It’s not often that two former metro area athletes with the same last name (no relation) accomplish great things during the same time period. Realizing this provided me the opportunity to acknowledge their accomplishments. These accomplishments are preceded by a question and answer followed by information detailing their contributions and a brief history of each athlete’s connection to the metro area high school scene. One athlete featured is developing into one of the top NCAA Division I sprinters in the nation, while the other is finding his way as a guard in the NBA.
The track phenom
Question: What former metro area girls’ basketball and track and field phenom was recently named Track Athlete of the Week at her Division I school? Continue Reading →
While local media types flew to a former Minnesota Timberwolves player in town, asking him once again what it’s like to play against his former team, this reporter opted instead to hang around a native Minneapolis player’s locker. Alan Anderson played his prep ball here, his college ball at Michigan State, and now is in his fifth NBA season with New Jersey. “I’m blessed,” admitted the 6’-6” guard/forward after his 11-point effort in a bad loss to the host Wolves. Anderson signed as a free agent with the Nets in July after one year in Toronto. He logged his “basketball years” in China, Russia, Croatia, Israel and Spain as well as in the NBA Development League. Continue Reading →
This week’s column features a perennial state boys’ basketball power off to a fast start, a former boys’ basketball state champion and top football prospect playing his final collegiate game, and a former boys’ basketball standout who returned home to face the Timberwolves in an NBA game.
St. Paul Johnson off to a fast start
Defending St. Paul City Conference boys’ basketball champion Johnson got off to a fast start in their season opener, defeating visiting Lakeville South 83-60 before a capacity crowd. PIERRE CONWELL, a 6’-3’ forward, led the way with 26 points, including a powerful two-hand dunk. Continue Reading →
The NCAA this year is celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Before it became an overhyped trademark, and before it became a behemoth cash cow for everyone but the players, the annual tourney for decades was a White-only affair. The celebrating hoopla shouldn’t overlook this fact. Claude Johnson founded the Greenwich, Conn.-based Black Fives Foundation in 2001. It is named for the number of Black players on the court and the basketball league of the same name that ran for nearly 50 years (1904-1950), at least three decades before the Negro Leagues. It also was a clear affront to the racially segregated unwritten rule that limited the number of players of color allowed on the court (two at home, one on the road), a rule that existed in the NBA, its forerunner the National Basketball League, and in college hoops well into the 1960s. Continue Reading →