My father KWAME MCDONALD never let an opportunity slip by when it came to supporting the youth of St. Paul. This past month I did a little traveling to support some former prep stars as they embark on their college careers.
Here is a short summary of my travels:
Saturday, November 5: Traveled with former St. Paul Central boys’ basketball standout RONNIE SMITH (1976) to watch his son CAMERON, a point guard for the JV men’s basketball team at Waldorf College (Iowa) and a former St. Paul Central standout before graduating in 2010, score 20 points in a 76-50 loss to Des Moines Area Community College.
Saturday, November 12: Traveled to Ames, IA to see sophomore ROYCE WHITE, who helped DeLaSalle win the Class 3A boys’ basketball title as a freshman in 2006 and Hopkins capture the 4A title as a senior in 2009, score 25 points, grab 11 rebounds and block
four shots in leading Iowa State University to a 86-77 victory over Lehigh University.
Tuesday, November 15: Traveled to Cloquet, MN to witness former metro-area basketball standouts TAYLOR SMALLER (St. Paul Central), DANTE WARLICK (St. Paul Johnson) and KEVIN HANDY (Park Center) lead Vermillion Community College to a 99-69 victory over Fon Da Luc Tribal and Community College.
Tuesday, November 22: Traveled to Madison, WI as senior pre-season all-America JORDAN TAYLOR (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), who was the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2008 and led his team to the 3A title that year, played an outstanding floor game in leading the University of Wisconsin to a 77-31 non-conference victory over the University of Missouri Kansas City, where ESTAN TYLER (St. Paul Johnson), who led the Governors to the 3A state crown in 2010, starts as a freshman.
Thursday, November 24: Watched ESPN while celebrating Thanksgiving as junior RODNEY WILLIAMS, JR. (Robbinsdale Cooper), who led his high school team to state tournament appearances in 2006 and ’08 before graduating in 2009, scored a career-high 18 points while leading the University of Minnesota over DePaul 86-85.
Friday, November 25: Watched ESPN as junior TRENT CARROLL (Hopkins), who led the Royals to the Class 4A State championship in 2009, scored 20 points in an 84-56 win over Wake Forest.
Saturday, November 26: Traveled to Irondale High School where three African American coaches — TROY RUSSELL (Irondale) and JOHN ROBINSON (St. Paul Como Park), both Minneapolis North graduates in 1986 and ’79 respectively, and LIONEL JONES (Woodbury) — led their girls’ basketball teams in a competitive three-way scrimmage.
There were a few familiar faces on the Irondale and Como Park benches as well. Former DeLaSalle girls’ basketball standout and 2004 graduate PATRICIA HALL and ENOCH GRIFFIN, who starred in football and basketball at St. Paul Highland Park before graduating in 1998, are assistants at Como Park.
KRYSTAL TAYLOR, who led Minneapolis North to four straight state tournament appearances, including a girls’ 3A title in 1998 before graduating in 2002, is an assistant at Irondale.
It was quite a month, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m sure I made my father proud.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to [email protected]