Three former Minneapolis North boys’ basketball players, Brett McNeal, Derek Reuben and Khalid El-Amin, continue to build on their legacy.
Each enjoyed a storybook prep career, but more importantly, each has come back to serve the community. Here is a brief look at what each accomplished in the past and is doing today.
Brett McNeal (6’3” guard)
High school: Led North to three consecutive Class AA state tournaments, participating in 1983 as a sophomore and finishing runner-up to White Bear Lake in ‘84 and’85. He was named Mr. Basketball his senior season.
College: Became an All-American guard at Western Kentucky from 1985-89. He is a member of WKU’s Hall of Fame.
Coach: Came back to his alma mater to lead the Polars to the Class 4A championship in 2003 after guiding them to an appearance in 2002.
Today: Athletic director at Minneapolis Edison High School. Previously served as South’s AD last year.
Derek Reuben (6’1” guard)
High school: Led the Polars to a third-place finish in the Class AA in 1986 as a sophomore. In the 1987 and ’88 (junior and senior) seasons, North spent the entire regular season ranked number one in the state. He was named Mr. Basketball following his senior season.
College: Played two years for Eastern Kentucky and one at North Dakota State.
Today: Is one of the co-founders of Inner City All-Star Classic, a high school all-star game developed in 1994 to showcase the top senior basketball players in the metro area. A girls’ game was added in 2001.
Khalid El-Amin (5’10” guard)
High school: Started his high school career as an eighth grader. Wearing No. 42 — the jersey his brother Makram wore as a teammate of Reuben’s from 1986-88 — he led North to state titles in 1995, ’96 and ’97. Was the 1996 StarTribune Metro Player of the Year his junior year. Was the 1997 Mr. Basketball recipient and played in McDonald’s All-American game.
College: Played three years at the University of Connecticut. Named Big East Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Led UCONN to the 1999 NCAA Championship as a sophomore. Was the team’s leading scorer his final season as junior.
Pro: Stared at point guard for the Chicago Bulls as a rookie during the 2000-01 season. Has enjoyed a prosperous career in Europe ever since.
Today: Runs basketball clinics and coaches youth teams. Has expressed an interest in broadcasting, working the small college basketball games last winter and the state basketball tournament in March.
What makes this story even more compelling is that McNeal, Reuben and El-Amin have all crossed paths at some point thanks to Reuben. McNeal has coached numerous times in the Inner City All-Star Classic, and El-Amin played in the game following his senior year.
These three African American men continue to lead and inspire.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.