Former prep stars making a difference

There are those who always talk about giving back to the community and those who simply do it. Here are five former metro-area prep stars who are giving back.

DEREK REUBEN made a name for himself as a standout boys’ basketball player for Minneapolis during the late 1980s. He held the 18th annual Inner City All-Star Classic last month at the University of St. Thomas. The event features the top African American boys and girls basketball players in the metro area.

Reuben and former North teammate RALPH CROWDER came up with the idea for the game in April of 1994 to protest the lack of representation of African American players in the annual All-State-All-Metro game featuring the state’s top players.

The first game was played that June at Richard Green Elementary School. What started as a one-game protest has blossomed into a must-see event. In 2001 a girls’ game was added.
Rueben, a point guard, led North to a fourth-place finish in the Class AA state tournament in 1986. In 1987 he led them to a No. 1 state ranking. He did the same in 1988 and was named Mr. Basketball that year. He went on to play at Eastern Kentucky and North Dakota State.

TAMARA “TEE” MOORE helped to put Minneapolis North on the girls’ basketball map as the face of the Lady Polars from 1994-98. Today she seems to be everywhere as a radio personality for KMOJ, a forward for the Minnesota Jags, and a motivational speaker for youth.

Moore earned Miss Basketball honors after leading North to the Class 3A state championship in 1998. She went on to an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin and spent six years in the WNBA.

DERRECK ROBINSON was a standout football and basketball star at DeLaSalle during the late 1990s. Now a lineman in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, Robinson recently held his fifth annual youth camp for nearly 220 youngsters at McCrae Park last week. The camp enlightened male and female participants about the connections between life and athletics.

Robinson helped the Islanders capture the 1999 Class 2A boys’ basketball crown during his junior year. He was all-state in football the following fall and helped the Islanders capture a state crown in football before embarking on an outstanding career at the University of Iowa.
Before landing with the Browns, Robinson also played for the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins.

ROSALYN SMALLER was an outstanding sprinter for the girls’ track and field at St. Paul Central during the 1980s. In May she held her first Breast Cancer Fundraiser Walk at Lake Phalen in St. Paul to bring awareness to the challenges African American women face when diagnosed.

Smaller set a St. Paul City Conference record in the 100 meters (12.14) in 1983. The record still stands today.

KAMMRON TAYLOR held his third annual basketball camp last month in Minneapolis. Taylor started playing varsity hoops as an eighth grader at Minneapolis North during the 1998-99 season. By his senior year he was one of the state’s top players and led the Polars to the 2003 Class 4A state boys’ basketball title.

The shooting guard went on to an outstanding four-year career at Wisconsin and now plays professionally overseas.

100 years of state basketball tournaments

In March of 2012, the Minnesota State High School League will be celebrating 100 years of basketball tournaments.

The league is soliciting public input in selecting some of the greatest moments in the history of both the boys’ and girls’ state tournaments. An online poll is available on the league website to collect the “best of” in several different categories.

The poll will be available for public input until July 31. Results will be compiled, reviewed by league staff and a panel of basketball aficionados, but not released until the 2012 state tournaments.

The first tournament was held in 1913, an invitational affair hosted by Carleton College in Northfield and won by Fosston 29-27 over Mountain Lake.

Check out the league website for more details: www.mshsl.org.

Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com.