"It's All About The Game"
A Weekend at Pro City
Ron Bailey, Publisher
“I didn’t have 13’s” confessed Malone, “But our 12-and-under team finished 5th nationally”, while Assault’s 10-and-under crew went on “win the Nationals”. All of this success, top to bottom in Assault’s organization, leaves Malone palpably happy, and he exhibited that pride by exclaiming after his organization’s roster review, “It doesn’t stop”.
Malone went on to share other aspects of Assault that make him equally proud. First off, it’s the success of his charges in college. “To see them progress as players, those are the things that make me happy” he said. This includes having alumni presently plying their craft in the pro ranks, like the NBA’s Keith Bogans, call him to ask how the program is doing, and if they can be of assistance.
Curtis Malone has solidified himself as one of the most successful AAU basketball coaches in the land, with well over 60 DC Assault Alumni receiving Divison I scholarships, and a significant number going on to play professionally.
Another subject that brings his sense of accomplishment and pride to the fore is Malone’s relationship with many parents, though the decade plus he’s has run DC Assault has taught him every child’s parents are not the same. “A lot of times, it’s the adults” who foment strife and discord, he shared, as the players themselves have known each other for years and generally relate well to one another. “People will say their kid can’t go, unless I pay their way. We don’t get into that.
“When you play 16’s and 17’s with me, no other team is sponsored. Other team’s parents have to pay and find money” for their kids to participate, he expounded. “For you (some parents) to demand stuff is crazy.
“Nobody can say ‘Curtis is foul, wrong, or he isn’t right’” continued Malone. “If he (a kid) comes over and doesn’t play, he isn’t as good as you think. Most of the time, parents are the last ones to know” their children are not as talented as believed.
But according to him, most of his involvement with young people’s families has been positive. A prime example is Isaiah Tate’s clan, who Malone shared “told me that (playing for Assault) was the best decision they made. The best decision in their life”.
Helping coaches and others is another point of his DC Assault experience Malone shared as rewarding. “I give back and help. It’s a family thing” he said. “I’m going to help my coaches. If they want to move on and coach college basketball, I’m going to help”. Current college assistants like Delonte Hill (Kansas State), Anton Jackson (William & Mary), Eric Skinner (Towson), and David Cox (Pitt) were provided as examples. Troy Weaver, formerly an assistant at Syracuse who presently works in the scouting office of the NBA’s Utah Jazz is also a DC Assault alum.
David Cox (center), is seen here coaching Assualt's Blue team this spring. He his now Director of Basketball Operations for Pittsburgh University. Darnell Dodson (31) a high school senior will join him at Pitt, next year.
This aid doesn’t just apply to members of the Assault organization, as Malone went on to establish, “If you are good people, and I care about you, I’m going to help”.
The overall DC Assault mission has remained constant, and very successful, under Malone’s stewardship. “It’s been the same for 13 years” he said. “What we do is help get kids exposure, and make them better basketball players”.
That’s despite the best efforts, according to Malone, of individuals in the AAU/travel team sphere, including some rivals. “They spread negativity. People will do anything to get a kid” he posited.
“People can say what they want, but just look at the results” summed Assault’s leader; this despite the DC area not being an area of tremendous population size. Given that reality, Malone wanted to provide a thought producing nugget for detractors: “For the record, if anybody feels we are going down, then everybody else (in the DC area) is going down”.
“Harold Bates (former leader of the Executive III organization) handed me the torch” about 10 years ago as the Washington area’s AAU/travel team, said Malone. The organization has been a local and national force since, and has no plans for that to change. “We aint going anywhere” he concluded.
Readers should take the man at his word.
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