Giving back, state contenders, and a school’s legacy

St. Thomas Academy Head Coach Khalid El-Amin (l) and Assistant Coach Bruce Price
Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

This week’s column features two former boys’ basketball standouts leading a high school boys’ basketball team, three girls’ basketball teams hoping to make a deep run in postseason play, and a reminder of a City Conference high school’s legacy.

St. Thomas Academy

Went to check out St. Thomas Academy Head Coach Khalid El-Amin leading his team against Tartan last week and spotted former Minneapolis South and Tennessee State standout Bruce Price coaching the junior varsity team.

El-Amin, in his first year as head coach, is enjoying his experience thus far. “I love coaching here,” the former UCONN star said after his team lost to Tartan. “I like the progress we have made since the beginning of the season.” 

For those who might have forgotten, El-Amin, a point guard, led Minneapolis North to three state titles in 1995, ’96 and ’97, then went on to lead UCONN to the NCAA crown in 1999 before embarking on a professional career in the NBA and overseas.

Price, a shooting guard, was quite the find for Tennessee State, where he played for four years (2203-2008) averaging 16.4 points per game.

Based on what I saw, STA is in good hands.

Como Park

St. Paul Como Park senior guard Ronnie Porter recently scored her 2,000th career point. The Cougars, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, are led by the scoring attack of Porter (23.0 per game), Kaylynn Westberry (14.1), Jada James (9.7), Shakyla Walker (9.0), and Cloey Dmytruk (7.5). Head Coach Yolonda England and Assistant Ronnie Smith have Como Park positioned for a successful postseason run.

Hopkins

Head coach and former Minneapolis North girls’ basketball standout Tara Starks has led Hopkins to a national ranking and top Class 4A state ranking with an 18-1 record. The Royals are led by University of Arizona signee Maya Nnaji’s 18.7 points per game, Taylor Woodson contributing 14.1 points, Nunu Agara sporting a 13.8 scoring average, University of Minnesota commit Amaya Battle adding 11.5 per contest, and Liv McGill chipping in 9.8.

DeLaSalle

DeLaSalle, led by Head Coach James Fassett, has the Islanders sporting a 16-5 record and No. 4 Class 3A ranking. They are led by Sydney Runsewe averaging 17.1 points per game, University of Wisconsin signee Savannah White averaging 14.5 per contest, and I’Tianna Salaam scoring an average 11.2 with contributions coming from Jordyn Johnson (8.7), Erianna Moechter (8.2) and Aneisha Scott (7.0).

Legacy

Many people forget that Minneapolis North has four Minnesota Mr. Basketball winners— Redd Overton, 1981, Brett McNeal, 1985, Derek Reuben, 1988 and Khalid El-Amin, 1997—and two Ms. Basketball winners—Tamara Moore, 1998 and Mauri Horton, 1999.