Friday, July 25, 2008

Runhouse Hoops Project Feature

Ghana Native Armah Gives All To Basketball

By Jordan Ingram

With the recently assembled Runhouse Hoops Project, Marvin DeBose and Jack Whitehead are directing basketball players from Ghana to junior colleges in the states. Based out of the Finley Recreational Center where DeBose has aided the likes of Philadelphia University’s Malcolm Ingram and Lehigh’s Zahir Carrington, Runhouse plans wants to give athletes the opportunity to receive a solid education on a worldwide scale.
Since the players from Ghana haven’t been able to take either the S.A.T.’s in the United States, their only alternative is to become enrolled in a junior college.
For years DeBose and Whitehead have kept in touch with Cape Coast Hoops Program coach Claude Thompson and now the pair feel it’s ready to unleash their talent on the United States. Needing a suitable mascot to spearhead their goodwill program, their self-proclaimed “Jackie Robinson of Runhouse Hoops” is 6-foot-6 power forward Daniel Armah at Casper Junior College.
The mature 18 year old feels a great deal to succeed in the name of the program but also understands that Runhouse Hoops is a much bigger movement than him.
“I don’t think about myself but rather put [DeBose, Whitehead, and Thompson] on top of every decision I make,” said Armah. “If I smoke or drink that keeps me from being the best basketball player I can be and that affects them so I don’t play around with this opportunity.”
In Armah, he embodies the diligent, high-character basketball players that Whitehead and DeBose are looking to sponsor upon their arrival to the U.S. The son of a father who suffered a stroke and mother who supported Armah’s hoop dreams despite her leg ailment, has forced him to grow up fast which makes him an even better first candidate for the program.
Arriving to Casper in the second semester kept Armah from being able to play for Thunderbirds that have won 12 regional championships and more time to focus on his athletics. Being constantly entrenched in his studies, Armah was able to post a 4.0 G.P.A. in only his first year of school in the states.
At school Armah also had adjust on the fly to the issue of relating to African-Americans. For Armah, listening to his classmates laugh at him speaking english and say that Africans hung off of trees disappointed him but also obligated him to teach them about their true history.
“Whenever people in class would say that we live in trees in Ghana I would say that I can if we only ride on donkees how could I arrive in America so fast,” Armah retorted. “I wasn’t mad at [my classmates] but I said if you’re going to say something like that to someone you should make sure you do your research first.”
The subject that Armah has the biggest passion for at Casper is biology that he plans to major in when he attends a four-year college with a minor in nursing. He eventually wants to return back to Ghana where he can give children in his homeland the proper medical attention that they don’t have enough money to get treated at hospitals.
“I understand how bad things can get for people back in Ghana if they aren’t rich so I desperately want to help when I graduate from college,” said Armah. “Though I love Marvin and Jack, I have a family in Ghana that’s my basketball team. A lot of them won’t receive the opportunity to receive a great education in the states like me so it’s my responsibility to help them.”
On the court the articulate power forward, who speaks six languages fluently, also gained a great deal of discipline from his time playing for Cape Coast. Consistently stressing the fundamentals of basketball, Thompson focused on teaching players like Armah every aspect of the game regardless of position.
The biggest adjustment that Armah has picked up at practice during his redshirt season at Casper is conforming to one position. For the diligent rebounder, he’s willing to give a program that has produced 60 D-I players the benefit of the doubt.
“In Ghana if you want to play a sport you have to know all the rules of the game but when I get to America the coach would tell me that I can’t do this because I’m a power forward which was confusing at first,” Armah said. “I realize that I must be successful here for others to follow me into America so I’ve simply combined what I’ve learned in Ghana with what my coach has taught me.”
Without scoring one point, the inspirational Armah has made an impact on the Runhouse Hoops Project. Next season will be Armah’s first season playing for the Thunderbirds but he’ll also be joined by Cape Coast teammate, 6-foot-9 forward Achu Atakpa.
Not having the opportunity to visit Ghana since his arrival to junior college might be challenging to most but simply a new adventure for Armah. Unlike most, the upbeat power forward sees the bigger picture and realizes that he’ll be back in his homeland in due time.
“Whenever I’m down Jack calls me and between him and Marv I feel like I have a family here,” said Armah. “I really need to be focused on being successful [in America] and when I graduate from college I know my family will be proud of me.”

Is Delaware Becoming A Recruiting Hotspot For College Coaches

Is Delaware Becoming The New Hot Spot For College Basketball Coaches?

By Jordan Ingram

In the past the state of Delaware has taken a backseat in sports to Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey because of having no professional sports teams. With the second smallest city in the United States currently boasting five upper echelon high school basketball local prospects with potential ranging from high D-I to high D-II level, The First State is pushing for top billing.
Delaware’s upside as a future basketball hotbed is bigger than ever because of the multiple blue chippers present in the state more known for being the first state to join the Union than its stellar basketball play. Usually star players out of “The Diamond State” come out one in a time like former Temple University and NBA player guard Terrance Stansbury in the early ‘80s, former Virginia Union star and Washington Bullets second-round pick A.J. English as well as Villanova star Will Sheridan in the 21st century.
The new breed, consisting of Deon Jones (younger brother of Virginia’s Jeff Jones), Trevor Cooney, Malcolm Gilbert, Dominic Morris, and Andre Wilburn could be jumpstarting a new trend out of the small state. Most standout players that come out of Delaware usually find their talent questioned whenever they play in Philly but each of them garner instant name recognition and credibility wherever they play. Philly Phenom AAU coach Paul Gripper even thinks that one of the five kids has the potential to join the conversation with Stansbury and English.
“Even at 15 years old I definitely believe that Deon has a strong shot to become a pro when it’s all said and done,” said Gripper. “He’s starting to get really good and playing with Trevor [at Sanford High School] and being such a good ball handler at 6-foot-4 he has a tremendous upside.”
Jones and Wilburn make up the class of Delawareans athletes that aren’t native born but have come to call the state who’s motto reads “Liberty and Independence” as their home. Both ball players are natives of Chester who’s parents moved them to Delaware. Though they aren’t native’s of the small state, coming from a small city gives them insight into the motivation that Cooney, Morris and Gilbert have whenever they play in the big city.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure whenever [Cooney, Morris, and Gilbert] step on the court because people that want them to lose say that when they come to Philly they won’t be as good but at the same time that brings a lot of motivation so it works both ways,” said Wilburn.
With the 6-foot-7 sophomore Morris transferring to Friends Central and the 6-foot-10 sophomore Gilbert going to the Academy of the New Church (ANC), Philly basketball fans will see more of the star big men who both were All-State performers in Delaware last season. Their individual performances at Eastern Invitational which led to being ranked in the top-20 of the camp and looking good with their respective teams in the LaSalle Team Camp ensure in fans minds that they won’t disappoint in their first full season in Philly.
Guards Cooney and Jones, both at the same high school the Sheridan led to a state championship in his junior year, form a formidable backcourt that also draws the some of the biggest attention because of the fact that their only rising sophomores. Cooney, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard,