Tag Archives: Nohah Vickers

PSAL basketball’s top scorer chooses school over his sport


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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In a small classroom in Campus Magnet High School, the PSAL’s 2014 top scorer Nohah Vickers stumbled over an emotional speech before signing his National Letter of Intent.

He had just two shirts representing the schools that offered him full scholarships to play basketball at the next level. The first was Delaware State University—a Division 1 school that plays in the same conference as Norfolk State University, where pro player and former Campus Magnet standout Kyle O’Quinn played.

The other shirt was for Division II Mercyhurst University, a liberal arts Catholic college. After getting through his emotional story about the season, his basketball journey and the painstakingly difficult decision of which college to choose— which he couldn’t even make until the same morning—Vickers finally said it: “Mercyhurst.”

“I wanted to choose a school that best fits me, education-wise,” Vickers said at the event on Thursday.

Vickers, who led the league averaging 33.2 points per game and finished with 466 points scored, choose getting a degree and focusing on education rather than playing basketball. Besides being an all-star player, Vickers is a scholar who will graduate with a 93 average.

A very small percentage of college players from Division 1 schools actually go to the NBA — it’s an even smaller percentage from high school. At 5’9’’, 165 pounds, Vickers’ chances were reduced even further.

“Every kid that accepts a college scholarship, they think the next step from the college scholarship is the NBA,” Ken Vickers, Nohah’s father, said. “I know the next step for Nohah that [relieves] me as a parent is the job market.”

Campus Magnet HS head coach Charles Granby has preached his famous message of brains before basketball to his players for the 45 years he’s been at the sidelines, and taught players to dedicate themselves to getting their degrees.

Granby retired this year, but was present for Vickers’ selection party, and was proud of his choice.

“He’ll play for four years and after he comes out of there, he will have to find a J-O-B,” Granby said. “I always tell the boys, “Don’t wind up in the prison system, get that degree because that degree is your invitation to the party.’”

Vickers isn’t giving up on sports yet though. He plans to major in sports management at Merychurst.

 

 

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With hopes of attracting colleges, players participate in city all-star game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

It’s already April but the PSAL’s most prolific scorer of the 2014 basketball season, Nohah Vickers, still doesn’t know which college he will play for next year.

With just a few months remaining in the NCAA college commitment period, several schools have expressed interest in Vickers, but they are still looking at him closely before giving him official offers.

Vickers, a point guard for the Campus Magnet Bulldogs, led the league with 466 points, averaging 33 points and 6.5 assists per game. But the Bulldogs had an undersized team and finished second-to-last in the Queens AA league with a 4-12 record.

Vickers, however, was invited to play in the 2014 Mayor’s Cup All-Star boys basketball game on Saturday, March 29, which featured the top high school seniors from the season.

Some players who participated in the game had already committed to college teams, but the game also had athletes, who, like Vickers, aren’t sure where they’ll end up next year and were playing to display their talents and impress college coaches.

“It definitely helps you with showcasing your talent,” said Vickers, who has been contacted by Delaware State University, among other schools. “Even though it’s an all-star game, you got to hustle, you got to make sure to defend, you know, just the little things to impress [recruiters].”

The PSAL lost 108-86 against the CHSAA in the all-star game, which featured high flying dunks, alley-oops and slick ball handling skills that excited the crowd of fans.

Officials hope the all-star mixing, which is in its fourth year, will not only become a traditional city bragging rights tournament, but eventually become a recognized name for college coaches and recruiters to see city players.

“They more people they are able to get in front of, the more opportunities they are going to have,” said Jeffrey Mohl, vice president of sports marketing for NYC and Company, which organizes the annual all-star event. “And that’s the whole goal, to say seven, eight, nine kids got scholarships or looked at, or opportunities that they wouldn’t have had before this.”

Francisco Williams, a senior forward from the 2014 PSAL champion Benjamin Cardozo High School basketball team, is just another example of a top player who has yet to commit to a school. Williams, whose mother has health problems, is still looking at colleges but is heavily considering staying close to home. He said Long Island University of Brooklyn has expressed interest in him, but he is keeping his options open and hoped the Mayor’s Cup would help showcase his abilities to more coaches.

“This is just a continuation of schools looking at him,” Cardozo head coach Ron Naclerio said of the all-star game. “It’s like dating a girl or marrying. He wants to know schools are looking at him, but we have to find the right one.”

 

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Campus Magnet routs Edison for coach Charles Granby final home game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

With just under a minute remaining at the Campus Magnet boys basketball home game against Thomas Edison on Thursday, fans starting signing “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye.”

It could have been a song of pride as the Bulldogs were on route to rout the Edison Inventors to the tune of 87-48. But it was probably a farewell chant for Bulldogs’ head coach Charles Granby.

After 45 seasons platooning the sidelines for Campus Magnet, Granby is finally leaving the Bulldogs bench. And although the Bulldogs (4-10) didn’t show much bite this year, they barked loudly on Granby’s final home game. Campus Magnet’s top scorer, Nohah Vickers, dropped 54 points and dished 7 assists in the win.

“We just played together today and we were just motivated to give him a big win,” Vickers said. “We just wanted the last home game to be a good one, and a memorable one.”

Granby, 79, started teaching physical education at Campus Magnet in 1969 when it was called Andrew Jackson High School. He remained a teacher until 1996, but continued to coach because of his passion for basketball.

He is the winningest coach in PSAL history with 722 victories. He has taught basketball to thousands of teens over the years, and his teams have won 24 division titles, seven Queens championships and the coveted city title in 1985.

Granby himself played basketball at Bradley University, and was on the team when they won the National Invitational Tournament in 1960.

For his accomplishments, he was inducted in the New York State and New York City basketball hall of fames.

But this year Granby knew it was time.

“I just felt tired,” he said. “I’ve been here 45 years. It’s time to go.”

Despite all the trophies, honors and banners, many of which hang in the rafters of the Bulldogs home gym, what many appreciate is Granby’s mentor style that stretches beyond basketball.

His famed “ugly life” speech—without education everything in your life will be “ugly”— is given to players the day they walk in the gym. And even at his final home game, after fans dispersed and the lights in the gym turned off, Granby gave another lecture to his players.

He preached about the importance of going to college and not relying on basketball. He also told the boys to take care of their children when they become fathers.

Many past players hearing these speeches have experienced success, including Orlando Magic forward Kyle O’Quinn and newly elected Brooklyn City Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr.

“Dad is a father to everybody,” Granby’s daughter Robyn Granby-Poole said. “He’s not worried about the wins. He’s not thinking about that. He’s thinking about OK now your future is going to rely on (education) make sure you have this because basketball may come to an end.”

Now that basketball is coming to an end for him, Granby plans to relax and travel with his free time.

Granby’s successor hasn’t been named, but he’ll leave a lasting legacy for his replacement to look up to.

“It’s one of those things of who replaces the legendary coach?” said Gareth Robinson, the principal for the PSAL in the school. “For anything they do people who have been around in the community will wonder ‘oh well Granby wouldn’t have done it that way.’”

There will be a retirement party for Granby on April 26 at Jericho Terrace.

 

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