Jihad Ward, a former Bok Tech football star who went on to have a brilliant junior college career at Globe Institute of Technology in New York City, will play Division I football this fall at the University of Illinois. Ward, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound defensive tackle, will be playing major college football in the Big Ten Conference.
“I like Big Ten football,” Ward said. “We play schools like Penn State. I feel comfortable going there. I had heard from a lot of schools like West Virginia, South Florida, Tennessee, Washington, Texas Tech and Purdue. There were a lot of big schools. I just had to shorten my list. My top three schools were Illinois, South Florida and West Virginia.”
Cameron Chadwick, Globe Tech head football coach, feels Ward should be able to play some good football for the Illini.
“I’m excited that he chose Illinois,” Chadwick said. “Illinois is a great school academically. I feel the program is going to give him the best opportunity to play right away. I think the system fits him. They’re a 4-3 team. I think him playing multiple positions like d-tackle and d-end will benefit him. I just think it’s a great fit for him.”
According to 247 Sports, Ward is ranked at the nation’s No. 2 JUCO defensive tackle and No. 6 prospect overall. The ex-Public League star played wide receiver and safety in high school.
“I’ve been working on everything,” Ward said. “I’m working on my technique and speed. I used to play wide receiver and safety when I played in high school. I’m bigger now. I moved to the defensive line. I played defensive tackle.”
Ward played his scholastic football for coaches Frank Natale and Tom DeFelice. He didn’t play youth league football like many players do today. He didn’t start playing football until his freshman year at Bok Tech.
“I was a basketball player,” Ward said. “I actually didn’t start playing football until the ninth grade. Coach DeFelice had seen me play basketball. He asked me about playing football. So, I came out for the team. He put at wide receiver. Then, he had me playing safety. I have to really thank him.”
Ward had made some big strides in terms of his football talents. The sky could be the limit for him.
Gene Banks will receive a very special honor next month as one of 15 former standouts selected to the 2014 ACC Men’s Basketball Legends Class. This year’s class features such outstanding players as John Lucas (Maryland) Wayne “Tree” Rollins (Clemson), Dave Bing (Syracuse), Julius Hodge (North Carolina State), among others.
The legends will be recognized at this year’s ACC men’s basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. March 12-16. Banks was a scholastic All-American at West Philadelphia High School. He led the Speedboys to three Public League championships. He had a 79-2 record during his high school career (1975-1977).
He played his college basketball at Duke University. In 1978, Banks led Duke to the NCAA Finals. He was one of the top players in ACC history. The four-time All-ACC honoree finished his career with 2,079 points and 985 rebounds. He is looking forward to the ceremony, where he will be joining a sensational group of basketball greats.
“I feel very honored because of the fact that people still carry on and my name is still very strong,” Banks said. “I’m overwhelmed at this moment. I’m looking forward to connecting with John Lucas. Dave Bing is someone I’ve been impressed with not only in basketball, but by what he’s done with his business career. I think being in a class with these people, and I don’t want to be clichest, but it’s rare. It’s a rare commodity. It’s going to be on national TV. There’s a dinner and a brunch. It’s going to be like a Super Bowl with the media people. It’s going to be very impressive. “
Banks played with the Blue Devils from 1977 to 1981. The 6-foot-7 forward played the game with power, strength and quickness. He played his first three seasons for head coach Bill Foster. His last season was under Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Banks guided the Blue Devils to three NCAA tournament appearances as well as a trip to the Final Four. In 1977, he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year. In 1981, he led the ACC in scoring.
“The memories are very strong,” Banks said. “We connect with people through all of this. My connection with Duke is still very strong. It’s wonderful for me to be able to connect with these people in appreciation of my abilities.”
In 1981, Banks was a second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs. He played six seasons in the NBA, four with San Antonio and two with the Chicago Bulls. He also played professional basketball in Italy and Israel. He has received a great deal of recognition over the years. In 2012, he was honored by the Philadelphia Association of Black Sports and Culture. The ACC Men’s Basketball Legends is another opportunity to recognize his basketball exploits and reflect on a great college career.
Some of the best basketball has been played on the playgrounds. There’s a documentary titled “16th and Philly,” which explores rise and fall of one of the country’s most notable playground basketball leagues held at 16th Street and Susquehanna Avenue in North Philadelphia. The playground has drawn comparisons to New York City’s “Rucker Park” League.
Isaiah Nathaniel, executive producer and Diamond Eye Sports, have put together a sports film that should bring back a lot of memories for people who attended these games. The league had some great crowds watching some of the best players showcase their talents over the years. Nathaniel has produced a documentary that not only captures the essence of how basketball was played on the venue, but provides the viewers with some great shots of the community surrounding the league.
He is currently the founder/CEO of Calcom Technologies and Partner at Diamond Eye Sports. Nathaniel played at the 16th Street League. He also played basketball for Central High and Delaware State.
“I feel blessed and honored to do something like this for Philadelphia,” Nathaniel said. “I also wanted to bring the nation into Philadelphia history. I really feel like this project puts Philadelphia back where it should be in the basketball world as a powerhouse. We produce many of the current NBA players from Philadelphia. This project is about a year and a half old.
“And one of the hardest things to do when you’re running an organization is keeping it quiet. We want to release it in a such a fashion that it would be a joy. The goal of this project is “let us make history and let’s be legendary.” Those were the models for this project. So, in doing that we wanted to do things that haven’t been done before. This project hasn’t been done before and we wanted to treat it with that historic value.”
The documentary features league legends and Philadelphia basketball historians such as Littel Vaughn, Joe Parham, Dave “Dr. Foot” Scheiner, Rodney “Hot Rod” Odrick, Rahim Thompson and others. The league had a number of great players such as Hank Gathers, Bryant “Sadeye” Watson and Aaron “AO” Owens. These players displayed their in the league from the late 1980s throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s.
The documentary will premier on Feb. 6 at the African American Museum, 7th and Arch streets at 6 p.m. There will also be some free viewings in neighborhood centers throughout the city during Black History Month.
Temple has one of the winningest college basketball programs in the country. On Saturday, the Owls recognized two of their greatest coaches, Harry Litwack and John Chaney, by unveiled larger-than-life statues of them in the lobby of the Liacouras Center.
The two coaches, both of whom are inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, have combined for sensational accomplishments in their 46 combined seasons on North Broad Street. These accomplishments include: 889 wins, a 66.6 winning percentage, 36 postseason appearances, 23 NCAA Tournament appearances, 13 NIT trips, seven Elite Eights, two Final Fours and one national championship (1969 NIT).
Litwack and Chaney each have banners in the rafters of the Liacouras Center and their names also appear at the center court jump circle.
Litwack was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976. He guided the Owls to a 373-193 record in his 21 seasons (1952-73). He led the Owls to 13 postseason appearances (seven NCAA, six NIT) and the program’s only Final Four appearances (1956, 1958). His 1968-69 team won the NIT championship.
Chaney was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. He posted a 516-253 record in 24 seasons (1982-2006). He led Temple to 23 postseason appearances (17 NCAA, six NIT), including five Elite Eight finishes. He was twice named National Coach of the Year and his 1987-88 team is the only Temple squad to end the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press national poll.
Many of Chaney’s former Temple and Cheyney State College players attended the ceremony.
“I’m completely overwhelmed by this,” Chaney said. “I never dreamed of anything like this and to see all these people and my kids. These guys came from long distance for this like Eddie [Jones] coming from Miami. Darrin Pearsall and Lamont Ferrell do a good job of keeping them connected. They contact each other.”
The eight-foot tall statues were funded through private donations and were created by Brian Hanlon, a classically trained sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J. The statues are accompanied by 10-foot high illustrative enhancements depicting Litwack and Chaney’s images and accomplishments.
Andrew Edouard was one of four players from Bethune-Cookman named to the Boxtorow All-American football team. Edouard, a former Overbrook High star, was a key offensive player for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound junior, was the starting center for B-CU after the first game of the season at Tennessee State. Edouard was also named first-team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference anchoring a offensive line unit that paved the way for the league’s scoring leader from B-CU.
The Wildcats offense averaged 29.6 points a game, and served as the league’s rushing leader with 3,159 yards — tallying 243 yards a game (ninth-best in the NCAA). His blocking skills helped to put together a rushing attack that score 39 times on the ground, as well as another 10 through the air. In total offense, B-CU was second in the MEAC with 5,146 yards (395.8 per game).
Bethune-Cookman won the MEAC championship this season. The Wildcats had a 7-1 league and 10-3 overall record.
Devin Coleman to attend Temple University
Devin Coleman, a redshirt sophomore at Clemson during the fall semester, has transferred to Temple University. Coleman has signed a men’s basketball scholarship agreement. He will sit out the remainder of the 2013-14 season per NCAA rules and have 1 1/2 years of eligibility following the completion of the 2014 fall semester.
Coleman, a 6-foot-2 guard, played his scholastic basketball at Friends’ Central. He appeared in 32 career games for the Tigers and scored 111 points. He was Clemson’s high scorer as a freshman in the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game against Virginia Tech with 15 points.
Coleman played in 10 games this season, starting once and averaged 5.4 points a game (fifth on the team). He scored in double figures three times with a career-high 16 points to lead the Tigers to a win over South Carolina State on Dec. 3.
He was a terrific player at Friends’ Central. Coleman was a two-time fist-team AA all-state and four-time All-Friends League section. He averaged 16.2 points a game as a senior (2010-11).