The fourth annual U.S.E. Basketball Family Reunion tips off Sunday morning at Baltimore City Community College, giving girls basketball players and their parents a chance to learn more about how they can use the sport to get to college.
The day’s events include games, from elementary school to post-college players, and opens with a panel discussion. While rosters for the games are set, anyone can come watch and attend the 9:30 a.m. panel discussion which will focus on how a player can use basketball to get an education and set the foundation for a career even if it doesn’t involve sports.
Briana “Breezi” Hutchen, the 2010 All-Metro Player of the Year at St. Frances and one of the founders of the reunion, said she named the event U.S.E. because it has two meanings.
"I came up with U.S.E. because I wanted it to be 'Use basketball,' but I wanted to have three words that I thought really could, I guess you could say, label, what we are, because I think we are United, Strong and Empowered young women of our community and … that's what we preach through the entire panel – use basketball to get to wherever you want to go, not just to be a pro athlete," said Hutchen, who went on to play college basketball at Rutgers and Alabama and is an assistant coach at Iona College in New York.
This year’s panel will include Keith Brown, former women’s coach at Georgetown as well as former local high school stars Chanel (Wright) Greene, who played at Western and North Carolina; Amber Singletary, who played at Seton Keough and Mississippi; and Janay Brinkley, who played at Archbishop Spalding and Middle Tennessee. They will discuss all aspects of recruiting and the playesr will share their stories of using basketball to build successful careers.
This year, Hutchen has had to turn much of the work over to other area alumni and family members because as an assistant women’s basketball coach, NCAA rules prohibit her from having any contact with prospective recruits. In the past, as Iona’s director of basketball operations, she was able to run the show for the entire day.
“I will be able to be there, but it’s going to be a little weird, because I won’t be able to host it and do my thing,” Hutchen said. “I won’t be able to host the panel discussion. That’s being hosted by Brene Moseley, who played at Maryland. She was their starting point guard. I will be playing in the alumni game, but I won’t be present during the day because I’m not allowed to be in contact with prospective student athletes.”
With her limited ability to be involved, Hutchen said she hopes the event will be grow to benefit other nonprofits in the Baltimore area. Some of this year’s profits will be used to help fund a school backpack drive for children of single moms.
After the 9:30 panel discussion, the elementary school Baby Ballers will take the court at 11:30, followed by the Middle School Showdown at 12:45 p.m. However, if a game finishes early, the next game will start early.
In the Alumi Game, scheduled for 2 p.m., Hutchen and Singletary will play for the West vs. Moseley and Brinkley on the East Team. The West will be coached by Kevin Speaks and include Destiny Jacobs,Tee Robinson, Dominique Johnson, Gerda Gatling, Taylor Brown, Shay Taft, Deanna Harmon, Girlie Curtis,Tenecia Spence, Pandora Wilson, Tyuanna Marshall and Talen Watson. Tully Sullivan will coach the East team including Daisy Alaeze, Uchechi Ahaiwe, Akilah Bethel, Lauren Chase-Cooper, Lakiah Huff, Candice Hendricks, Kelsey Buchanan, Avian Parham, Sheree Ledbetter, Achiri Ade and Danielle Parker
After the alumni game, some of the area’s rising young high school players will take the court in a 2019 vs. 2020 showdown.
Mike Seney will coach the 2019 team of Dominique Doss, Franklin; Ayana Brim, Mt. Carmel; Sydney Faulcon Old Mill; Sunshine McCrae, East Pennsboro, Pa.; Anija Stancell, Aberdeen; Kiyana Jefferson, Lancaster Catholic; Lyric Swann, Long Reach; Janiah Henson, Roland Park; Promise Cunningham, National Christian; Savawn Hughes, St. Frances; Christina McPhail, Bishop McNamara; Aliyah Matharu, Bishop McNamara; Marley Grenway, Oakland Mills, and Brianna Milline, Wise.
Mike Dukes will coach the 2020 team of Charia Roberts, Mercy; Eniya Russell, IND; Angel Reese, St. Frances; Rain Green, Roland Park; Marissa Sanchez Henry, Howard; Mir McLean, Roland Park; Hope Evans, Bishop McNamara; Kaniyah Harris, Flowers; Ajae Petty, New Town; Kaylah Ivey, Riverdale Baptist; Delicia Pinnick, St. Frances, and Madison Scott, Bishop McNamara.
Admission is $10 for the day. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.