Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Schools from Miami to Ohio State to Oregon are under investigation by the NCAA.
University presidents from Syracuse to Pittsburgh to Texas A&M have forsaken long-standing conference ties in favor of a money grab for television deals.
Yet amidst all this doom and gloom, the college basketball community flashed its brighter side Friday when several of its most well known figures united at Rutgers for the inaugural Brayden Carr Foundation clinic.
Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley of St. Anthony, Kansas coach Bill Self, Kentucky coach John Calipari, former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, former NBA coach Larry Brown and Rutgers coach Mike Rice gave clinics to more than 500 coaches at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and former NBA coach Hubie Brown were among those in the audience.
“It’s a great opportunity to contribute to a marvelous cause and, at the same time, spend your whole day listening to marvelous people,” Hurley told MyCentralJersey.com. “When you look at who is here today, I’m honored to be a part of this.”
Registration was $150 per person and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit In Brayden’s Eyes, The Brayden Carr Foundation scholarship fund.
For those who aren’t aware, Brayden Carr was the son of Natalie and Jimmy Carr, the Rutgers Director of Basketball Operations. Brayden passed away in May at the age of 2 1/2 after battling seizures for his entire young life. (My original story on Brayden is here.)
With the help of many friends, including Andrea Hurley, the wife of Wagner coach Dan Hurley, Natalie and Jimmy channeled their personal tragedy into something they hope will benefit other families going forward.
“It meant the world to us to have so many people in the building today from all levels of basketball and all parts of the country,” Jim Carr told MyCentralJersey.com. “We want to keep Brayden’s name alive, keep his legacy alive, and he’s smiling today knowing we’re going to be able to help a lot of people, a lot of families, because of our basketball family.”
Self, who led Kansas to the NCAA title in 2008, combined the trip to Rutgers with recruiting visits to nearby St. Benedict’s Prep and Roselle Catholic.
Calipari, who as the coach at Memphis lost to Kansas in the 2008 in the title game, said he was on the road recruiting, but felt he had to make time for the event.
“I think it’s great that they’re taking a tragedy and making it a positive,” he said.
A former Rutgers assistant, Van Gundy said every parent can understand how painful it must be to lose a child.
“What Jim and his wife went through, losing their son, resonates with any parent,” he said. “I’m just so happy with the turnout and the amount of money they’re able to raise for their son’s foundation. I admire their courage, to be able to channel their grief into a positive action.”
Positive action. There hasn’t been much of that sort of thing displayed in the college athletics world of late.
But it was in full bloom for a few hours on Friday.
(Photo courtesy Asbury Park Press)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.