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The Nike Rose Classic spring edition kicks off in a little more than a week at JHS 113 in Brooklyn and it’s primed to be the biggest and best one yet. Organizers Cleon (Silkk) Hyde and Anton Marchand will have 48 different teams competing for the title – the most ever.
But last month they ran into a problem. The bleachers in the gym were ruled a safety hazard and were taken out.
“We’re trying to find somebody – anybody – to donate bleachers,” Hyde said.
Marchand reached out to John Nies of the Aviator Complex, which has bleachers in its gym that are going unused right now. There’s a possibility something might come together on that front, but time is ticking. If there are no bleachers, 200 chairs will be put out for spectators.
“More than likely someone will step up at the last minute,” Hyde said.
It would be a shame if no one does. The Rose Classic has become New York City’s premier girls’ basketball event. It is for the girls what IS 8 is for the boys – and Hyde and Marchand patterned the Rose after Pete Edwards’ program at the South Jamaica junior high school.
The event started with just 12 teams in 2005. Hyde and Marchand were working with Nike’s Conrad McRae boys’ basketball tournament beforehand and it was the idea of Kimani Young, a pioneer of grassroots basketball, to break into the girls’ game.
“We liked it and we were like, ‘Keep it going,’” Hyde said. “He was the mastermind behind the Rose Classic.”
Besides the Slam Jam event and a few others, Hyde said, there weren’t a whole lot of outlets for girls’ basketball in the city just four short years ago.
“Girls’ basketball wasn’t at that level,” he said. “We wanted to give it another avenue.”
Over time, and with the help of Nike, the Rose Classic – which, like IS 8, has fall and spring editions – has become what it is today. This spring’s tournament, which opens April 4, will feature an extraordinary collection of talent from all over the East Coast. The Mike Flynn-coached Philly Belles are one of the most highly touted teams coming from out of state, even though they feature some city players: Bria Smith, Ariel Edwards and Jackie Mullen of Christ the King and Bergtraum’s CeCe Dixona and Doris Ortega.
Hyde said Flynn’s squad is one of the favorites, but he also mentioned the Golden Girls, Silver Bullets and any one of the Exodus teams participating. The Golden Girls, which will be coached by St. Michael Academy assistant Lauren Best, will feature St. John’s-bound superstar Shenneika Smith and her future teammates with the Red Storm, Eugeneia McPherson of North Babylon, Notre Dame Prep’s Jennifer (Big Love) Blanding and Amanda (Buzz) Burakoski of Mary Louis. Joining them will be McDonald’s All-American China Crosby of Manhattan Center and Kennedy’s Teara Shaw.
“At any given time,” Hyde said, “we have 20 teams that can compete [for a title].”
If you want to donate bleachers to the Rose Classic or have information on obtaining bleachers, call Cleon Hyde at 646-734-8887 or Anton Marchand at 917-279-3502.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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