RPS basketball alumni showdown Saturday at Ashe Center
Fred Jeter | 8/2/2019, 6 a.m. | Updated on 8/5/2019, 11:32 a.m.
Richmond Public Schools is turning back the clock on basketball.
Players from bygone decades will be dusting off their jump shots in the inaugural RPS Alumni Showdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center, 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.
“This shapes up as an old-fashioned classic, and I know some of these teams have been practicing,” said Garry Callis, a member of the events committee and the George Wythe High School Class of 1998.
“We sold 400 to 500 tickets during our ‘early bird’ sales. We expect a real strong crowd,” he said.
To be eligible to participate on the court, players must have finished a city high school prior to 2010.
All five of RPS’ current comprehensive high schools plus John F. Kennedy High, which was closed in 2004, will be represented by “old-timers’ teams.” Maggie L. Walker High School players will be recognized, but the Green Dragons have not entered a squad for the Alumni Showdown. Walker closed as an RPS member in 1986, with the school building now known as the regional Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies.
Also to be honored during a video tribute are the “complex schools” from the early 1980s — the Jefferson-Huguenot-Wythe Trojans, the Marshall-Walker Cavaliers and the Armstrong- Kennedy Jaguars.
All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the athletic departments of the participating schools. The concept is not entirely new, Callis said.
“In the past, we’ve had the South Side Showdown — Wythe versus Huguenot — and the North Side Showdown — Thomas Jefferson versus John Marshall,” he said.
“This time, we’ve decided to bring it all together for something people all over Richmond can enjoy.”
Callis suggested some of the players may have lost a step from their prime, but not their enthusiasm. An NBA-style, 24-second clock will ensure non-stop action.
“We’ve got a few big names, but some of the schools have been kind of secretive and tight- lipped about it,” Callis said. “We may not know who’s playing for sure until Aug. 3.”
Among the former All-Metro stars Callis expects are Bo Jones from Huguenot, Kendrick Warren and Thomas Meredith from Thomas Jefferson, Raymont Postell from Armstrong and Robert Johnson and Luqman Jaaber from Wythe.
Jaaber could be the “X Factor.”
The former Wythe star and All-American guard for Virginia Union University still plays competitively and will be a challenging matchup for any Bulldogs rival.
Adding to the festivities will be DJ Lonnie B and public ad- dress announcer Reggie Mac. Longtime Wythe official Pernell Spears will handle the clock.
Callis suggested the event will gain momentum in future years. He hopes to open the competition to Maggie Walker and the “complex schools.” There is also talk of including Petersburg and Hopewell.
RPS Alumni Showdown
Here’s the schedule for the inaugural RPS Alumni Showdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center, 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. Tickets are $20.
2 p.m. - Doors open
John Marshall vs. Armstrong
John F. Kennedy vs. Huguenot
Thomas Jefferson vs. winner of the Marshall- Armstrong game
George Wythe vs. winner of the Kennedy-Huguenot game
Cheerleader exhibition, with participants representing all schools