695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
695Hoops was the proud sponsor and partner of the first annual USE Basketball Family Reunion on Sunday, August 17th. The event took place at Baltimore City Community College, which has become the home to several 695Hoops events.
The idea for this event came from two former St. Frances Academy stars Shatyra Hawkes and Brianna Hutchen, who both graduated in 2010. Shatyra went on to play at Xavier of Ohio while Hutchen has one more year at Alabama. They approached me with a date of August 17th, which also happens to be the 4th anniversary of 695Hoops.com,
It made a lot of sense for me to work with them and create a great annual event that would bring a lot of people together and that's what we did. The planning did not start until July so we had to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Mission accomplished. After what I saw today I am convinced that this is the start of an annual tradition that people will plan around.
It's hard for me to host an event and sit down and take notes on the game action because I spend most of the day talking and putting out fires. I really cannot remember everything that happened today so I will just write about my day and how it unfolded.
I arrived at Baltimore City Community College at 8:00am and Breezi Hutchen and Shatyra Hawkes were already waiting for me. Also posted up in the parking lot was Rain Green. I swear this kid is everywhere and you will get to know that name. She can play.
Rain Greene asks a question during the panel discussion.
We got everything set up and I went through my normal routine of pacing around the bulding and calling and cussing out my man Robb Dubose who is never on time.He did his thing with the live feed. 695TV will change the game. People started to trickle in around 9am so I spent a few minutes chatting with Tully Sullivan (Lady Lions), Stretch Brandon and Robb when he finally showed up. I purposely stayed back and watched Shatyra and Breezi struggle to get organized and figure out how to break the ice with the crowd of parents and players that were starting to fill the gym.
I knew they were nervous and excited but I wanted to let them work their way through things. Quite a few of the panel speakers were late so they were scrambling to come up with a plan. Finally at 9:35 I urged them to get started and they did. Breezi took the lead and addressed the crowd with a cheerful good morning and implored the players to wake up and show some enthusiasm. She then introduced each panel member and we were off and running.
I cannot remember the exact order but I can tell you what stood out to me. Tameka Addison of Harrison Hoops delivered a passionate speech about the new NCAA academic requirements that are looming. Shatyra Hawkes, who played at Xavier of Ohio, gave some great insight as to the challenges D1 athletes face during their four years. Mainly that your spot is never guaranteed because coaches bring in new players every year.
Digital Harbor head coach Patrick McDonald is the best motivational speaker in the DMV. He is always ready. He is articulate and bright and he knows the bible and basketball. I wish more people knew about the great program he has at Digital Harbor.
I loved the panel discussion. We got so much great information from Lisa Bodine who returned on Sunday after inadvertently showing up on Saturday. She has a lot of credibility and she was on point when talking about playing for "sponsored" versus non sponsored teams. Chanel Wright Greene gave a very entertaining talk about her career and the long road to the University of North Carolina and the WNBA. A big shout goes out to Keila Evans of St. Frances and Wake Forest. She came and spoke at the panel and later on came back and played in the DC vs Bmore game. She can still hoop.
The Baby Ballers game had the gym packed by 11:00am. I actually got to watch a good amount of this game and I was thoroughly entertained. The youngsters went hard on both ends. The Middle School Showdown was a blur because I was on the move again. I can tell you that Coach Lawrence Banks of the Lady Tigers and Coach Chris Acree of Digital Harbor were working hard. Those are two energetic coaches. Jakia Turner of Team Takeover is a stud. She can do it all. Eniya Russell of the Baltimore Starz has a game tailor made for all star games.
The 2017 vs 2016 Showdown was played at a high level. The rising sophomores got off to a good start thanks to Mia Davis (St. Frances transer) who is a very productive power forward. Kayla Bacon of St. Timothy's showed that D1 talent can come out of the IAAM C conference. She can go. Jeydah Johnson of Roland Park has been working on that jumper. The 2016 team took over around halfway through the game thanks to some high level guard play. Tyeisha Smith of St. Frances was on a mission and she played and scored like a D1 prospect. Kahla Hedgepeth of MATHS returned to the court after a long layoff as only she could. She had some rust on her game but the natural talent is undeniable. Kephera Stokes of Poly and Raven James of Paul IV were both solid as well. 2016 pulled it out 52 to 45.
The college alumni games were very entertaining as well. Asia Logan looks like she can play professionally somewhere. I forgot how good BJ Williams was! I'm still not exactly sure who number 31 was, but she played at UConn and she dominated, helping sore winner Saladin Reese get the win.
Thanks to all the coaches like Mike Dukes, Tully Sullivan, Detoiya Mcaliley, Bookie Rosemond, Benny Edison, Charles Brown, Chris Acree, CJ Scott, Damon Nichols, Stretch Brandon, Charles Robinson, Dee Farmer, Jewel Smith, Kevin Shortt, Steve Anderson, Scott Johnson and Lawrence Banks for helping out. I think we will have all women next year. DJ Punisher Kevin Young entertained the crowd as usual. Shout out to photographer Nate Logan for donating his time as well as all the referees who helped out during the event. The BCCC staff was awesome as usual.
Overall I thought it was a good day for Ms. Hawkes and Ms. Huthchen. They have two very supportive families and their confidence grew during the day. They came up with good ideas on the fly, never panicked when things went wrong and showed some microphone skills and personality.
We found out a lot about what worked and what we need to improve. I am hoping this event can become an anticipated summer finale for girls basketball that is free from the usual nonsense associated with the circuit. Hopefully the street agents can just relax and enjoy the environment as opposed to approaching parents with their pitches about their elite teams.
Thanks again DMV for your continued support.
Copyright 2010 695Hoops. All rights reserved.