Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Worldwide Leader in Sports News
for the Deaf Community


Deaf children benefit from Junior Nets basketball

CROWN HEIGHTS - The Junior Nets basketball program in Crown Heights is helping deaf children hone their life skills, according to organizers.

Participants say that basketball is a universal language through which they've learned teamwork, determination and confidence.

Read more: http://connecticut.news12.com/news/tri-state/st-francis-de-sales-school-for-the-deaf-concludes-from-junior-nets-basketball-program-1.11914991

Source: Connecticut News 12


ATX WarriorsIndianapolis, IN. The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced that it has added the Texas “ATX” Warriors to its huge expansion for the upcoming season. The team will be based in Austin, TX. “I cannot tell you how excited we are to add the Warriors to our roster of teams,” stated ABA co-founder Joe Newman. “In a league where diversification and inclusion reign, it is fitting that the ABA adds a team made up of excellent players who also happen to be hearing impaired. As was recently shown on “Dancing with the Stars,” there is no limit to what people can do when they put their hearts to it.”

Read more: http://abaliveaction.com/2016/06/05/texas-atx-warriors/

Source: ABA Live Action

Zach LaVine wins NBA Cares Community Assist award for April

By Jon Krawczynski

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Zach LaVine's work with a school for the deaf is bringing an added benefit he never saw coming — the chance to help a new charity dedicated to his fallen coach.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/121e90df574e4b579f2403a2f28f28d8/zach-lavine-wins-nba-cares-community-assist-award-april#

Source: Associated Press

DMV and Eastern Storm claim 2016 USADB championships

USA Deaf BasketballUSADB (USA Deaf Basketball) wrapped up another successful basketball tournament last weekend at St. Louis, Missouri. The D.M.V. Diplomats won the 72nd annual men’s tournament championship and Eastern Storm captured the 26th annual women’s championship. Listed below are results and awards reprinted from USADB’s Facebook page. Tournament bracket and game stats can be found there as well. (https://www.facebook.com/USADBasketball/).

Men's Results & Awards
Champions: D.M.V. Diplomats
Runner-Up: Texas "ATX" Warriors
3rd Place: Showstoppers
4th Place: Indy Hawks
5th Place: Southeast Hoopstars
6th Place: L.A.C.D. Desert Fire
7th Place: Louisville Hands
8th Place: MinnePaul
Consolation Champions: Rochester City Blazers
10th Place: Lexington Empire City
11th Place: Lincoln Star City
12th Place: New York Tornadoes
13th Place: Chicago Rebels
14th Place: Chicago Ravens
15th Place: St. Louis Storm
16th Place: Tulsa Jayhawks

Championship Bracket Awards
First All-Tourney Team
Layton Seeber, Showstoppers
Melvin Chriss, Texas "ATX" Warriors
Robert Haney, Jr., Indy Hawks
Derek Keels, L.A.C.D. Desert Fire
Orion Palmer, D.M.V. Diplomats

Second All-Tourney Team
Zachary Phipps, MinnePaul
Johnny Jackson, Southeast Hoopstars
Bradley Davis, Louisville Hands
Daniel Kelly, Showstoppers
Michael Kent, D.M.V. Diplomats

Most Valuable Player: Jon Mowl, D.M.V. Diplomats
Most Outstanding Player: Dwight Brewington, Texas "ATX" Warriors
Sportsmanship: MinnePaul
Rookie of the Tournament: Dwight Brewington, Texas "ATX" Warriors
Coach of the Tournament: John Perry, D.M.V. Diplomats

Consolation Bracket Awards
First All-Tourney Team
Jonathan Scherling, Lincoln Star City
Elbert Houston, Chicago Rebels
Ryheim Brown, St. Louis Storm
Adam Pagan, Rochester City Blazers
Asido Yellow-Duke, Lexington Empire City

Second All-Tourney Team
Mack Weyers, Lincoln Star City
Mario Cloton, Chicago Ravens
Juan Sosa, New York Tornadoes
Jose Ramirez, Jr., Chicago Rebels
James Postell, Rochester City Blazers

Most Valuable Player: Kelly Sanders, Rochester City Blazers
Most Outstanding Player: Frank Jackson, New York Tornadoes
Sportsmanship: St. Louis Storm
Rookie of the Tournament: Leon McClish, Tulsa Jayhawks
Coach of the Tournament: Akilyas Yacob, Rochester City Blazers

Women's Results & Awards
Champions: Eastern Storm
Runner-Up: Lexington Lady Liberty
3rd Place: Chicago Lady Panthers
4th Place: Omaha Eagles
5th Place: S.W.A.A.D. TAZ

First All-Tourney Team
Christine Smith, Eastern Storm
Chavonne Jenkins, Chicago Lady Panthers
Rachel Nemmers, Omaha Eagles
Amada Kriger, Eastern Storm
Brittany Payne, Lexington Lady Liberty

Second All-Tourney Team
Kiley Paterson, Omaha Eagles
Audrey Anna Mincy, Lexington Lady Liberty
Shantaye Massey, S.W.A.A.D. Taz
Hope Tyler, S.W.A.A.D. Taz
Aramis Davis, Chicago Lady Panthers

Most Valuable Player: Nukeitra Hayes, Eastern Storm
Most Outstanding Player: Shaquana McDonough, Lexington Lady Liberty
Sportsmanship: Omaha Eagles
Rookie of the Tournament: Nori Rittenhouse, Chicago Lady Panthers
Coach of the Tournament: Alexandria Pucciarelli, Eastern Storm

Deaf International Basketball Federation making a difference in Africa

dibfGABORONE/JOHANNESBURG - The Deaf International Basketball Federation (DIBF) is making impressive strides in Africa through multiple projects which promote opportunities to aspiring deaf players.

Initiatives in both Botswana and South Africa are underway to raise the profile of the sport and encourage more deaf players to pick up a basketball.

Read more: http://www.fiba.com/news/deaf-international-basketball-federation-making-a-difference-in-africa

Source: FIBA

Denney and Perry discuss USADB free agency and residency rules

A firestorm was set off when the Indy Hawks were disqualified just before tip-off at the CAAD (Central Athletics Association of the Deaf) regional basketball tournament for having too many free agents. This breathed life in yet another controversy, which apparently never fails to appear when regional, and national basketball tournaments come around. Some are petty and others seem never-ending because many people have strong and differing opinions on how to move forward in Deaf basketball world. This particular controversy on the Indy Hawks has brought back the age-old question on whether USADB’s Restricted Free Agent (RFA) and Residency Rule has helped or hindered the competition.

USADB (USA Deaf basketball) instituted the Player Residency Rules and RFA that has changed the landscape for Deaf basketball. There was a period prior to the establishment of these two rules that players could play for anyone and anywhere. This is not the case these days as players now must play within the regions they live in which is the residency rule. The RFA rule allows all teams to have up to two players outside of their region on their team thus the controversy being addressed here.

2016 John Perry and Carl DenneyCarl Wayne Denney and John Perry offer their insights on this hot button topic. Both are very actively involved in Deaf basketball and hold dear the issues surrounding Deaf basketball. Carl has coached Deaf Club basketball for 15 years winning four championships and four runner-ups, most notably with the Indy Hawks. The sometimes-controversial coach is currently retired with an eye on a possible return in the near future. This season's current Indy Hawks (28-3) was led by Denney to a 21-3 mark before he stepped down due to job relocation. Former Gallaudet cager John Perry is the coach of the current #1 seeded DMV Diplomats located in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia metro area. John has earned three national championships along with two runner-ups plus seven EAAD (Eastern Athletic Association of the Deaf) championships. He also was a long-time Gallaudet basketball team assistant coach in a collegiate career that spanned for almost fifteen years. (John Perry on left and Carl Wayne Denney on right - Photo credit Peter Badavas).

What are your views of the USADB's Restricted Free Agent and Players Residency Rule?

2016 Carl Denney HeadshotCarl: I am against it simply because it is outdated and unnecessary. It does not bring parity (equality) to teams across the nation, and severely limits players to competing to a specific region, of which their skills may not necessarily be shown on a national stage. Opening up the USADB by getting rid of the residency rule would enable ballplayers everywhere to be able to play for whoever they want to, for example, a man or woman who works in North Dakota could have the option of playing with their friends in Texas or a club in Florida reaching out to that forward that fits their system in Maine. How member clubs run their teams are their business, they succeed or fail on their own terms, as long as they know the risks of having a team made up of players that haven’t played together much as opposed to a team that’s played together all year.

The Restricted Free Agent rule is now that all teams in the USADB can have two per team. That’s an improvement over the previous rule where only one could play anywhere but still, it has become the focal point of Deaf basketball. Where does this player live? Doesn’t that team have three or four free agents? It makes Deaf basketball as a whole a game of “Where’s your driver’s license?” rather than “That team is amazing!”

We are robbing the general public, the fans and our community of the ability to see the best and skilled players by limiting player movement and clubs from maintaining their full potential as a basketball club with all its trappings such as coach, team manager and business manager. There are hardcore club teams that play 20-30 games a year with highly skilled players who want to compete against the best and there are teams of guys who play Xbox all week and get together once a month to play club ball. The contrast is obvious and different and not worth a paying fan’s time to watch. The best teams will win not based on talent, but based on how serious their players are. This is where Open competition is beneficial to the USADB. This is an area the USADB needs to consider making changes.

2016 John Perry HeadshotJohn: I am for it because it’s not about the free agent or the residency rule or even the driver’s license issue. It’s the game every Deaf basketball player love and want to play. Residency rules help keep the players in their regions and create more teams. Really, it depends on how strong the Deaf basketball community is and where they are located. Each region tends to have a varying number of teams participating in a regional tournament. It’s like a stock market every year but that wasn’t affected by the free agent rule or the residency rule. I’ll elaborate this on the next question. There are some states that never had a Deaf club team. NSAD (National Softball Association for the Deaf) decided to make the state of West Virginia a free state so a few deaf softball players can play for any team because that state hasn’t had a Deaf softball team in years. Can USADB do that? I say why not.

USADB’s RFA rule is working out just fine. Dwight Brewington is from Massachusetts and plays for ATX Warriors of Austin, Texas. DMV Diplomats has one free agent, Showstoppers has one as well. I am not sure about the others. I think Indy Hawks would be the only team at USADB to have two free agents. Correct me if I’m wrong. Because the Indy Hawks was disqualified recently at their regional tournament, CAAD did not conduct the “due process” correctly in regards to driver’s licenses making Indy Hawks guilty of having five free agents. It may be a good thing this happened because USADB is now considering removing the driver’s license and instead use other documents to prove residency.

You know, in the past, the AAAD (American Athletic Association of the Deaf) history from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, I learned a lot from an old buddy of mine who I have stayed in touch since the first day I stepped on Gallaudet campus as a freshman. AAAD did have similar issues as we have today. It’s no big surprise here. However, USADB gave a chance to small teams like the regional runner-ups to play in a once a year big-time tournament. AAAD did not. AAAD ran an only 8-team (seven regional champions and tournament host) tournament and USADB has run a 16-team tournament that includes the regional runner-ups. It has been stated that the women tournament always have a small number of teams every year at AAAD/USADB.

I understand and it’s true that some Deaf teams are hardcore year-round playing 20-30 games, and others not so. Take NoVa Diplomats, for example, I created this team in 2008 and we only played a couple of invitational tournaments, won the EAAD, and took the #3 seed at USADB in Orlando. We fought through to the finals and lost to the Indy Hawks in overtime. I’m making a point here that a team didn’t need to play 20-30 games a year just to prove they’re hardcore and to get to the finals. A lot of players have their priorities as well, which is why they don’t play 20-30 games a year.

I’ll be quite frank with you, Carl. You have come up with your ideas of cutting off the free agent rule and the residency rule at the right time because of the NDBO (National Deaf basketball Organization) fiasco with USADB. NDBO consists of teams from the Southeast region and some from other regions as well. Now Carl, let’s just say we cut off the residency rule and the RFA, too. What happens now? This idea of Carl’s is just really going to cut off the small teams like the regional runner-ups and the third place teams. It simply shows that we will have the best of the best at USADB and not have the runner-ups or third place teams there. The number of teams for the men’s tournament will decline. With this new rule you’re going for, Carl, I don’t think you will see the eight regional champions at the USADB tournaments. In fact, it will hurt the regionals as well. Oh, and guess what? Most of the teams will just head over to NDBO because they don’t want to face the best of the best and eventually USADB folds.

Has the Residency Rule helped teams since they took effect in 1994?

2016 Carl Denney HeadshotCarl: In my opinion, no. Only the great Lincoln and Columbia (Missouri) teams of the mid-90’s (Mike Stultz, Keith Westhoelter, Kenny Walker, et al) were able to break through the USADB’s consistent showing of teams from large metropolitan areas with larger numbers of Deaf population. Before the residency rule, you had the Carolinas, made up of locals competing along with Chicago Club which had a strong team made up of Chicagoland players and the Hollywood Stars, a team with a roster made up of players from all over the nation. Hollywood and Chicago dominated the AAAD until Carolinas won it all in 1988 in a stunning upset over Hollywood. That was the last time a “homegrown” team won the championship. Once the rule was decided in 1993 and set for the 1993-1994 season, you had teams all over with players limited to the region they played in, then you had questions of cheating, licensure, and residency becomes part of the landscape, which is tiring and diluting the Deaf basketball brand.

2016 John Perry HeadshotJohn: Yes it did. The number of regional teams has been great and consistent. Like I mentioned in my response to the first question, the number of women teams from each region is usually small with the largest at 30 and the smallest at 13. That’s roughly 21 teams for each year. Men had their largest number of teams at 73 twice (2004 and 2016) and the smallest at 43. There are roughly 60 men teams each year from all regions including the Southeast. AAAD once had an eligibility rule that was based on 50 miles from residence plus 50 miles of work location. Wow, that rule is way too strict for us today. Somehow, coaches found a way around this. Finally, AAAD ended that rule and Hollywood (Los Angeles) started gathering players from around the nation. Keep in mind; AAAD in 1988 only had a nine-team tournament. I’m writing for every Deaf ballplayer out there. The total number of teams you see shows the number of players playing, 73 regional men’s teams times 10 players each is roughly 730 players in the nation. It’s not about the competition of the tournament; it’s the passion they have to play the game they love.

Has the RFA rule helped teams since it became a reality in 2010?

2016 Carl Denney HeadshotCarl: Yes and no. I do know that my team, the Indy Hawks benefited from having Robert Haney, a native Hoosier play with the team when he was teaching in New Mexico then having Sekoe White lead us to the 2014 championship while he was working in Mississippi. However, the advent of the additional free agent has made every team questioning each other. The Hawks have found themselves in an unfortunate situation where the CAAD (of which the Hawks recently were to return to) accused the Hawks of having five free agents, when in reality they had two official free agents, and the other two had moved to Indianapolis but never got around to changing their driver's license. One had returned home three years ago and just plain kept his New Mexico license because he could. This has set a controversy that will be decided by the USADB sometime soon and reignited bitter feelings amongst the teams in the Central region and the Hawks, more over the Hawks continued dominance. The licensure thing has just been something the CAAD has grabbed on and made a very big deal about, even though they knew those players were Hawks since June 2015.

The rules make teams either purposefully cheat, or complicates things, for examples, snowbirds. What do you do about them when they want to live in Florida for the winter? It's not illegal for them to do so in America, especially if they have the finances. Critics use this as fodder to say “You cheat!” when in reality, they can do it because they don’t have to stay around for club ball teams because it's not a job, especially in the dead of winter.

I know a couple teams the past six years who benefited from the rule. Its made their team competitive or it's given kids who want to play with their high school buddies on a club team the chance to play together again, but in an era where more and more Deaf individuals are starting to showcase their skills such as modeling, business, and the arts. Managers running a team to its fullest potential should not be punished for imitating the professional model.

2016 John Perry HeadshotJohn: Yes it did. Darnell Woods proposed this rule and it did help teams to keep or get one player from outside of their region. Supposedly a player had a new job, had to move out west, played for a Deaf club from New York for several years, and wanted to stay with them. This rule helps the team and the player who moved. I would call it the “home team” free agent rule, which means a player who has played for this club for so long and moved to another region but still wants to stay with the same club. In the AAAD, Philadelphia, in the 1970s, after AAAD removed the residence and eligibility rule, got the best player from Seattle. With USADB, I would call this the “best player” free agent rule aka Dwight Brewington.

Then USADB expanded to two free agents, which I think, is enough. This rule was initiated in 2010 and no team until the Indy Hawks this year has been suspended or disqualified. The Indy Hawks’ disqualification was wrong and everyone knows that. You cannot blame this rule just because the Indy Hawks were disqualified for having five free agents. USADB allowed the Indy Hawks to bypass the regionals and participate because they received proven documentation of the affected players’ residences. CAAD simply may have conducted their due process incorrectly. A good friend of mine once said: “AAAD was not perfect but delegates tried their best”. And like the famous quote, “No one is perfect.”

What do you propose with those two rulings?

2016 Carl Denney HeadshotCarl: Get rid of them completely. Focus the USADB on the member teams, not the teams’ players. The name across the jersey is important, not where a player lives. Teams attract fans, even more so with specific players on specific teams.

I’ll give you an example; Dwight Brewington was a Division One ballplayer with the Big East’s Providence College. He’s a 6’5 shooting guard living in Boston. The New England club scene isn’t what it used to be back in the 1970’s or 1980’s or even the 1990’s. It's fallen apart. He played in 2013-2014 and dominated the region but didn’t go to the nationals. This year, he joined the ATX Warriors, a team on the rise, and everyone is curious to see him at the upcoming USADB in St. Louis, thanks to the RFA rule. If there were no RFA, would anyone have ever seen him play at the national level? I think not.

With open competition, teams now can have anyone they want. They can have a Brewington of their own to fit in with the Dorn (a 6’9 post player for the Indy Hawks) they already have. The team that was up and coming with youngsters but fell short can keep trying even though the point guard they had, got a job in Oregon. How they go from there is their decision as a team. The teams are the point, the team has their name on the jersey, how or who is on their roster is an added bonus.

2016 John Perry HeadshotJohn: Nothing. Not right now until USADB works with NDBO and finds a way to merge these two organizations together and go from there. That will greatly increase the number of teams at a national tournament and attract fans. I think having two free agents is good enough to build a decent to a strong team. Lexington Empire City from EAAD has greatly improved and finished third. They were in a tight game with the defending 2015 USADB champion Showstoppers in the EAAD’s semifinals. Guess what? Lexington doesn’t have a free agent and all these players live in the same region.

It shows the residency rule is working and it helps create more teams. Shall I say passion? The love of the game? Regional tournaments are so much valued by small teams like Lexington. Taking away the residency rule and the RFA will make small teams like Lexington disappear. I’ll be honest with you all here; there will always be pros and cons when running a tournament. You can’t satisfy everyone but once a rule is implemented, everyone has to follow it. USADB just expanded to allow two free agents not too long ago. What more do you want? Someday, I might come to the point where I would say it’s time to end the residency rule but not today. We’re doing fine, trust me.


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