It’s always fun for me to see pictures of our campers in the sports pages of our local newspapers. During the past two weeks, as the high school basketball season in New York came to a close, I saw several recognizable faces who led their teams to success at the state level.
Marley Giddens, a participant in Girls Varsity Week at MVP for 3 consecutive years, helped her Irvington High School Varsity team to its second consecutive Class B state title. Marley posted 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks in a 91 – 52 rout of Aquinas Institute of Rochester. Marley’s Hall of Fame coach Gina Maher became a three-time state champion.
Kudos also go to Peekskill High School on it’s first girls’ state championship. Peekskill defeated Averill Park to win the Class A title by the score of 58-35. Jazmin Garcia was one of three players on the team who attended MVP on scholarship awards in the past. In the final, Jazmin netted 17 points, including 10 in the decisive 2nd quarter. She also had 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists for the game. Former MVP campers Asia Jackson and Troi Nolan also played important roles in the championship season.
On the boy’s side, Kahreign Joseph, a senior at North Rockland high school, emerged as one of the top five big men in the Hudson Valley. Kahreign was an MVP Basketball Camp participant from 2002 through 2008. He won MVP of his age group the last year he attended the camp. In 2011 Kahreign earned All Conference and All Section honors and will be playing in this year’s All Star game on April 6th. He will be taking his talents to SUNY Cortland next fall to play for the Red Dragons.
It was also fun to see the picture of Donnie Simmons on the cover of the The Journal News sports section on national signing day for college football scholarships. Donnie attended MVP as a camper for many years, and then worked at the camp for the past two summers. Although Donnie’s basketball skills are considerable, his stardom at Stepinac High school came on the football field. On February 2 he signed a letter of intent to play defensive end at Syracuse University. “It’s probably one of the greatest days of my life,” Simmons was quoted as saying in the Journal News article. “You can only go through this once and it’s a great opportunity to have this in front of me. It’s too much joy to put it into words.”
MVP Basketball Camp is open to campers of all abilities, and a majority of our campers will never experience athletic success at the Varsity level let alone the collegiate level. That is why MVP stresses the importance of academics during every guest speaker presentation and throughout the five weeks of camp. But MVP does see some special young athletes come through the program, and we believe they learn valuable lessons that prepare them well for the competitive nature of sports. I’m sure there have been other standout athletes from the MVP ranks that I have not mentioned. Please feel free to call or email me with their stories for future articles on the MVP website.