Dobbins's Dunmeyer Latest In A Long Line

Posted: January 13, 1988

To play basketball in a small park near Ridge and Midvale avenues in East Falls long has meant to confront a Dunmeyer boy.

Or two or three or four or five or six or . . .

Abraham and Louise Dunmeyer produced so many sons that by the time they reached the last one, they apparently ran out of first names.

Thus, the youngest of the Dunmeyers's eight sons is Jon, 17, a star basketball center at Murrell Dobbins Tech, even though the eldest is John, 29, a former Roxborough High football player. In between came Fred, Jerome, Willie, Michael (killed accidentally last February while serving in the Army), Marv and Abe.

Almost without fail, the Dunmeyers's sons have topped out at 6-1 or 6-2 and attained full physical maturity early in their high school days. We say ''almost" because Jon is 6-6 1/2 and still growing.

"Finally, one of us got some of my great-grandfather's height," Jon said yesterday. "He was almost 7 feet."

Dunmeyer came up big on numerous fronts as Dobbins slapped visiting George Washington, 78-54, in a Public League game. He shot 9-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-3 from the line for 20 points, plucked 11 rebounds, distributed 3 assists and rejected 4 shots.

More importantly, at least to the thrill-seekers in the ever-noisy Friendly Confines, he also uncorked three hellacious thunder dunks.

Not a bad performance for the ex-weak link in the family.

"For a long time, I was always the skinniest," Dunmeyer said. "And I didn't have much strength. My brothers would always take the ball from me.

"When we got together a few times last summer to play ball, they still took the ball away from me some. But nothing like before."

To the city's scholastic basketball fans, the names of Willie, Marv and Abe Dunmeyer should be reasonably familiar. Willie, a guard, had a solid career for West Philadelphia until leaving school for personal reasons midway through his senior year (1981-82). Marv (class of '86) and Abe ('87) played both guard and forward for Penn Charter.

Jon's career began at Roxborough, where, as a 6-4 sophomore, he averaged 13.8 points in league play. Dissatisfied with the basketball situation there, he transferred to Dobbins and served last season as coach Rich Yankowitz's first frontcourt sub.

Extensive playing time was unavailable, however, because the Mustangs returned their frontcourt (Larry Stewart, Sean Dickerson, Randy Slade) intact.

"Sometimes I second-guessed my decision to transfer," Dunmeyer said, ''but I understood what was going on. That was a veteran team. Coming here was something I did on my own - nobody persuaded me - and I'm glad I did. Yank is a great basketball teacher. He has helped me learn the big-man's game. At Roxborough, I was used mostly on the wing, so a lot of this stuff was new to me."

According to Yankowitz, the University of Delaware seems most interested in acquiring Dunmeyer, who could figure in college as anything from a small forward to a center. Other suitors, to varying degrees, include Loyola Marymount, Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Francis and Bridgeport.

"I don't want to say that we go the way Jon goes, but I don't think he fully realizes his importance to the team," Yankowitz said. "When he's into the game, the kids really get pepped up and we're 20 to 30 percent better.

"Jon might be a senior and a name player to the scouting services, but this is the first time his name is being penciled into our lineup every day. So there is some adjustment. At times, he has let us down. Other times, like today, he's been determined. This is what we need from him all the time."

Said Dunmeyer: "I didn't play too well (last Thursday) against Frankford (66-41 defeat). Yank was getting on me about not getting enough rebounds, not playing hard. I came out today telling myself I was going to play as hard as I could, do as much as I could.

"There were times this season, I'll admit, where I didn't put out a full effort. Sometimes I didn't have a good feeling about my game. It was like my confidence level was down."

Updating the lives of the higher-profile Dunmeyers, Willie is in the Army (stationed in Panama), Marv is playing basketball at Ithaca and Abe is about to transfer after spending a semester at Moravian.

"My mother gives us our major push," Jon said. "She's always talking about how important education is. She says there's a lot you can get in this life, but you have to work hard to get it. Every day when I walk in the house, she asks me questions about school. We talk basketball after that.

"Our athletic ability comes mostly from my mom, I'd guess. She used to play a lot of sports back when she lived in New York. She was even on a baseball team."

Baseball? You mean softball?

"No, baseball," Dunmeyer said. "Hardball."

For the fact that her eight sons never followed Louise Dunmeyer's baseball lead, visitors to, and neighbors of, the small park near Ridge and Midvale avenues are forever thankful.

NOTES: Dobbins's Jake Mickens, a first-year senior, had 6 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Junior Jermaine Trottie shot 8-for-12 and had 17 points . . . For Washington, 6-4 junior Corry Appline had 19 points and eight rebounds.

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