Yanceyville Racers AAU Basketball 1983

  • September 5th, 2017

    Yanceyville Racers lose tough pair in AAU Basketball Tourney.

    I found this photo, among my many newspaper clippings from the early years of AAU Basketball in North Carolina.

    Yanceyville Racers 1983

    I’ll be doing similar things in the future, not only AAU, but from many areas of classic basketball.

    Now here, is the rest of the story.

    The Yanceyville Racers traveled to Charlotte for a 10:00 am contest in their first game in Pool Play in April of 1983.

    It was the first year of Rod Seaford’s long run as the head of AAU basketball in North Carolina. There had been some AAU basketball in the state, prior to 1982, but there was no effort promote the organization, before Rod became the head of North Carolina’s AAU basketball.

    As I said, it was Rod’s first year of being the head man in North Carolina AAU basketball, but it was his second year as a coach of the, then named, Charlotte Hornets. It was also my second year as coach of the Yanceyville Racers from my home county, Caswell, a rural county with 20-25,000 people in the entire county.

    note: The Hornets became the Charlotte Royals, when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets came into being.

    This was 19U AAU basketball, which was where “it was at” in AAU basketball in those days. In those days high school seniors couldn’t sign a scholarship until April. There was no “early signing” period in November, as there is today, so college coaches were still recruiting seniors in an effort to sign them later that month.

    As I said Caswell was and is a sparsely populated county of 20-25,000 people and as you may think, there wasn’t (still isn’t) a lot of corporate sponsorship. That’s why I set 6:30 as the time to gather, before departing on the two and a half hour ride to Charlotte, for that 10:00 game. You see, Winston-Salem went down on Friday & played Charlotte that night. They spent the night, while, again, we met at 6:30 for the two and a half ride to Charlotte for the 10 am game. Then, in our second game of the day, we played Charlotte, which had had spent the night in their own beds, in a 2:00 game.

    I had ten players at the few practices we had and the guys I had chosen had meshed really well as a unit. I had the five starters from a pretty good Bartlett Yancey HS, where I was assistant coach and where I had played – “few” years earlier.

    That five included 6-4 forwards, Nicky Foster, senior and Irvin Hughes, a junior, as well as 6-2 senior wing, Marshall Corbett, 6-0 senior shooting guard, Thomas Murphy, while the point guard was 6-2 senior Elbert Lownes.

    I had chosen Danny Poole, from Orange County HS, in Hillsborough, to be part of this my second team. Danny was a 6-3, sky-walking dunk machine, with a huge motor. Three excellent players from Person County HS were also on the team, Bernard Torrain, Ricky Davis and Ronnie Pettiford, but sadly they didn’t make it the departure point that day. If they had been able to make it to the 6:30 departure time, things just might have turned out differently.

    Torain, though only 6-4, was a beast, while Davis, only 5-11, could really shoot it, he was as fast as a field mouse and believe it not, he was a high flying dunk machine. Pettiford was a savvy combo guard, who really knew how to play.

    William Blackwell, a 6-2 forward, who didn’t play school ball, became the 7th man, in the wake of the absence of the three young men from Person County.

    What a great performance by the Yanceyville Racers on that Saturday, with losses to Winston-Salem, 112-106 and to Charlotte 114-111, despite being the only team, among the three, to play two games in one day.

    When I say Winston-Salem, it was “the best” from Winston-Salem and when I say Charlotte, it was the best from Charlotte. There were no five teams from Winston and no 10 teams in Charlotte, Each of those teams were the only teams in their respective cities. There were less than ten teams in the “whole state”.

    In the previous year, there were six teams in the whole state. There two teams from Charlotte, two teams from Winston-Salem, one from Raleigh and one from YANCEYVILLE.

    I hope you enjoyed “the rest of the story”, with the the 1983 Yanceyville Racers