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2 Years After Snub, Curry is All-Star Man of the Moment

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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, right, talks to Stephen Curry during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, right, talks to Stephen Curry during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Curry will take on his teammate and team up with his father, then finally take the floor as the leading vote-getter for the All-Star game.

The Golden State Warriors’ guard might be the man of the weekend, and even he can’t believe how quickly it’s happened after he was an All-Star snub just two years ago.

“I remember where I was the night I didn’t hear my name called and thought that was a real possibility,” he said. “I was in Chicago sitting in the hotel room watching the announcements and obviously (David) Lee was a representative, so happy for him, but in two short years obviously where it is now, it’s unreal.”

Curry rebounded from not getting chosen in 2013, when he had the highest scoring average among players not picked, by being a first-time selection last year. He finished more than 42,000 votes ahead of LeBron James to be the top vote-getter this season, and he heads to the break as a leading candidate for the MVP award.

The Warriors have the NBA’s best record and will be well-represented on Sunday. Steve Kerr will coach the Western Conference, and he tabbed Curry’s backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, to start in place of the injured Kobe Bryant.

The night before, Curry and Thompson are part of an elite field for the All-Star Saturday 3-point contest. Curry will also team up with his father, Dell, a former NBA player, and the WNBA’s Sue Bird in the shooting stars competition.

He says there is more pressure to beat his teammate than there is to not lose with his dad.

“The Currys have never won a 3-point contest, so I think that’s probably the more pressure,” he said.

Even if he loses them all, it’s a big weekend for Curry. His career-high performance of 54 points in February 2013 came at Madison Square Garden, site of Sunday’s game, not long after the last All-Star game that went on without him.

Hard to imagine him missing another one any time soon.

“Just to be on a winning team, best record in the West and have the vision that we have for this team this year,” Curry said, “and then all the other stuff that comes from that when it comes to personal accolades and acknowledgements and all that stuff, kind of try to keep it in perspective because it is crazy.

“In two years, that’s a lot that’s happened.”

Here are other things to watch during All-Star weekend:

ONE CITY, TWO ARENAS: The Friday and Saturday events go to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, while the Knicks’ Madison Square Garden hosts the All-Star game Sunday. The teams may be rivals on the court, but Commissioner Adam Silver insists it was easy to get them to share the festivities.

“I wish there was some smoke filled-room story in Moscow that I could tell you, but in fact both organizations were incredibly cooperative,” Silver said.

MICHELE’S MOMENT: Michele Roberts will hold her first All-Star press conference since being chosen last year as the NBA Players Association’s executive director, the first woman to head a North American team sport’s union. Her weekend won’t be all business — she’s bringing back the popular Player Association’s party that’s been on hiatus for a few years.

CELEBRITY COACHES: Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony and director Spike Lee will serve as coaches in Friday’s celebrity game. Anthony plans to be a laid-back one.

“All celebrities feel like they think they know how to play basketball. Some of them are pretty good, so just a matter of putting them out there and throwing the ball out there and telling them to go,” Anthony said. “They’re going to do their own thing anyway.”

What about Lee, the Knicks’ most passionate celebrity fan?

“Oh, Spike is going to be into it,” Anthony said. “Spike’ll be loud, Spike will be really coaching.”

MISSING MEN: All the stars aren’t healthy enough to be All-Stars. The West roster is missing the injured Bryant, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis, all of whom had been voted by fans as starters.

HELPING HAND: Visiting New York and have any questions? Tweet them to the State Farm assist center — @SFNBA — that’s set up at the NBA House and use #Allstarassist, then wait for an answer.

___

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Black History

IN MEMORIAM: Referee Jim Burch Got the Final Whistle in The Game

Jim Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019). To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

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jim burch
Jim Burch

By Tamara Shiloh

Created in 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference, an athletic conference headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., quickly rose to prominence. Within 13 years, the university and college teams in its membership had a number of victories to its credit. North Carolina State University won the first three championships, and the conference was getting heavy exposure outside of the region. Several ACC teams went to the Final Four of the NCAA’s basketball championships. In North Carolina, Duke University took four titles, Wake Forest University took two and University of North Carolina had one victory as did the University of Maryland.

Life inside the ACC could not have been better, except for one minor but not overlooked detail: there were no Black players or officials.

But Jim Burch (1926–2019), who began his officiating career with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1959, would become the first, signing on with the ACC in 1969. His debut, however, was delayed for a season because “he reportedly refused to cut his hair and sideburns.”

A Raleigh, N.C., native raised in Larchmont, N.Y., Burch was a 1949 graduate of North Carolina’s Fayetteville State University. There he was a two-sport athlete – football and baseball – having large dreams.

Burch “talked about sitting in the ‘colored’ section of Reynolds Coliseum watching games, telling his friends that he was going to be on that court someday,” ACC referee Jamie Luckie told ESPN in 2019 referring to the sports complex in Raleigh, N.C. “They said he was crazy, and sure enough, he was on that court one day.”

Burch never made a big deal out of the historic mark, although many would benefit from his humility. He would train and mentor hundreds of officials over the years. In fact, it was Burch who gave Luckie his start in refereeing.

Throughout his 60-year career, Burch officiated in the CIAA, ACC, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Southern Conference. He also worked 14 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments and was an educator and administrator within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.

Working as an educator made Burch “an unbelievable teacher of the game in terms of what he wanted us to do on the floor, how he wanted us to deal with coaches, how he wanted us to communicate, and just his delivery and style was one where he could get it across to you, but he was a teacher. That never stopped,” Luckie said.

Burch continued to make monumental achievements as well as give back.

Many of those he trained moved into CIAA, ACC, Southern Conference, and NCAA championship careers. He was twice featured in the NCAA Champions Magazine, served on numerous civic boards, and was the first African American to serve on the Charlotte Housing Authority board.

Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019).

To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

Before retiring in 2018, he served as the head coordinator of officials for the South Atlantic Conference and the CIAA.

Burch died at his home in North Carolina in 2019 at the age of 91.

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Bay Area

Skyline High Girls Volleyball Team Makes History

The team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match.

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The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team
The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team.

As the season comes to a close for the Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team, the members are celebrating that they went farther than any Skyline or OUSD/OAL volleyball team ever has. On the final day, November 19, the team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match. Skyline fell short 3 games to 1, coming in as runner-up. The photo above shows the team posing with their trophy after the match.

 

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Commentary

OPINION: Would You Pressure Your Kid’s Coach to Apologize for Winning by 106-0?

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

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Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)
Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)

By Kenneth Miller | Inglewood Today

Coaches push the athletes they train to put their all into mastering the mental and physical aspects of their sport, preparing them to edge out competitors and perform at the height of their abilities.

But there are real-life situations, it seems, when attaining excellence proves to be too much – or maybe just not good enough.

This seems to have been the case October 29 when an impressive shut-out victory for Inglewood High School in Los Angeles County ended up turning into a bitter crosstown game of guilt, blame and grievances. That day, Inglewood High football coach and former Cleveland Browns defensive back Mil’Von James led his team to a 106-0 victory over rivals Morningside High School.

Since that shellacking, education authorities have blasted James and Inglewood High for being too focused on winning that they failed to exhibit a spirit of compassion and sportsmanship.

The California Interscholastic Federation -Southern Section (CIFSS), the governing body of high school athletics in the state, released a scathing statement regarding the wide margin of the game’s final score.

“The CIF Southern Section expects that all athletic contests are to be conducted under the strictest code of good sportsmanship. “We expect coaches, players, officials, administrators and students to adhere to the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship,” CIF-SS fired off in a statement.

“A score of 106-0 does not represent these ideals,” the statement continued. “The CIF-SS condemns, in the strongest terms, results such as these. It is our expectation that the Inglewood administration will work towards putting in place an action plan so that an event such as this does not repeat itself.”

James, 38, said it was not his intention to degrade or demoralize the Morningside High team.

“I apologized for the way things turned out,” James said even though, during the game, he benched his defensive starters after the second quarter and most of his other frontline players in the second half.

But Inglewood continued to run up the score on its hapless opponent.

Anyone who knows James personally would know – and can attest to the fact — that his intent was never to bring shame to the game that he loves.

Coaches like James who have played college and pro football understand the fierce competitiveness it requires for young people to succeed when pursuing careers as professional athletes. They train their students to be warriors, to dominate their opponents. Varsity sports is the highest level of competition in high school.

Today, the advancement of training techniques and year-round coaching and development increases the likelihood that schools with the resources will outperform schools with sports programs that are underfunded or under-supported.

Since he became coach at Inglewood High three seasons ago, James has taken the team from a losing streak to being nearly undefeated. During that time, the team has moved from CIF-SS Division 13 to Division 2.

Inglewood student athletes have advantages in coaching and preparation that Morningside and many other schools do not.

James was a star on the football squad at Fremont High School in Los Angeles where he graduated in 2003. In college, he first played for the UNLV Rebels where he led the nation in passes; before transferring to UCLA and playing for the Bruins from 2003-2005.

After brief stints in the NFL and the Canadian Football League on the roster for the Cleveland Browns and the Vancouver Lions respectively, James began coaching high school football.

He is the founder and director of one of most successful ‘7 on 7’ leagues in the nation, responsible for scores of future and current high school, collegiate and professional players.

Chances are, if you have observed any top football program in California, you have you witnessed his impact on young players, their development and their unmatched leadership skills – on the field and off it.

The Inglewood Unified School District also blasted James and Inglewood High.

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

High school sports, in many schools, is a training ground for college and pro athletes. Schools that have better resources will always have an edge.

It is unfortunate that this incident has placed a dark cloud over a high school sports program. Inglewood High’s football program should be celebrated for its league championship and undefeated record in a school district that is still in state receivership.

Kenneth Miller is the publisher of Inglewood Today.

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