the loose, he came straight at the King bigs, head up, surveying the entire court… As soon as defenders committed he made a no look and extremely accurate skip pass to Cerruti, Pickron or Funk… for 3…. Splash!

After 4 minutes of play, Wood 21, MLK 6…

It’s worth noting, the Wood wings weren’t the only ones having fun… Seth Pickney and Julius Phillips caught the occasional Wood miss and slammed the ball back through the rim with tremendous force. Hanging on the rim, like second graders discovering monkey bars for the first time, they severely tested the springs in the breakaway mechanism.

With 38 seconds left in the 1st half, Wood 43, MLK 24…

I’m almost ashamed to admit I couldn’t shake my junkie tendencies… I kept hoping and believing the King team I watched against Imhotep would somehow make an appearance. I waited for a run… I pleaded for several consecutive stops on the defensive end… I wanted to see some “good basketball!”

I was trippin’…

With 4:08 left in the game, Wood 81, MLK 43…

Alas, I had to deal with the fact that I wouldn’t get my fix tonight… I had to face facts… King let me down…

No good basketball on Solly Ave… Just a good ol’ fashioned “Ass Whuppin”…

Yo… What time Booty play Quade tomorrow?

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…

Devil is Liar

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

James Proche

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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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?

 

Aaron McKie, Tyrone Pitts: From Evictions to Big 5 Success

What do you see in this picture?

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Aaron McKie, Temple ’94 and Tyrone Pitts, Penn ’88

Most people probably see two American success stories… Aaron McKie (left) earned over $50 million dollars over the course of a solid 13-year NBA career. Drafted in the 1st round of the 1994 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, McKie was a key player for Portland, Detroit and Philadelphia. He finished his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Philly hoop heads will see a Simon Gratz High School graduate. They will recall his prolific three-year career at Temple (1991-92 thru 1993-94). A Big 5 legend, McKie started for all 92 games of his career, averaging 17.9 points per game while leading the Owls to 60 wins, three NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 1993 Elite Eight.

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Hall of Fame Coach, John Chaney and Aaron McKie

McKie was an honorable mention All-American (1993). He was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 (1993, 1994) and a member A-10 All-Championship team (1993). He balled out in the local rivalry games and was named first team all-Big 5 every year of his college career (1992, 1993, 1994). In addition, McKie was named Atlantic 10 Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year for his performance in the 1992-93 season, when he averaged a team-best 20.6 points per game.

Tyrone Pitts (top right), born and raised in Camden, New Jersey, is the largest minority general contractor in Southern New Jersey. This year, his firm KL Pitts Construction will generate in excess of $20 million in revenue. Like McKie, Pitts made his mark playing in Philadelphia’s Big 5.

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Tyrone Pitts with a picture depicting the balance between books and basketball

A high flying Palestra favorite and an All-Ivy League player, Pitts finished his career at the University of Pennsylvania with 1301 points. After trying out for the Philadelphia 76ers, Pitts embarked upon a highly successful 7 year professional career in several overseas leagues. Once his playing days were over, he returned to the Ivy league an assistant coach with Cornell University.

Longing to return to the Camden/Philadelphia region, Pitts joined Speedy Morris’ staff at LaSalle University. However, his training in Wharton business school allowed him to see business opportunities where others could not. For a while, he tried to maintain his responsibilities as a basketball coach and manage his investments in Camden real estate.

It soon became obvious that he would have to devote his full attention to managing over 100 full-time construction workers on multiple commercial, public and residential projects. Over the past year or so, his firm has totally renovated 175 low-income housing units in Camden and built a 110 unit senior housing complex in Lindenwold, New Jersey.

What you don’t see in the picture…

You don’t see the scared and insecure boys that came home from school to find padlocks on their front doors and their family’s precious few belonging strewn across the sidewalk. “I was in seventh grade when we got evicted from our house,” Pitts said. ”You can imagine the feeling I had. You come out of your house and see your things lying on the sidewalk. That feeling that hit me that day was something that I’d never like to come back to me again. From then on, I was kind of determined to succeed.”

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Belongings on sidewalk following eviction

Addressing a group of children and community organizers at a Philadelphia Youth Basketball Foundation event, McKie conveyed the same feeling. “I came home one day and we were evicted. All I can remember is that there was a big padlock on our door and we no longer lived there. I’ll never forget that feeling.”

Pitts and McKie came of age in the 1980‘s. Cities like Philadelphia and Camden were in the throes of the crack epidemic. North Philadelphia and Camden had long been poor, highly segregated neighborhoods in which a majority of individual adults were either unemployed, had dropped out or never been a part of the labor force. Most of their peers were dropping out of school and many were entry level “lookouts” or “hand to hand” participants in the booming illegal street drug game.

But not these guys…

Pitts and McKie embraced sport as a way to help them develop and become productive citizens by learning life lessons. Despite growing up in the midst of despair and chaos, they were able to develop positive social sphere through sports. Basketball participation offered countless opportunities for socialization activities such as team work, fair play, respect for others and personal discipline.

Forced to deal with evictions and all that goes with that process, Pitts and McKie used basketball to develop coping mechanisms for anxiety, stress, and other factors that make up a low income urban Black male adolescent’s life.

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A street in Camden, New Jersey

They leveraged basketball for access to education…

For McKie and his Temple running mate, Eddie Jones, it was a close call. Both were declared ineligible as freshmen by the NCAA. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer in July 1990, “Sources close to the program said 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.”

Time out…

Think about this for a minute… In 2013, the average SAT score at Simon Gratz High School was 682. Keep in mind that in 1994, four years after McKie and Jones sat for the test, the nation’s SAT scores were “recentered.” In other words means that every child in America got something like 100 free points added to his score. So… the current Gratz HS average of 682 is equivalent to 582 when McKie actually sat for the exam. That’s an indicator of how poorly the academic program at Gratz prepares students for college entrance exams.

Gratz kids ain’t supposed to make it… Shit… only 26% of Black males graduate in four years from Philadelphia’s woefully under-performing public schools.

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The NCAA has spent thirty years closing the window of opportunity for guys like McKie and Jones. They were fortunate to have John Chaney in a position to give them an opportunity to play collegiate basketball. For that, McKie is eternally grateful…

“This is the university that gave me an opportunity at life when no one else wanted to,” McKie said. “I was a Prop 48 coming in … I’m forever grateful to Temple … I was able to get my degree in 4 years.”

Pitts made the transition from the hardscrabble streets of Camden to one of the most competitive and highly regarded business schools in the nation. He has been able to apply his business education and improve the lives of Camden residents. His firm has been responsible for the construction and/or renovation of thousands of units of low-income and market rate housing. He employs hundreds of Camden residents in high paying construction jobs.

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Recognizing the importance of education, Pitts also co-founded the Arline Institute which provided small-group tutoring to over 6,000 low-income students attending under-performing public schools.

According to Pitts, “Attending Wharton allowed me to develop the skills necessary to apply the theories needed to overcome challenges in places like Camden. It helped me be in a position to make a positive impact.”

Basketball was the gateway for these success stories. When they had nowhere to live, they had their teams. They had their youth coaches. They had the structure that basketball provided. It helped them avoid the fate that befell so many of their contemporaries.

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The Re-Emergence of Black Consciousness Within the Sports Community

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The term ‘Black Consciousness’ stems from the great Black sociologist W.E.B. Dubois’ development of the concept of the ‘double consciousness.’ Seeking to make sense of the Black American experience a century ago, DuBois coined the term in an Atlantic Monthly article titled “Strivings of the Negro People.” It was later republished and slightly edited under the title “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” in his famous book, The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois describes double consciousness as follows:

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.”

Black consciousness among athletes reached it’s zenith in the 1960s.  Perhaps, the most glaring example of Black social consciousness during that era took place on June 4, 1967 at 105-15 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. On this glorious day, Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns), Bill Russell (Boston Celtics), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (UCLA), John Wooten (Cleveland Browns), Jim Shorter (Washington Redskins), Willie Davis (Green Bay Packers), Curtis McClinton (Kansas City Chiefs), Sid Williams (Cleveland Browns) and Bobby Mitchell (Washington Redskins) met with Muhammad Ali and then held a news conference in support of his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967.

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Prominent Black Athletes Supporting Muhammad Ali, June 4, 1967

Twenty years later, John Chaney and John Thompson boldly and brazenly exhibited their Black consciousness by condemning the NCAA’s naked attempt to “close the doors of opportunity to poor Black student-athletes.

“The NCAA is a racist organization of the highest order,” said John Chaney on January 12, 1989. “On this day, it instituted a new punishment on black kids who have already been punished because they are poor. Any time the NCAA, which is 90 percent white, considers the youngsters in Division I basketball and football, it discriminates, because 89 percent of the kids are black. I wonder what message they are sending. It’s another hardship for black kids made by white folk.”

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Hall of Fame Coach, John Chaney

A couple of days after John Chaney excoriated the NCAA, John Thompson, then coach at Georgetown, walked off the court before a Big East Game against Boston College. Thompson said that he would not coach in an N.C.A.A. sanctioned game ”until I am satisfied that something has been done to provide these student-athletes with appropriate opportunity and hope for access to college.”

There can be no doubt that Chaney and Thompson were conscious. They obviously felt their two-ness. They are both American  and Black. In their public pronouncements one can almost literally see their “two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

These days we are bombarded with stories of urban Black student-athletes and student-athletes from Africa being declared ineligible by the NCAA. They window is closing… Just as Chaney and Thompson noted nearly 30 years ago, the NCAA has “instituted a new punishment on black kids who have already been punished because they are poor.”

Fortunately, there has emerged a level of consciousness among some prominent Black members of the basketball community. Accompanying this increased consciousness, has been some innovative and exciting efforts to lift up young Black students and student-athletes. Athletes are helping younger Blacks understand what they have to accomplish and they are working to provide the necessary tools.

The greatest example of contemporary Black consciousness among athletes has to be LeBron James giving kids from Akron — ones with challenging backgrounds like his — the chance to go to college for free. Jame has partnered with the University of Akron to provide a guaranteed four-year scholarship to the school for students in James’ I Promise program who qualify. The scholarship will cover tuition and the university’s general service fee — currently $9,500 per year.

The developers of the kwalifī smartphone app are trying to empower and increase the level of consciousness among high school student-athletes and their families. They want to put famileis in position to take advantage of scholarship opportunities. The kwalifī smartphone app makes it easy to track individual progress toward meeting NCAA and NAIA eligibility requirements.

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The kwalifi app has been embraced by some of the most prominent and influential members of the Black basketball community. In cities like Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC and Houston, TX socially conscious Black men are working to increase awareness of NCAA rule changes. Conscious Blacks in the basketball community are working to increase the level of awareness among those coming after them.

Seton Hall great Marcus Toney-El (NJ Playaz), Vincent Robinson (Robinson School) and Roland Whitley (NC State) are leading the charge in Northern New Jersey. Kamal Yard (Philly Pride), Rodney Veney (Philly Pride), Amauro Austin (Philly Pride), Eric Worley (Philly Triple Threat), Charles Monroe (All-City Classic) Paul Gripper (Team Phenom), Steve Pina (ASM Sports) Lonnie Lowry (Team Philly), Terrell Myers (WeRone Hoops) and Aaron Burt (Team Final) are educating Philadelphia area student-athletes and parents about the new rules. In Baltimore, Nick Myles (St. Frances) and Rod Harrison (Mount Zion Prep) are trying hep Black kids access college scholarship opportunities.

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Rich Paul, Klutch Sports Group – LeBron James’ Agent

Curtis Symonds has embraced the kwalifi movement after a spectacular career as a Senior Executive with ESPN and BET. He is working to increase awareness of the rule changes in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, MD. Former McDonald’s All-American Jawann McClellan is working with Houston families.

There is widespread consensus that the recent rule changes will have disparate negative impact on poor Black and African student-athletes. The is also widespread commitment to helping families take control of their eligibility process. The kwalifi app is a tool that empowers individual student-athletes.

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Josh Selby and Bay Frazier, Frazier Sports Management – Carmelo Anthony’s Business Manager

Social consciousness is re-emerging amongst Black athletes. The kwalifī app is THE tool for conscious student-athletes and their families.

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