by Tony Atkins / @ByTonyAtkins
It was yet another packed gym full of fans, players, coaches and families as the Milwaukee-based Mission 10 Eleven youth development organization made yet another positive wave in the right in the inner-city by hosting its first-ever FNL, or Friday Night Lights men’s basketball showcase game on December 28th, 2012.
With tons of collegiate basketball players at varying levels of competition coming back to Milwaukee to visit their friends and families, they took some time out to participate in the event. As usual, Mission 10 Eleven CEO Dumaine Reid and the rest of the organizers took to twitter to promote the event, but this time it wasn’t as necessary. Following years of hosting showcases like this one has allowed this organization to pick up steam and build some clout leading up to the event.
Then there was the basketball. This showcase was distinguished from the others in terms of structure. Instead of a number of teams competing in a tournament, this was done a little differently. There was a draft. Two coaches, Mission10Eleven executives Ryan Hopgood and Danonta Owten, each constructed teams by drafting participants and named the teams “Team Hop” and “Team Tay,” respectively.
The game was tightly contested throughout. The two college stars Antoine Howard of Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) and Jeff Harris of Marian University (Wisconsin) each had 24 for their respective teams. Ultimately, Owten and “Team Tay” pulled out the win behind Harris’ effort.
Harris, a native of nearby Chicago, didn’t even notice his individual stats. Instead, he was focused on a win and enjoying the atmosphere. Both happened as Team Tay won 65-61.
I didn’t even look at the stat sheet. I was out there trying to enjoy the community and the atmosphere and get that win for my team,” said Harris.
However on Coach Hopgood’s team, the mood was a bit different following the loss. Reid was on that team, acknowledged that his team didn’t play up to par.
“We know how we’re going to come up in the spring. I take this loss personally, even though it’s just a showcase. I wanted to win,” said Reid.
Howard, who finished with 24, was satisfied with his individual performance in the game. “I played pretty good; I started off shaky in the beginning but got comfortable ten minutes in the game,” Howard said.
Owten was the coach of that winning team, he and Hopgood are cousins and it felt good for him to go toe to toe with his cousin.
“Hop and I been talking about coaching a basketball team. I like running a team. I like basketball so much,” said Owten. “The difference is that I’m the laid back one. He is more like Bob Knight, I’m like Phil Jackson.”
That was disputable however as Owten tossed his own hat arguing a call. This was perhaps one of the more comical moments during the showcase. He even continued to argue it following the game but it was all for show.
“That was a terrible call. I was just disgusted,” said Owten.
Outside of the game itself, the main highlight of this event was the atmosphere that it created for that night. All kinds of people, young and old all showed up to support the mission and many felt that it was a huge success.
At a time where Wisconsin has been in the national media for shootings in recent months, Reid felt very good that his event brought together inner-city youth to watch a basketball game that ended incident-free.
“The turnout was a success. I was expecting a turnout but I wasn’t expecting it to be like that. This was the best showcase Mission10 Eleven has ever had,” said Reid on the turnout.
People in attendance were encouraged to bring canned goods or a clothing donation to donate to the Salvation Army for the holiday season. Reid was proud of the donation turnout as well.
“We had a lot of clothes and shoes to donate to the needy. The clothes were a real good look so I know that’s gonna make a lot of people happy,” Reid explained.
Reid and his Mission10Eleven team not only put together a basketball event , they put together something for kids to do that day. They gave back to the community that needs it. They did a lot of things that transcended just that game that night. Reid is only 22 the organization was only founded in 2009. There is so much potential for more.
Reid was proud of his event; however he wasn’t satisfied with his performance or his team’s loss. When asked if he made it count, he said yes to the event but no to the game itself.
“Next time, it’s personal,” he said.
With that said, Friday Night Lights 2: The Rematch is scheduled for the spring 2013.