The 1st annual All-Academic Invitational for boy’s high school basketball was held on Sat. April 8 at the University of the Sciences. All those invited were required to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.
80 student-athletes from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties were invited to participate.
The university fitness center played host to four games. Each exhibition game showcased great student-athletes from their graduating class.
Hopefully this will be an annual event and a way to help promote and showcase student-athletes whom have the skills on and off the court.
The event began with a speech from the Mayor of Philadelphia and alumnus of Saint Joe’s Prep, Jim Kenney.
For seniors, the exhibition game was one last opportunity to play with teammates and against former rivals. Lincoln High School seniors Marlon Sharpton and Nadir Coleman said the speed of the game and the sense of community added to the experience. “It was a good opportunity for us to show our talents,” said Sharpton. Coleman added, “And it was fun because we know everybody here.”
While the Invitational exhibition games were a fun way for seniors to close out their careers, the importance of being asked to participate was not lost on underclassman.
“It feels good,” said Neumann-Goretti freshman Amir Shields. “I always pride myself on doing good on and off the court, in the books and on the court.”
“It was great. Hard work in the class room pays off,” said Abington Friends sophomore Darius Brown.
The event was hosted by Shoot Basketballs NOT People and Push For Peace.
Amir Shields, freshman, Neumann Goretti
Neumann Goretti freshman Amir Shields is never satisfied with his game. At Saturday’s All-Academic Invitational, he reflected on his freshman year and next season.
“It could always be better,” said Shields. “I played alright. I worked with the opportunities that I got, but there’s always room for improvement,” he added.
As his freshman year draws to a close, Shields is carrying that attitude with him into the offseason. “My goal is just keep getting better and improving my game,” he said.
Deuce Turner, freshman, Malvern
“Work to the point of exhaustion.” That’s how Malvern Prep’s rising star, freshman Deuce Turner described his plans for the offseason.
After a 10-13 season, Turner is looking to build on a tough season. “It wasn’t as great as I expected, but it was a really great start to build on,” he said.
Turner was a bright spot for Friars basketball, averaging 19.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman. He has already proven to be a crucial part of Malvern rebuilding for the future.
“Our youth is a big positive. We have mostly freshman and sophomores.”
When asked about his goals for next year, Turner said “Make it to the championship and play West Town.”
Khai Champion, freshman, The Shipley School
Darius Brown, sophomore, Abington Friends
Going into the 2017-18 season, Abington Friends sophomore Darius Brown plans to bring added strength to the court.
At Saturday’s All-Academic Invitational, Brown spoke about his sophomore season and plans for the off season. “There was room to improve,” said Brown. Moreover, he declared that he needed to “work on a lot of ball handling, off season lifting.”
When asked about his goals for next season, Brown replied in one focused sentence: “Next year, got to get stronger.”
Brown credits his head coach for motivating him to start preparing for next season. He states, “Right now I’ve been doing lifting a lot. I’ve been doing clinics with Coach Chadwin. He’s the one who got me into this, so thank you to him.”
Alvin Williams, sophomore, Delaware Valley Charter School
Taalib Holloman, sophomore, Abington High School
Marlon Sharpton & Nassir Coleman, seniors Lincoln HS
Lincoln High School seniors Nassir Coleman and Marlon Sharpton closed out their high school careers on Saturday as both were invited to the All-Academic Invitational.
The two teammates said they enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the exhibition game. “With the speed of the game, it was a good opportunity for us to show our talents,” said Sharpton. Coleman said that the familiarity with the other players involved added to the experience: “It was fun because we know everybody here.”
While both are still undecided about where they’ll be playing next season, they reflected on their time together as teammates and the success they had in their senior season.
“Great senior season. Going to the state playoffs, where we’ve never been, it was great. It was great for us,” said Coleman. “Especially coming in together, we were always pushing each other harder and harder. So to get there with him was a big accomplishment.”
Corchado Kente, senior, Tacony Academy Charter School
(Photo Credit: Jack Kapp / Video Credit: Frankie Stokes)