By Dave Brousseau
BOCA RATON – Education for the South Florida high school student athlete isn’t just a classroom achievement.
Understanding life lessons and the correct path to adulthood were the consistent themes among all the guest speakers at the Fabian Lyon HoopsDay Leadership Summit presented by the Global Vybz Foundation on Saturday at Grandview Prep School.
Brandon Knight, former Pine Crest and University of Kentucky star and NBA guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers was the events the featured speaker.
He was one group of former South Florida athletes, coaches, journalists and others whom expressed of their wisdom in words to educate the next generation of athletes in pursuit for the next level of their athletic craft.
Knight, who won three state basketball championships with Pine Crest, said success comes with being consistent, but added it’s tough making it to the NBA.
“I tell kids to follow their dreams,” said Knight. “They need to work diligently at it. Education is so important and with that they can follow their own path. Being a good student leads to discipline and becoming a good athlete.”
Said former South Broward High and University of Miami great Tamara James. “I just loved the game of basketball because I didn’t over think it too much. I loved being coached and I loved being competitive. To think that someone could always take my place is what drove me.”
James said from what she learned from sports got her into politics to become a Dania Beach Commissioner.
“I knew hard work and perseverance got me to where I am,” said James. “A lot of athletes have become great leaders because of their confidence.”
Blanche Ely boys’ basketball coach Melvin Randall and Miami Norland boys basketball coach Lawton Williams are two of the most successful leaders of the game in South Florida.
Randall, who has won a state record nine state boys basketball titles, said it’s very important to communicate to the kids because it’s the drive in their journey.
“They need to be very good student athletes and to be around those that will help push them,” said Randall. “Social media is an issue for today’s student athletes.
You know you have that special kid when they are getting the job done in the classroom. When you have a team player, you know he’s not just there for himself.”
Lawton Williams, who has spent 17 seasons as Norland, said if the kid knows what he or she wants to they need to care about it.
“They need to be a good person first and a good student second,” said Williams. “If your good at those two things you could go very far in basketball.”
HoopsDay founder Fabian Lyon said the organization was founded to give student athletes the tools to succeed. Having a dialogue with professionals who excel in their craft is invaluable and will carry over to future events.
Other speakers were former University Miami and Baltimore Ravens starr Duane Starks. Dr. Khalilah Camacho-Ali, (former wife to Muhamad Ali) and Ronnie Wilson, former offensive guard for the Florida Gators.