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Weekend of Firsts

Well, the 2021-22 college basketball season has officially come to an end. I will eventually give my thoughts on the entire season. I attended the final four weekends in New Orleans. It was a great experience and a weekend of "firsts". The Tar Heels and Blue Devils squared off for the first time in the history of the Final Four. It was a great game and for me to have coached against both schools twice... 

 

It was also a first for the HBCA ALL-STAR GAME. It did not disappoint! Coach Wilson and I were there to support our ALL CIAA performer Javonte Cooke! 

 

Travis Williams, Cy Alexander, and their staff put on a first-class event. They named both teams after two historically black college coaching LEGENDS! Team John Mclendon and Team Bighouse Gaines! Student-athletes were selected from the CIAA, SIAC, MEAC, and SWAC. The athletes participated in a pro-combine and team workout in front of NBA and professional scouts. It was awesome! 

 

There was a great crowd on the campus of The University of New Orleans. The atmosphere was electric and professionally done. There were great halftime activities from some of the best HBCU bands in the country and a few Greek fraternities in the area also did a few steps! 

 

The game itself had great action. There were dunks, 3 pointers and the guys played extremely hard for the fans/scouts! 

 Click here for more. 

 

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Career Day

Last Friday, our Athletic Director, Etienne Thomas, the athletic department, and I had fun visiting Quality Education Middle School for their career day. We had loads of fun speaking with the students in a packed auditorium. 

AD Thomas shared what her job responsibilities are as the athletic director. In addition to sharing her responsibilities as AD, she showed slides and video footage of some great moments in Athletics. 

We had staff from our departments speak to the students. We also had some of our student-athletes share their goals and ambitions after college.

I was the last one to be introduced. I was brief, but I enjoyed bringing a few of the students up to the front to display shooting form and defense stance as things I look for with potential student-athletes. In the end, I explained how I recruit student-athletes with A's and B's in HS. 

The day ended with AD Thomas giving good trivia questions for the students. After the trivia, every student got a goodie bag with some great WSSU gifts. It was a great day to spend time with a few future RAMS. - Coach Cleo Hill Jr.

 

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Thank You, Mayor Allen Joines

Earlier this month, Mayor Allen Joines and The City of Winston-Salem honored Winston-Salem State Men's Basketball for the 2020 CIAA Conference Championship. It was an exciting moment for me as the head coach. 

Mayor Joines expressed how he wanted to recognize the team, the staff, and the program much earlier. But, due to Covid-19 taking over the country almost as soon as we won the championship, it made his intentions impossible. 

During the recognition, I was accompanied by our Athletic Director, Etienne Thomas. AD Thomas spoke to the room on behalf of the team, staff, athletic department, and University. Her words were powerful, genuine, and appreciative of the recognition. We were also accompanied by our new Sports Information Director, Airis Thomas. 

I can get used to those kinds of meetings. - Coach Cleo Hill Jr.

 

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Season Has Come to an End

CIAA TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL GAME​

I give all the credit to the Virginia Union’s team and Jay Butler's staff. Union came ready to play for sure. Coach Butler is a CIAA Champion as a coach and player. We knew it would be a tough fight, but the opening defensive possession saw Union get almost six cracks at scoring. In a nutshell that is where the key to the game started for us. How would we control the defensive backboards?  Union had 24 offensive rebounds in this one game. They outrebounded us 45-26. 

Early on, I thought we were solid in other areas. We advanced the ball quickly in transition and got good shots. As Union’s transition defense got better then our next hurdle was the 2-3 circle zone which Union has used forever. I thought we struggled against it most of the night. 

In the 2nd half, I thought our own 2-3 zone had its moments and we were able to rebound a little better than our man-to-man defense. In our man-to-man, I thought Union rebounded well and they executed their offense, getting layups and anything else they wanted in the painted area. 

Down the stretch, I thought we had our chances. Down by 6 with 3:52 to go, we gave up a basket AND a foul which pushed their lead up to 9... 

 Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Day #4 in Baltimore

CIAA TOURNAMENT GAME

I felt the team was laser-focused at breakfast. Nobody was late for breakfast, which sounds like a small thing, but it's not. My coaches and I talked a little about strategy and the focus of the players. Study Hall was normal and Mr. Harris has been great at keeping us on task. The guys seemed to want to get off their feet. 

A mid-day shootaround was another chance for me to observe body language, attitude, and energy. They checked all of the boxes. I felt the Seniors were locked in Hicklin, Cooke, and Campbell, great to see. 

We came back to the hotel and ran over the scouting reports again and brief coaches meeting and that's it. Ready to play! We got back to the arena and watched the Lincoln vs Livingstone game! Our pre-game was great and the guys seemed ready. 

The game started, as usual, nip and tuck, but I felt we were loose. Midway through the 1st half, we felt like we were doing a good job on their two best players, but the others were effective. We gathered our data yet again and the defense got stingy. We played well in transition and surprisingly well in the half-court sharing the ball. We led 37-26 at the half...

 

 Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Day #2 and #3 in Baltimore

Day #2 and #3 in Baltimore was almost a copy of the first day. We started with breakfast and study hall. Some of our players had tests to take. We had a lighter practice, but the intensity was not compromised. I thought the energy stayed high and they still competed. I could tell they were loose and not tense as the days to competition now become hours. I had a chance to talk to a few of them individually, they seem to understand the importance of the moment. 

 

My coaching staff is locked in. We went to watch our women play vs Lincoln University, was that a great game. Our ladies played well and hard! Coach L.T. had them locked in and ready for battle. I thought the officials missed a few calls that could have given us a leg up, but we still hung tough. In the end, the ball just didn't bounce our way but the women gave it their all and had a great season. 

 

After the game, we came back to the hotel and had dinner in the meeting room while watching the games on the big screen. It was great bonding but I did leave the room early for individual preparation. My staff and I now have to trust the preparation and the guys just have to play basketball now. - Coach Cleo Hill Jr. 

 

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The First Day in Baltimore

Well, we are here!

 

The first full day in Baltimore. The guys seemed focused for the most part. We have a few guys that are not used to our tournament demeanor. Attention to detail on every level: intensity on everything, not being late to breakfast, late-night study hall, and limited joining. The upperclassmen have done a good job of policing things that my staff and I should not have to. The practice was great! It was very very intense with a few scuffles. All very healthy. They were locked in during the teaching moments as well! The banquet was very nice for the first time in Baltimore. They put on a great evening. The RAMS came away with some awards! Javonte Cooke and Cameron Campbell left with ALL CIAA tournament recognition and Isaac Parson was selected to the ALL Rookie team! The team walked away with the Southern Division Championship! It was a great night, The evening concluded with a 2-hour study hall session to keep the guys up to speed on the things they will miss this entire week, THAT is what the plan is. Like always, thank you all for your support. I was so blessed to receive many congratulations on social media for winning the southern division championship, being awarded a trophy ball for the milestone of 200 wins, and posting a pic side by side with my Idol Cleo Hill Sr. I wish I could thank everybody for the likes and comments. I tried though. Thanks again! GoRams! - Coach Cleo Hill Jr.

 

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Wild Night in Livingstone

The story seems to be the same every night. We played another game against a former CIAA Tournament Champion and a former CIAA Coach of the Year, Coach Stinson. I believe he is also the last coach to have back-to-back CIAA Championships. All of that just to say these wins are VERY hard to come by.

 

It is a feat in itself to sweep teams in this league. The game was full of highs and lows. It was senior day for the Blue Bears, so it was an emotional night. For the first time in a while, we got off to a great start leading by five. Of course, they stormed back and the score went back and forth with so many 3 pointers and high-flying dunks! We were down at half by 5 points. 

The second half was much of the same with our defense not performing at its best, we ended up in a shootout with the top-scoring team in the league. We had no answer for them in the zone or man defense. They had no answer for us on offense either...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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A Host of Milestones

First, it was a great win against one of the conference's legends, Coach Steven Joyner. He has been the ambassador of our league for a long time with multiple CIAA Championships, multiple NCAA playoff appearances, a  host of league MVPs, and turned out some great coaches on his coaching tree. Joyner is top-notch and first-class in our sport. 

Before the game I was surprised to be honored by my players, coaching staff, support staff, the entire Gaines Center crowd, and last but not least my family. (son Michael, daughter Sage, and my wife Regina). They honored me with a very nice plaque filled with photos throughout my career, a ball with 200 wins, and the date on which it was reached. It is great to be recognized in any kind of arena. This is the first time in my coaching career that I have been recognized by the number of wins milestone. I would like to thank all my former employers, players, coaches, support staff, and managers...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Instant Classic, Epic, Unbelievable

To describe a game or the atmosphere in the C.E. Gaines Center, I would have to go back and see how many times I have used the words instant classic, epic, or unbelievable. Last night vs. FSU was all three words in one sentence. I have grown accustomed to the RAMS/Broncos. It has been a healthy one now that Coach D'Alessio is at the helm. Coach won the tournament in early 2000 and also spent time at the Division I level. His teams are always prepared and I felt it from the tip-off. However, your RAMS were prepared also.

 

We have been having slow starts all season. Again, like a seasoned Floyd Mayweather, my team collected data and adjust to an early flurry. We ended the half on a nice run to only be down by 2-points at the half. Our defense began to dig in towards the later part of the 1st half which allowed us to play more in transition...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Handling a Late Flurry of Punches

Both teams know each other well. So the first half was an in-depth feeling-out process. They wanted to know what we were going to do differently, and we wanted to know what they were going to do differently. Earlier this season, Claflin started hot on offense. They are a team of offensive runs. Being sure they didn't catch fire was a major priority. In the first half, there were many lead changes and tie scores before heading into the locker room. At the half, we were up by seven. 

We started strong offensively in the 2nd half. A 22-8 run built our lead to 21-points. Javonte Cooke scored 26-points in the game, tallying 9-12 from the field, 2-3 from three-point land, and 6-8 from the free-throw line. 

Cameron Campbell and Issac Parson contributed a great deal offensively, hitting 5-8 from the field and 4-4 at the free-throw line for 15 points each. Shamon Jackson hit 4-6 and finished with 8-points. John Hicklin led with nine rebounds and four assists...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Another Close Game

I will take it! Another close game that was not pretty. As a coach, I am always searching for the perfect game, a great percentage from the free-throw line, from the floor, and three-point range. On the defensive end, I want to hold the opponent's percentage low in those areas. Executing the offensive and defensive game plans to be as close to perfect as possible. 

We found a way to grind out another win. It is so hard to win in this league. All the players are so athletic and play extremely hard. Teams also come equipped with great game plans. The coaches in this league are always prepared. Sometimes it is just a grind and gut check. 

Again we had great production from our graduate seniors: Cameron Campbell, Javonte Cooke, and Alex Reed. In addition to those 3, CIAA Champion, Xavier Fennell provided a huge spark on defense and rebounding. Freshman guard...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Leadership and Experience Counts

Senior leadership and championship experience paid dividends last night. Coach Brooks is the latest to enter C.E. Gaines Center winning multiple CIAA Championships and the Coach of the Year award in our league. His team was extremely prepared last night, especially on the defensive end. 

The Bulldogs held us to 25 points in the first half. But, we held the Bulldogs to 23 points in the first half. We had a short second-half spurt, but Bowie answered. Both teams battle through regulation to a standstill with overtime needed. I thought the freshman Isaac Parsons played well through the 2nd half and overtime. He is coming into his own, scoring 15 points while going 7 for 7 from the charity stripe. 

We had two graduate seniors that missed the last two games only to come back to make the difference in this basketball game. Cameron Campbell and Alex Reed were HUGE... 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Greatest Home Court Advantage

The Lady Rams started the evening with a great win! My guys started slow, once again. Livingstone College's Coach Stinson is yet another multiple CIAA tournament champion and a former Coach of the Year. His team came out tough, intense and prepared. In the past, I referenced Floyd Mayweather and collecting data on a team in the first portion of the game. Last night, it took a whole half to figure out the best way to attack Livingston College. Livingstone led at the half (41-33). 

Instead of attacking, we decided to counter. We made some adjustments defensively and we took off from there. With Javonte Cooke and Jon Hicklin leading the way, we were able to cause bad shots and turnovers which let us get out in transition with some savvy play from Samage Teel and some super high flying play from "X Man" Xavier Fennell... 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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An Instant Classic in Charlotte

{Coaches and Charlotte Alumni Chapter Pictured}

Anyone who knows about the CIAA will tell you Brayboy Gym is a monster to play in! Coach Steve Joyner is one of the last legends of our league! Coach Joyner is an outstanding coach and an even better man/mentor. He has one of the greatest HBCU basketball families. His teams are always prepared and it was no different last night, in Charlotte. The game was intense from the very start! 

Smith allowed fans in the gym for the first time in months. They jumped out to a quick 23-9 early in the first half. Like always, my team gathered data in those first 10 minutes, like Floyd Mayweather in his prime. We soon adjusted, made a few moves, and we were back in the game within minutes...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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A Little Too Overconfident

Coach D'Alessio is another former CIAA Champion, formerly at Bowie State. His Broncos were very prepared for our first battle since the 2020 CIAA tournament. 

We jumped out early, only to see the Broncos recover the lead for most of the 1st half. We do a good job at collecting data in the first 10 minutes of a game. Once we adjusted to their personnel, playing style, and tempo, we came roaring back to take the lead by 3 at the half. For the most part, in the last 10 minutes of the 1st half, we played well and stayed true to the scouting report, especially on their best players. 

In the 2nd half, we did not stay true to the scouting report at all. This is uncharacteristic of this team, especially defensively. We gambled for steals and let their best players get a rhythm... 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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The Streak is Still Alive

We are trying to stay undefeated in 2022. In a packed C.E. Center, the Ramily supported both the women's and men's basketball programs.  

After the women's impressive win, the men came out slow. Let's credit Claflin's coach Ricky Jackson. My former assistant coach at Shaw Univ. had them super prepared. Claflin came out on fire, hitting shots from all over the court. They ran their offense to perfection early on. Midway through the first half, I thought we adjusted to their style of play. We settled in offensively, especially in transition. I thought playing faster would be to our benefit with Claflin pressing and trappy as they did. 

The second half was back and forth, but we imposed our will on the defensive glass. We outrebounded Claflin 35 -24... 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Division Play is Always a Dog Fight

Competing against teams in the division is always tough. Especially when we are facing a well-coached team led by Coach Marqus Johnson and the conference's leading scorer, Dhashon Dyson. 

Our players didn't just do a good job on the defensive end, during the first half of the game. I would say the team did a great job n the defensive end. The half saw our defense hold the Falcons to 20 points and the conference's leading scorer to 4 points. We produced the best 20 minutes of defense I've seen in years. The guys followed the scouting report to the letter. 

The start of the 2nd half showed more great defense and an even better offense...

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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RS Freshman Hits Game Winner

My first game back of the New Year! Congratulations to my talented assistant coaches who led the program to two impressive wins versus two former CIAA Championship and former Coach of the Year Award winners.

So, of course, for my first game of the New Year, we faced another CIAA champion and former Coach of the Year Award winner, Coach Shawn Walker. Coach Walker is a very accomplished coach and a respected leader of Elizabeth City State. I knew it would be a close game. 

We still had five players out dealing with injuries and COVID-19 protocol. We started very slow, while ECSU started on fire...

  • Click here to see freshman Issac Parson's game-winner

  • Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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The Cleo Hill Award
 

One of the primary goals of ERACISM is to educate today’s fans on the stars of the past and the HBCU Legends Awards will shine a light on players like Kentucky State’s Travis Grant who is College Basketball’s all-time leading scorer. Thus, the Travis Grant Award will annually honor the top scorer in all levels of college basketball. The Zelmo Beaty Award will highlight the nation’s top shot blocker, the Marques Haynes Award will recognize the leader in steals, the Cleo Hill Award will highlight college basketball’s leader in assists, and the Willis Reed Award will be presented annually to the top rebounder in college basketball. 

  • Click here for more on ERACISM

  • Click here for past Cleo Hill Award winners.

 

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Two Games Out Due To COVID
 

From a few different viewpoints, missing the last few games due to the COVID-19 protocol was difficult. However, my program was in great hands.

 

I've spoken about my assistant coaches, Ricky Wilson and Lance Beckwith, on several occasions. I give them large responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, so it was business as normal for both of them... 

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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A Legend Called Home

Former North Carolina Central Eagle, Sam Jones, passed away on December 30. 

There is a standard when playing guard at North Carolina Central. That standard is Sam Jones. 

Knowing the history of the NBA, meeting Sam Jones during my freshman year at NCCU was a treat. I've always known him as being both positive and authentic. We kept in contact over the years and, we often spoke when I changed coaching positions. 

A memory that stands out was my senior year in college. Sam called a game on BET with the great Charlie Neal. The game was against my current employer, Winston-Salem State. Coach Gaines was the coach at the time. Charlie and Sam had some good things to say about me during the broadcast. He got a kick out of me shooting a bank-shot during the game (that was the shot he was famous for). Of course, I got the MVP of the game. How could I not? With legends calling the game, Hall of fame coaches coaching against each other, playing in the annex gym, and on BET, I had to show my best.

 

I remember Mr. Jones made a team visit when I was an assistant coach at Mount Zion Christian Academy. During the visit, Sam spoke with the team and challenged me to a shooting contest. Neither one of us shot the ball well that day. I was more amused by being on the same court with such a basketball ICON! I  lost so much with his passing, a fellow alum, a mentor, and a friend. 

Sam was so excited for me to coach at Winston Salem State University. When I got the job he called and we spoke for some time. He will be missed by all the people that he helped as well as the basketball world. - Cleo Hill Jr.

 

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RAM-Mathematical Formula

With back-to-back road defeats and a victory via a forfeit, WSSU Basketball managed to get three wins! Before that mathematical formula confuses you, let me explain.

First, our current WSSU Ram and 2020 Lincoln University transfer, Cameron Cambell, graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Cameron will walk across the stage in our Spring ceremony. 

The second win of the day was our Durham native and CIAA 2020 Champion, Justice Kithcart, graduating with a degree in Sports Management. Justice came to the Rams from Old Dominion University. Justice's mother is a proud graduate of Winston Salem State University! 

The third win of the day was down in South Carolina. Javonte Cooke graduated from Mars Hill University with a degree in Sports Management. Javonte and Cameron will finish their last year of eligibility this semester as WINSTON SALEM STATE UNIVERSITY RAMS! 

In this profession, you can lose and still win on the same day! I am so proud of all three young men. I can assure you that their parents are happy as well. Walking across the stage is an essential part of what we talk about here at WSSU during the recruiting process. To see it happen and the faces of these young men and their parents are priceless. 

Special thanks to Dr. Crawford Crooks and Mrs. Vicki Grant for staying with these young men. Also, thanks to my staff as we do our part in emphasizing the importance of walking across the stage. And to Justice, Cameron, and Javonte leave WSSU... GoAndBeGreat!! - Coach Cleo Hill Jr.

Bowie State Men's Basketball Game against Winston-Salem State University, scheduled for Monday, December 20, is declared a forfeit due to COVID-19 protocols.

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Fireworks In Pennslyvania
 

Corey Lowery is doing a great job in his first full year as head coach. His team was well prepared. 

 

I thought the game pace was great for us. We did well in transition offense and defense early. The game was physical and intense. We did much better in one of our weaker areas of free-throw shooting, going 10-13 and the rebounding was 36-38. But we also gave up 16 offensive rebounds. You will almost never win a game giving up that many offensive rebounds. 

 

There was a lot of chirping during the game which is nothing new in our league. However, you cannot let the chirping... 

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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The Rematch
 

Our Virginia Union rematch was what I thought it would be, a defensive battle. The Panthers continue to be famous for their 2-3 circle zone and have been for years. Coach Butler does a great job of emphasizing the effort on the defensive end. 

 

Two of our Achilles heels bit us again, rebounding and free throws. Two of the most basic elements of sports continue to hurt us. We had some success against the zone in spurts, but it was not enough to overcome a 21-43 rebounding edge, including 12 offensive rebounds for Union. Our free throw shoot found us at 8-17 from the line... 

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Wolfpack Legend #25

One of the greatest events in all sports is the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Why? Because it is full of stories, powerhouses, underdogs, and legends. 

I started watching the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 1978. The story that was brewing at the time was Indiana State vs. Michigan State. I was a Larry Bird fan in 1978, but I also kept hearing the name of a Michigan State player. They called him Earvin "Magic" Johnson.  I remember my uncle telling my dad how he thought I looked like Earvin Johnson. The nickname "Magic" followed me ever since. 

In 1982, my dad wanted me to watch the championship game, coached by an African-American head coach, John Thompson. That was an influential moment in my life. 

In grade 11, I started to get serious about college. In the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, The NC State "Cinderella team" was the headline in the news. I quickly became a fan. It was one of my first memories of watching players who played the game the way I played the game. One of the players I gravitated to was #25, Dereck Whittenburg. As NC State battled the indestructible PhiSlamma Jamma, University of Houston, I cheered for the underdog. 

In the last moments of that championship game, #25 took what should have been the last shot of the game, for the win. But, the shot fell short and became the greatest assist in NCAA Men's Basketball history. 

I met Whittenburg a few summers later in a pick-up game. Later in life, we both became coaches and ran into each other on the recruiting circuit. Whittenburg has always had a positive word about basketball, coaching, and life. He is successful at whatever he puts his hands on. 

In November of 2019, Whittenburg spoke to my team. He spoke about championships and what it took to obtain them. He also spoke about cherishing the moment and the relationships. I am thankful to call #25 my friend. #GoRams

 

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Non-Conference Thriller
 

The non-conference portion of the season has ended with the most exciting game so far. On Wednesday, we battled an inspired Morris College, in South Carolina. It was our first overtime game of the season. After shooting 1-16 from deep, and 15-31 from the free-throw line, most coaches would be depressed with the shooting accuracy. Although I am not happy with those numbers, I am proud that I found out how physically and mentally tough this team can be. 

We found a way to win a tough overtime game on the road. Outside of learning that my team has some heart, I saw so many things that we can improve on. Our depth will be a key factor all season. We have some time to clean up a few things and continue building team chemistry... 

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

 

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Good Month for the Rams
 

As the month comes to a close, I'd say it was a good November for our basketball program. Last night, we battled high-scoring Clinton College.  The emphasis was on fundamentals and effort on the defensive end. Our 2019-20 CIAA Championship team went into tournament play (canceled for Covid-19) as the #5 defensive team in the country, at the Division II level. This team can be as good defensively as that team. We have specific mandatory rules, or you will sub out of the game. We held Clinton College to 21 points in the 1st half. 

On the offensive end, we have a lot of work to do. Even though we scored 100 points, I was not pleased with the execution...

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts." 

Happy Thanksgivings Day

We are currently in the rat race right now. Weight lifting, study hall, film sessions, traveling, scouting reports, individual skill development, test, quizzes, team meetings, and we can't forget the intensity of non-conference battles. With little time to take a breath, we were able to sneak in a team Thanksgiving dinner. 

Our roster has students from as far as South Carolina, New Jersey, Chicago, and France. Those players were not able to go home due to a game scheduled in less than 48 hours. My coaching staff and support staff did a great job setting up our meeting room with decorations and an even better job of getting the food catered. 

After talking about football and Lebron James vs Michael Jordan, we soon got everyone's attention and blessed the food. We have a sharp young freshman in Stefon Mcleod that has volunteered all the food blessings and pre-game prayer. He is such a fine young man. He blessed the food and we began to line up to be served. 

Near the end of the fellowship, my coaches passed out our dog tags with each player's name on them. Coming up to the front to receive the dog tag, each player and coach would share one or a few things that they were thankful for. I thought it was great to see and hear. Amid everything going on, these young men have a good heart. This is a very special group for me as well as a special staff. I am truly blessed in so many ways. 

After meeting with my basketball family, I spent some much-needed time with my own family after being away for five days. I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. I am sure some of us, including myself, had a first thanksgiving or yet another thanksgiving without a loved one. These times can be tough, but give thanks for having them in your lives for the amount of time we did. It works for me. I say a prayer for those whom I know this is the 1st year without.

Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday season to you all! - Coach Cleo Hill Jr.

 

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Chris Paul's HOF Classic
 

It was a great five-day stay in Connecticut. Chris Paul, The Naismith Hall of Fame, and Boost Mobile were perfect hosts for all four invitees; West Virginia State, Morehouse College, Virginia Union, and Winston-Salem State University. We all toured The Basketball Hall of Fame as soon as we arrived.

 

Personally, it took me down memory lane to see some of my mentors highlighted as well as people who gave me advice about basketball and life. Coach Clarence Gaines, Earl Monroe, John Chaney, Al Attles, Sam Jones, Lenny Wilkins, Paul Silas... 

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts" and never before viewed behind the scene photos.

 

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There's No Place Like Home
 

It was another great team win, Friday night. The WSSU campus and community came out in full effect. The atmosphere was more than electric. Dr. Michael Magruder and The Red Sea of Sound represented as they always do. 

We welcomed Coach Washington with her first basketball game back as the head cheer coach, and the Red team turned up. The Dance Team was also represented very well in C.E. Gaines Center. A home game wouldn't be complete without the DJ keeping us rolling. The only thing needed was...

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts"

 

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Good Night in the ATL
 

Last night was a good night in Atlanta versus Clark Atlanta. Our team and staff were well prepared. Coach Beckwith delivered yet another detailed scouting report. We felt very comfortable with their personnel. Both teams seemed very tight early, but our effort showed at both ends of the court. Once we settled down we were fine, especially after a few substitutions. 

John Hicklin played very steady throughout the game and led us down the stretch in scoring, playmaking, and rebounding...

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts"

 

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West Liberty State Classic
 

The West Liberty State Classic was a good Classic for us to enter. Competing against programs with consistent NCAA playoff appearances was great for our players. Even watching East Stroudsburg, another familiar foe from my days in the PSAC, was good for us. Jeff has been there a long time and is no stranger to the NCAA playoffs.

 

We wanted to play a "national schedule" to prepare our program to win a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! This weekend was the first step in that direction. Again, thank you for your support via social media and your donations!

 

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Prepared and Ready
 

Wheeling Jesuit University was our second game. Wheeling is another NCAA Division II foe I have faced with more success. Defeating them in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, I moved on to the regional final. I felt like we were more locked in for this game. All 11 new players finally realized that this Division II level is REAL! 

The scouting report was great (as it was for West Liberty). Both of my coaches do a great job in giving details in the delivery. The game was tight the entire way...

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts"

 

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A Long Time Coming
 

It is official, the start of the 2021-2022 NCAA Basketball season. Our pre-season was educational, especially having our D1 ACC and Big South tour. We decided to enter into one of the most difficult regional classics in D2 hosted by powerhouse West Liberty (#14 in the nation). 

It's nearly ten years since I had been in their gym. I coached against them in the NCAA Regionals while at Shaw University two straight years from 2010-11 and 2011-12. Both years We came up just short in two close battles...

 

Click here to see more of Coach's "After Game Thoughts"

 

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