By Amauro Austin Sr

FB: @aasnotes.com

IG: @aasnotes

Twitter: @aa215

High School Basketball in the Delaware Valley has its defining moments year in and year out.. There’s always the big Catholic League games at the Palestra in Late February and always a few showcase events that draw large crowds. Over the years those crowds lined up outside in droves to see the likes of Roman Catholic & Simon Gratz & Ben Franklin & Neumann Goretti & Speedy Morris led St Joseph’s Prep, Kobe’s Lower Merion teams & Wayne & Gerald’s Episcopal teams & Cardinal Dougherty in the mid 2000s & Chester of course…

Brother Andre Noble is the pioneer who built Imhotep’s athletic programs from the ground up while building himself one of the top high school coaches in America..

This year’s BIG Mob Scene event will take place January 28th at 2pm.. Location: 54th & City Ave (St Joseph’s University’s Hagan Arena.. The Pugilists: Imhotep, the 20-something year old Charter school in the East Germantown Section of Philly (aka Uptown). The school with as many overall Basketball titles (League/City/State) as it has years in existence. The Black & Red Panthers will take on the other Purple & Gold Panthers from over the Blue (aka Ben Franklin bridge), the storied Camden High. Camden of the Parkside section of the city is the most celebrated high school program in the history of the state of NJ in my opinion.. The City’s 72,000 or so residents bleed Purple & Gold and travel all up and down the turnpike and beyond to support their City’s team sometimes by the thousands..

Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen is a 1988 grad of Camden high. He was a highly ranked point guard that was charged to take care of the ball at Temple for HOF coach John Chaney from 90-93..

So what do we have here??? An EVENT!!! A projected Sold out heavyweight fight that’ll pit the areas two very best this year against each other. Tickets went on sale today at:

St. Joe’s Athletics website


Get ‘‘em now for retail because next week you’ll pay resale..

What’s so special about this game? These teams have a combined dozen or so D1 prospects that will take the court including projected 2023 McDonalds All Americans: Imhotep 6-7 wing Justin Edwards, the dynamic lefty is top wing prospect in the Nation by most accounts.. Camdens tandem of 6-3 lead guard D.J. Wagner, a third generation megastar & 7-1 condor Aaron Bradshaw, who himself has the most eye-popping skill set in America especially relative to his size. All 3 are signed to play for Coach John Calipari at Kentucky next year. Juniors: Camden’s 6-7 explosive wing Billy Richmond & Imhotep’s 6-1 powerful lead guard Ahmad Nowell are both amongst the best in the America in their respective classes.. While Seniors: Imhotep road runner like PG Rahmir Barno (Florida Gulf Coast) & Camdens tandem of hardnosed 6-5 F “BoogRobinson (Albany) & 6-1 point guard extraordinaire Cian Medley (St Louis) are all capable of having a star-like night. Barno was recently named MVP of the Prestigious City of Palms Classic which just so happens to take place at in Fort Myers, FL, the same town his future destination FGCU sits in.. Another big development is that Camden’s rookie coach Maalik Wayns, a Roman Catholic & Villanova alum who made it to the NBA himself, grew up within walking distance from Imhotep.

Some of the big showcase games I’ve attended over the years: Let’s start with my first high school basketball experience, March of 1988 my uncle Fred took me to McGonigle Hall at Temple University to see his Alma mater the West Philly Speedboys take on Frankford in the Public League title game. This game was legendary as Frankford outlasted the Speedboys in 4 OTs.. Fast forward to 1993, I went with a few of my buddies that went to Overbrook to the Old Civic Center to watch the Public League Semifinals. Game 1: Overbook vs FLC, Game 2: Gratz vs Olney.. My homies bragged all year about this Overbrook tandem that they called, “Pippen & Jordan” That’s right legendary wings Ronald Kenan & Laurence Pembroke were that electrifying in high school. And Gratz – Olney was a battle of giants, Rasheed vs Jay Law.. In 1995, Roman Catholic was the only team I remember that was as talented as Gratz 93 squad. But in the Catholic League final David beat Goliath after Carroll, led by baby-faced Soph PG Martin Inglesby (he still looks like a teenager today in his 40s) has took down the mighty Cahillites at the Palestra.. 1996 was the best year for High school hoops in this area from my memory.. It was the year of Kobe.. In December of 1995, I went to Drexel to see a battle between Kobe’s Lower Merion squad & the Donnie Carr led Roman Catholic. DC got the best of “Bean”that day in the head to head matchup and his team got the W.. Later that season in late February at the SOLD OUT PALESTRA I saw the District 1 Semifinals which pitted Rip Hamilton Led Coatesville vs Lower Merion in game 1 & the super talented John Linehan led Chester Clippers vs the also super talented Plymouth Whitemarsh in Game 2.. A week later back to the Civic Center it was for the Pub Semis. What a treat as Edison, who til this day is my favorite Pub team ever took down FLC & Gratz led by 29 points from Junior wing guard Marvin O’Conner upset Nationally ranked Frankford, the most athletic high school team I ever saw that sported 2 St Joe’s recruits and a Drexel recruit.. A few weeks later it was back to the sold out Palestra again for the PIAA State semis which pitted Kobe and LM in a rematch of the District Finals vs Chester. Kobe and the boys somehow prevailed in OT behind a legendary 39 point performance by the future All-Time great.. In 98, well December 97 Pooh Richardson flew out 2 of LAs top Public schools: Nationally ranked Westchester & always tough Crenshaw to Philly to play in a weekend round robin showcase at his Alma mater Ben Franklin High. Overbrook, led by schoolboy legend Don Feaster also partook in the action. Westchester was loaded led by Syracuse recruit Tony Bland, a smooth 6-4 point guard.. In 2000, the inaugural Scholastic Play by Play Classic took place at Temple’s Liacouras Center. Two games: the undercard Chester & Jameer Nelson took on Pennsbury led by Notre Dame recruit Torian Jones.. And the main even Roman took on Camden or more like Eddie (Griffin) vs Juanny (Wagner), who some said were the best 2 players in the country regardless of class. Needless to say, Fox 29 broadcast the game and the Liacouras was filled to capacity.. 2003, the Palestra again (over)filled to capacity, this time cause some guy named LeBron was coming to town to play against fabled local hero Maureece Rice & Strawberry Mansion.. January 31st 2004 a big doubleheader at Arcadia put Nationally ranked Simon Gratz vs Germantown Academy on the undercard. Gratz led by 30 points & 14 boards from 6-5 Sr Small forward Mark Tyndale (Temple) rocked the rim that day with 9 in game dunks.. The main event was an even bigger treat as 2 of the Nations top 5 pgs battled when Sean Singletary (Penn Charter/UVA) took on Kyle Lowry (Dougherty/Nova).. A few weeks later in February 2004, the place was Trenton, NJ for the Prime time shootout event and Cardinal Dougherty gave the star-studded #1 in the country Oak Hill ALL they could handle.. The big matchup that day: Lowry vs Rondo.. 2006, 2 big events stand out both ending in buzzer beaters.. ESPN came to the once again sold out Palestra to see Wayne (UNC) & Gerald (Duke) Episcopal squad take on Nationally ranked Neumann-Goretti led by future Syracuse stars Scoop Jardine & Rick Jackson among others. EA pulled off a mild upset after a last second Wayne Ellington coast to coast drive into a pull-up 12 foot jumper, 65-64.. Later in that season, the Saints got redemption in the Catholic League title game at La Salle University Gola Arena as Sr G D.J. Rivera, after being unmercifully heckled by the Roman student section all game long, hit a buzzer beating game winning three ball and ran over and rubbed it in only to have water bottles and other objects thrown at him.. 44-41 Saints in a thriller.. 2013 at the Liacouras Center the Public League final pitted Nationally ranked yet hood legends Rysheed Jordan (Vaux) vs Brandon Austin (Imhotep). Earlier during the regular season, Jordan went into Imhotep’s hostile gym and handed the Panthers a resounded double digit defeat, one of two home losses in the last 10 years if my memory serves me correctly.. BA would win the day in the Chip though in front of a raucous crowd.. December 2016 in front of a spirited crowd at Arcadia University Neumann Goretti upset Nationally ranked Imhotep behind a dazzling near 40 point performance by McDonalds All American guard, Quade Green.. December 2018 Community College of Philadelphia was the location as Roman took on Nationally ranked Imhotep.. Inside that game a Hulk vs King Kong battle commenced between Roman’s Sr SF Seth Lundy (Penn State) & Imhotep’s Sr SF Donta Scott (Maryland).. And the Cahillites also sported a freshman big man named Jalen Duren whose currently a rookie in the NBA.. And the last such event of note, December 2019, the location Cherry Hill East high school in South Jersey, the favored Camden Panthers took on the young Roman Catholic Cahillites led by Duren.. Roman scored the upset that day in front of a standing room only crowd..

Current Frankford boys basketball coach Jamie Ross was a sweet shooting wing guard in the late 80s for the Pioneers 1st of back to back titles (88-89).. Ross went on to score more than 1200 points at Eastern Kentucky..

Where will you be on January 28th, 2023??? I know where I plan to be… 🥨🍿🥤

— AA

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