The University of Miami, or more affectionately known as The U, recently paid a visit to Philadelphia. The program is synonymous with football, but was in town to attend a different business matter. This one starring native son JaQuan Newton and his basketball band of brothers.
At first glance, the trip looked like it’d end up with a routine headline. Local high school star returns home for the holidays victorious. Then a couple of events added a new dimension to the visit: Ja’Quan Newton’s high school, St. John Nuemann-Goretti, came to show their support and former Hurricanes standout John Salmons, also a Philly native, was there sitting comfortably behind the visitors’ bench to take in the action.
In an instant this homecoming story took a turn for the better, as now not only was there a City of Brotherly Love guard on the hardwood suiting up for Miami, but now there was also a former PHI-to-MIA (and then the NBA) Goretti hooper in attendance to watch the next generation. And then there was the future. Quade Green, a 5-11, top-50 national prospect in the Class of 2017, who is currently starring at Nuemann-Goretti, was also there to watch his former Goretti teammate’s homecoming.
LaSalle University played host to Miami in a nationally televised game that day. And while the famed Palestra was the venue, it felt more like a home game for the Coral Gables school than an advantage for the Explorers. Newton, who had won 4-straight Philadelphia Catholic League titles there, has tremendous credibility in that building and thus the crowd came out to show their support for one of their own.
Green had an upper level seat, which he vacated before the half to do what he feels is necessary to play at an elite level for many years to come. In a text message exchange with Jaime Boyer of 8EYE Media (producer of the video above), Green stated, “I left, I’m about to go work on my game.”
After watching the video above, one can understand where the drive comes from, as he speaks on his mentality moving forward to get to the next level, which he calls his Plan A (and technically, B & C as well). Later on over the phone he explained that all he needed was to see the intensity on Newton’s face and the way he attacked the defense to realize that he had more work to do.
During the post game media conference, Newton shed a little more light on Green’s determination, saying: “He was a freshman when I was a senior. I haven’t seen him play in a long time because I’ve been at school, but the things I’ve heard about him have been great. He’s the next best thing out of Nuemann-Goretti. Everybody should have a goal to be better than the [last]. I wanted to be better than Scoop [Jardine], Tony Chenault… all of them, and he has to want to be better than me–that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
In the video below we speak with Newton and Salmons, with the former Hurricane speaking in detail about how he got to the University and his thoughts on the current team, while Newton shed light on his experience so far.
Salmons enjoyed a great career in the NBA, and with the right amount of dedication and perseverance, Newton and Green now look to follow his lead.
Newton had 10 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds in the 95-49 win over LaSalle. He and Green hail from Southwest Philadelphia, one of the toughest places on the American map. However, with the right attitude and chip on their shoulders they can defy the odds stacked against them, just as Earl Monroe, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Lynn Greer all did before them.