East Flatbush

Immigrant players make Tilden a basketball powerhouse

February 25, 2021 By Andy Furman

Brooklyn is literally All-World. “My basketball team was playing at Tilden and we were up by 30 in the fourth quarter,” notes former Tilden High School basketball coach Jeff Schrier. “I emptied the bench. All of a sudden, I realized something and called timeout. The kids came in, sat on the bench, and expected some pearls of wisdom from their coach. Instead, I said, ‘Mark, where are you from?’ Barbados was the answer. I then asked the other four players on the court where they were from. Haiti, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Grenada were the answers. I said, ‘Well, you’re all here at Tilden now so let’s play Tilden basketball.’”

“They returned to the floor and I turned to Sean Peterson, my high scorer who was sitting next to me on the bench and I asked him, ‘Sean, what happened to all the American ball players?’ Without missing a beat, Sean turns to me and says, ‘Don’t ask me, coach. I’m from Jamaica.’”

Schrier also gave us a few interesting facts:

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Nate Creer, the University of Iowa defensive MVP in 1985 – remember his interception in the Rose Bowl – well, he’s the dad of Nathan Schaalhouse.

Nate was the starting quarterback at the University of Illinois from 2012-15 … Creer was named one of Iowa’s all-time MVPs.

Devon Mitchell, an Iowa defensive back who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL draft was born in Kingston, Jamaica.

Owen Gill, running back and rugby-style kicker – again an Iowa Hawkeye, born in London, England – 53 rd overall pick in the 1985 NFL by the Seattle Seahawks.

Other than being Iowa Hawkeyes, what do they have in common?

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All played together at Tilden High School, located in East Flatbush

Keith Williams, the Bishop Loughlin hoop star, scored a game-high 20 points recently for his University of Cincinnati Bearcats in a 64-61 win at Tulane … “We don’t win this game without his effort,” UC Head Coach John Brannen told the Cincinnati Enquirer … With 2:22 remaining in the first-half, Williams hit two free- throws to become the 54th player in program history with 1,000 career points…” He’s a gifted scorer,” Brannen went on to say … Williams also ranks in the top 10 in the American Athletic Conference in steals, averaging more than 1.3 per game.

If you don’t think Brooklyn is a hotbed for basketball talent, take a second look … No less than three Brooklynites donned the pre-season New York City All-Area First-Team … Senior guard Jose Alvarado, from Georgia Tech; sophomore guard James Bouknight from UConn; and soph center and former Christ the King star Kofi Cockburn at Illinois.

Keith Williams made the second unit, and three Brooklynites made the third-team – soph forward Julian Champagnie at St. John’s, soph forward Justin Champagnie at Pitt, and soph forward Isaac Kante at Hofstra.

In three seasons at Oklahoma State, head basketball coach Mike Boynton, Jr. and his Cowboys have produced eight wins over top-25 teams — four of those against top-10 squads — hauled in back-to-back top-25 recruiting classes and recorded six All-Big 12 and Academic All-Big 12 team honors. It’s no wonder that Seth Davis and The Athletic named the Bishop Loughlin grad to their list of the Top-40 Under 40 in college basketball.

Boynton earned first-team All-New York City honors after leading the Loughlin Lions to a 24-4 record and a berth in the city semifinals. He was inducted into the Bishop Loughlin High School Athletic Hall of Fame in the spring of 2011.

Andy Furman may be contacted at: [email protected]


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