Think Baltimore boys basketball, and the Dunbar Poets of the early 1980s come to mind.
Coach Bob Wade’s talented team played flawlessly with a number of standouts — Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams and David Wingate — making their way to the NBA.
ESPN Films will air “Baltimore Boys,” a look at the journey of the storied coach and his powerhouse teams. The documentary, co-directed by Marquis Daisy and Sheldon Candis, is set to air at 8 p.m. Aug. 8 on ESPN and at 3 p.m. Aug. 13 on ABC. Bobby Sabelhaus, who starred at quarterback at McDonogh from 1992-94 before graduating in 1995, is the executive producer of the feature.
In the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, the Poets went 59-0 with 11 players reaching Division I play in college.
“It’s a tremendous honor for the team to still be recognized so many years later,” Wade said. “At the time, we knew we had something special, but we didn’t know just how special in the eyes of prep basketball. It’s a great accomplishment for the players.”
On the occasions when Wade and his players are reunited, the talk always centers around those stellar seasons.
“We constantly talk about it,” Wade said. “How much fun we had and also how difficult the practices were. They thought of me as a task master, but they came to understand that I wasn’t only getting them ready for a basketball game, but also life.”
“This story, to me, embodies what it means to persevere, under conditions that normally hinder the growth of young boys from disadvantaged urban communities, from the very start,” said co-director Marquis Daisy. “What’s special about this tale is, despite the bad hand that Bogues, Williams, Wingate and Lewis were dealt, in the backdrop of a time when the place that they called home was at its most dangerous, they were able to make it out of that environment and ascend to heights that hardly anyone gave them a chance to, thanks to the people who helped steer them in the right direction.”