February 4, 2016 |
Benny Walls' relatives are proud of his athletic accomplishments, but it hasn't stopped them from razzing him for not pursuing the family's sport of choice. Walls, a hard-hitting senior safety at St. Joseph's Prep, is set to sign a letter of intent Wednesday with the Temple football team. It's a proud moment for the resident of Cinnaminson even if he didn't decide to play basketball in a hoops-mad family. "My son was the outcast," his father, Ben Walls, said with a laugh. "To this day we tease him about not playing basketball.
January 30, 2016 |
Pierfrancesco Oliva is a 6-foot-8 freshman forward for the St. Joseph's Hawks who grew up in Italy and moved to Hackensack, N.J., to play basketball in the United States. As a senior at Bergen Catholic High School, he scored 15.9 points a game, playing center on defense and point guard on offense and helping the team win its first county championship in 12 years. He is part of the Hawks' regular lineup rotation this season, though no one would classify him as a major contributor to their 17-3 record, since he's averaging fewer than five points and five rebounds a game, adjusting to a higher level of the sport.
January 29, 2016 |
THE GAME of basketball is being revolutionized by a sharp-shooting, slick-fingered point guard named Wardell. He goes by his middle name, Stephen, and is more familiar to you and countless young basketball players launching deep three-pointers against their coaches' collective wills, as Steph Curry, the reigning NBA MVP and the best basketball player in the world. When Curry's Golden State Warriors make the trek to Philadelphia to take on the woeful 76ers on Saturday, fans will flock to the Wells Fargo Center to gawk at his three-point shots.
January 22, 2016 |
THEY SAY most people grow up more during their college years than at any other time of their life. Penn senior Jamal Lewis is one of those examples. Just not for any of the usual reasons. Like a lot of student-athletes who matriculate to West Philly, he had things he wanted to accomplish that involved both basketball and his future. Yet never could he have foreseen a journey where the singular objective at one point was to keep on living. "I think I'm completely different now," the 6-foot guard said.
January 21, 2016 |
The noise didn't stop at the locker room door. Two teams would be playing, two would be waiting underneath the stands, which often seemed to shake, the vibrations carrying right into the room. "You'd be peeking out, trying to see who was playing well," Fran Dunphy said this week. "Because you knew every player. " Wednesday night at the Palestra, four teams will play basketball and also offer a nod to the past. Temple will face La Salle, and then St. Joseph's takes on Penn, and Dunphy hopes the fans for the second game get there early and the fans for the first game stay to the end. Because there is nothing exactly like this anywhere else in college basketball.
January 19, 2016 |
Rick Yankowitz remembers when the Dobbins Tech basketball gymnasiums were both jam-packed with fans - more than 550 in a small space. In those days, the boys' coach from 1971 until 2005 said the bleachers and balconies were filled to capacity with people standing on window sills to catch a glance. Other, more nimble, followers climbed ropes - there for physical education classes - that were fastened to the ceiling and sat up there to watch games. It was the mid- to late 1980s, and Mustangs basketball was the hottest ticket in North Philly.
January 18, 2016 |
Shawnee's practices all begin the same way, with coach Joe Kessler pushing that big wheeled cage onto the floor and tossing the basketballs to the players. "Nobody else can do it," Shawnee assistant coach J.R. Gillern said. Shawnee's practices all end the same way, too, with the "white" team scoring a basket at the same end of the court. "Has to be the white team [first string, wearing the white jerseys], has to be at this end," Gillern said. When something works for Kessler, he sticks with it - whether it's the same turkey sandwich on game day, the same parking spot outside the Shawnee gymnasium, the same warm-up music.
January 15, 2016 |
Considering his bloodlines, it's no wonder Colin Mulvaney is the second all-time leading scorer in Jenkintown boys' basketball history. His father, Chris, played hoops at Pennsbury and Ursinus. His cousins, Luke and Liam, played at Springside Chestnut Hill and Jenkintown, respectively. And his uncle, Joe, was a scrappy guard at the old Bishop Egan in the mid-1970s. Two of Mulvaney's other cousins, Liz and Emily, stood out at Abington and went on to be 1,000-point scorers at American and Villanova, respectively.
January 14, 2016 |
Bionca Dunham doesn't remember how her father, Jason, got her to the Hunting Park Recreation Center one day. All she knows is that he tricked her. Back then, Dunham was a "girlie girl," an eighth-grader who was into modeling and didn't even want to watch basketball, let alone play it. But Jason was a former standout at Ben Franklin, where he won a Public League title, and on that day he got her out of the house on false pretenses. Following in the footsteps of her father - and cousin Rysheed Jordan - seemed a long way away back then.
January 7, 2016 |
At first, Ellie Mack could travel only as far as the end of the driveway and back. She was on crutches, just two days removed from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. The next walk, sans crutches a few weeks later, was all the way up a hill near her Paoli home and down again. Months later, the walks would get longer and often her father, Randy, would join her on the Chester Valley Trail for miles at a time "I saw progress, which is something that I really liked," Mack said.