“David Laury has a chance to be the real deal,” Rodgers said. Two years ago, the team featured Kenneth Faried, who last year averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds as a freshman in 20 minutes a game at Morehead State. Rodgers, 65, will serve as Director of Operations and Athletic Director, while the coaching will be handled by Donald McCombs, Vincent Robinson and Frantz Pierre Louis. Rodgers said he has already lined up numerous games, including a pair of contests against Kevin Boyle’s St. Patrick of Elizabeth team. He said he also hopes to play Bob Hurley’s St. Anthony squad, the defending Tournament of Champions winner, and Dan Hurley’s St. Benedict’s team, which finished No. 2 in the national polls last year behind St. Anthony. The Eagles also either have games lined up against, or are working to get games with, traditional prep powers South Kent (Conn.), St. Thomas More (Conn.), Patterson (N.C.), Hargrave (Va.), Notre Dame Prep (Mass.), Winchendon (Mass.) and the West Point JV. He said a game with Union has been scheduled and he’s in talks with Plainfield coach Pete Vasil. “We’re also trying to get Blair, Lawrenceville and Peddie,” Rodgers said of the New Jersey prep programs. The team will kick off next season at a prep tournament in Maryland Oct. 24. In the first season, many games will be played on the road and Rodgers said Nia is negotiating to play home games at the Newark YMCA. Muhammad, the founder of the school, said tuition would be about $3,000 and that the school would not offer dormitories. The school itself is located inside the Robert Treat Hotel. Muhammad said he has been helping student-athletes from Essex County become college eligible for years and has worked with Horace McGloster (Houston) and Keon Lawrence (Missouri), as well as numerous female players from Newark Shabazz. “They became Division I players and didn’t have the grades,” Muhammad said. “A lot of the schools in the greater Newark area didn’t understand the NCAA Clearinghouse.”
Muhammad said he’s been thinking of launching a prep program for a couple of years and this seemed like the right time. “We’re putting players together, there’s been a lot of interest,” Rodgers said. “We’re still entertaining the possibility of other players.” BERGERON TO BLAIR CHRISTIAN In other prep school news, the Philly Inquirer reports that former American Christian coach Tony Bergeron is going to Blair (Pa.) Christian and taking junior guard Lamont “Momo” Jones and freshman guard Achraf Yacoubou with him. “We are 90 percent certain that we will be at Blair Christian Academy,” Bergeron told the paper. “Right now, it’s not done, only because we haven’t signed the contracts yet.” Darryl McCoy, a 6-foot-10 junior from Connecticut, is expected to be one of the team’s standouts, the coach told the Inquirer. He also plans to bring in 5-10 junior point guard Danny Lawhorne of Connecticut, 6-7 junior power forward Mike Haynes (Chicago), and 6-3 junior guard Lamount Samuels (New York). All were scheduled to enroll at American Christian in the fall.
(Photo courtesy Scout)