Scholastic Roundup: The godfather of Brooklyn girls basketball is gone

January 6, 2023 Andy Furman
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He was known as the “Godfather” of PSAL girls’ basketball coaches – and now Barney Davis, the only coach Medgar Evers girls basketball has known, has passed.

Davis, who started the girls program at Medgar Evers and guided the Cougars to the PSAL Class A title in 2010, passed last month. He also won city title at Robeson and also coached at Brooklyn Tech. He had been coaching basketball in the PSAL for 29 years. He coached the Lincoln and South Shore jayvee teams before moving on to the Brooklyn Tech girls program. Davis guided Robeson to the PSAL city title in 1991 and started the Medgar Evers girls program in 2004. Since 1986, he has also coached Team MIKA, a non-profit girls program, out of Emerson Park in Brooklyn.

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The Northeast Conference basketball season is underway, and Rich Collins, the self-proclaimed St. Francis College basketball historian says only Wagner College has an above-.500 record (.667) in pre-conference games. The Terriers of St Francis finished second at exactly .500. “Though the team records are not an indication of the quality of their pre-season opponents,” Collins writes, “it would appear that no NEC team is about to blow the doors off.”

Collins notes that Terrier players that have transferred in recent years have not had great success. “Of Jalen Jordan, Chauncey Hawkins and Rasheem Dunn,” he says, “Rasheem is the only one who profited to any extent. Jordan and Hawkins are marginal additions with dramatically reduced playing time at Middle Tennessee State and Bryant, respectively. Dunn was just lucky that he made it to St. John’s via Cleveland State. His SJU bubble burst as soon as Posh Alexander showed up.”

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LIU’s football team closed head coach Ron Cooper’s first season with four straight wins. He announced 19 newcomers on Signing Day.

A pair of grad transfers top the list – tight end Maleak Bryant (UAB) and running back Pat Jackson (Jacksonville State) as well as wide receiver TQ Jackson  (SMU), quarterback Ethan Greenwood (The Citadel), linebacker Daylen Fuller (Santa Ana College) and defensive linemen DQ Watkins (Northeast Mississippi CC) and Ja’Nyus Morgan (Holmes CC).

Two incoming locals join the group, offensive linemen Moshood Giwa (Moore Catholic) and quarterback Chris Howell (Canarsie).

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Moore Catholic’s Jonathan Reno, a rookie, led St. Joseph University with 21 points in a losing cause against William Paterson, 74-61 in the Centenary University Tournament.

Leave to former Tilden High basketball coach Jeff Schrier to get a plug in for his Blue Devils.

“When Canarsie High took the PSAL city title in boys’ basketball a few years back,” Schrier writes, “Jake Edwards was their coach.”

Shaun Mark is the basketball coach at South Shore — and the connection, according to Schrier – both Edwards and Mark- were both Tilden Blue Devils coached by Schrier.

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Jerry Donner, former Athletic Director at LIU, reports The South Florida Basketball Association will hold its 2023 Annual Legendary Charity Luncheon, Wednesday, January 18th.  The celebration will be held at The Club at Boca Pointe, in Boca Raton, Fla.

“We’re honoring a group of recognized change makers,” Donner said. Heading the list – the Kangaroo Kid – Erasmus Hall’s Billy Cunningham. The NBA champion and Hall of Famer – both as a player and coach –served as the catalyst to bring the NBA to South Florida when he founded the Miami Heat in 1988.

Joining Cunningham, Donna Orender who played in the first women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden. She’s a former President of the WNBA.

Hall of Famer, and former Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing will also be a guest. A member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Teams, Bing amassed 18,327 points for a 20.3 ppg scoring average.

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Former Long Island City High School basketball phenom, Willie Sims – known as “Super Sub” has died – he was 64.

A member of LSU’s 1981 NCAA Final Four team passed following complications from a heart attack earlier last year. He had been hospitalized in Israel since August.

Sims was born in Lanett Alabama and grew up in New York City. He was Jewish.

“He wore an earring his senior year at LIC,” then coach Floyd Bank told Scholastic Roundup. “I asked him why. He said his grandmother wore one because she was Jewish.”

Sims was raised by his grandmother who was a convert to Judaism following her marriage to Sims’ grandfather, Jack Miller.

Sims was drafted in 1981 by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in the fifth round, but never played in the NBA or any other league in North America.

He played – and lived – in Israel for Maccabi Haifa B.C. from 1981 to1983. From 1983 to 1985 he played for Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. where he won the Israeli Basketball State Cup. He played for Maccabi Tel Aviv (’87-’92) where he won the Israeli Basketball Super League five times, won three Israeli State Cups, and became one of the club’s most famous players.

Sims took part in the 10th 1977 Maccabiah Games as part of the United States national basketball team. He scored the winning shot against Israel in the finals and helped the U.S. to the title. He also played in the 11th Maccabiah Games, again representing the U.S.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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