"It's All About The Game"

Coolidge protects its house and event






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Defense turned the tide.


December 28, 2015 - Hosting the first annual Calvin Coolidge Basketball Tournament, the school's Colts were tasked with a huge challenge; down 21 in the second half to talented and deep Capital Christian (MD), the home team looked far away from victory

Coolidge head coach Benny Nesbitt soon after intermission came up with a plan - chip into CC's hefty lead one play at a time, and fuel the stops necessary to make that happen via a 2-3 zone. By the end of the third quarter, Nesbitt's guys only trailed 49-45, took the lead around two and a half minutes later, eventually holding on 65-64, Sunday night.

Calvin Coolidge's Colts, with championship hardware.

William Vedder, a junior big man led the victors with 16 points and a game high 20 rebounds, while senior guard BJ Hill added 14 points and five rebounds. Coolidge now stands 7-5 overall, 1-2 in DCIAA play.

CC (11-3) got 25 points from senior guard Darryl Hill, who also pulled down three rebounds. The Crusaders had a chance to tie or take the lead with two seconds remaining, as senior point guard Jasper Sterling was fouled driving on the possession after a fast break score by Vedder. Sterling (three points, two assists) missed the first of a one and one charity stripe opportunity after being frozen out by Coolidge and Nesbitt, sealing CC's doom.

Recruiting Notes:

Josh Taylor - 6'4", 185 pound senior forward, Flint Hill (VA) - A smart, fundamentally sound forward, Taylor can both hit the foul line extended jumper and attack the tin from there, where he smartly finishes. Will rebound also.

Needs to burnish his ball handling and extend shooting past the three point line for college.

Is getting D3 and a few D2 looks.

Isaiah Moore - 5'6", 135 pound sophomore point guard, Flint Hill (VA) - When you see Moore, it's clear he knows the game, can hit shots past the long distance arc, and finds teammates. Ike possesses good point guard skills.

Physically, Moore must continue to hit the weights, thereby allowing him to better get under ball handlers. Speaking of defense, his coach, Rico Reed, wants Moore to further embrace that part of the game. To the young guy's credit it's coming along; Moore took a hard charge in his team's consolation game victory over Kingsman (DC), leading Reed, who was proud, to joke to him during the game "It didn't kill you right?"

Despite his size, Moore clearly is a ball player.

Jared Stevenson - 5'9", 140 pound senior point guard, Kingsman (DC) - A quick, slashing point guard, Stevenson thinks the game, even correcting officials on the foul shot status of foes. Also likes to control a contest's tempo.

Must get stronger, work on his left hand and extend his shooting range.

William Vedder - 6'8", 235 pound junior forward, Coolidge (DC) - Teams such as Delaware (offered), Towson (offered), Virginia, FSU, BC, USC (assistant Stink Norris was in the house scouting him) are showing various levels of interest, while CIAA schools such are also in the mix, including Virginia Union and assistant coach Fred Burroughs (present Sunday). He's trending upwards.

Why? Think a front court guy who can finish - his attempted monster dunk missed but sparked the Colts early in second half action - clean the glass and run the floor. Add an improving mid-range shot to his arsenal.

Vedder must display all of that consistently, as he has a penchant for not imposing his will in games. Becoming a weight room monster will advance his impact.

Giving Back

In its first year, the Calvin Coolidge Basketball Tournament was born of service and care. Just ask Frank Jones III.

"Well one of the reasons we had the tournament was because we started our organization thirty years ago" said Jones afterward, "and at the time we were first starting the organization, Coach Frank Williams was here". Williams, for which Coolidge's DCIAA flagship athletic facility is named and was a hugely successful and popular coach at the Northwest, DC institution, passed away in 1987 of brain cancer, the same year the Calvin Coolidge Alumni Association, presently led by Jones, was incorporated.

Since then, the CCAA, DC's first high school alumni association to become recognized as a non-profit corporation has been very active, supplying, per Jones "after school programs" and funded intertnational trips, along with a host of other endeavors. As Jones put it "We've done a lot of things to actually inspire kids to embrace higher education". This includes spearheading the collection of 1.2 million dollars for a greenhouse at Coolidge.

In terms of the CCBT, "Most of the funds right now are going to scholarships" provided by the Frank R. Williams Scholarship Fund, and "to the National Brain Tumor Society".

Jones hopes this basketball confab will eventually bear Williams' name, as well as plans for the CCAA to serve as a blueprint for other DC high school alumni associations through the DC High School Alumni Association.

He and the CCBT are giving, while also using hoops to better communities.

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