"It's All About The Game"

Authentic Middleton Showing The Way Via His Example

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Bailey, Publisher

 

March 19, 2007 – Many times, people more readily follow those who have done whatever endeavor they are attempting to lead others in: Successful principals who have taught in the classroom, and the explosion of coaches in a slew of professional sports who were once pay-for-play athletes themselves are but a few such examples.

That reality extends to young people, on and off the basketball hardwood as well. Few in the Washington, D.C. area have played hoops, lived life, and have the capacity to teach both, like Melvin Middleton.

Middleton a D.C. native who has not only balled, but coached, starred in a feature movie, and been an entrepreneur is a Nation’s Capital fixture. His presence started with hoops.

Growing up in Southeast and Northeast Washington, Middleton shared “I started going to the court when I was eight years old”, always competing with young people older then himself. As a result, by the time he started to play organized ball around the age of 13 – Police Boy’s and Girl’s club #14 was one of those teams – Melvin had an advanced skill set for his age.

“I played down at Watts (Park on Southern Avenue), Kelly Miller, and every playground in Washington, D.C.” recounted Middleton, something many of today’s young players, some of who have never played outside on the asphalt, can’t relate to. “That’s what I tell kids like Chris Wright and Mike Beasley (who will enroll at Georgetown and Kansas State respectively, this year). We caught the bus to 10 or 11 different playgrounds to play every day”.

Melvin Middleton, is a courtside fixture at Georgetown University Basketball games.

By the time Middleton enrolled in Spingarn High School, he wasn’t a typical 10th grader, according to Clarence “Bootney” Green, a high scoring senior at the school then. “Oh yeah, definitely, he had a man’s game” said Green recently, when asked to comment on Middleton’s pass first point guard skill set. “He had out-of-this-world handle…He would break the press by himself. Once he got the ball, he didn’t need any help. I would just go down and set up to score”.

Along with future NBA player Sherman Douglass, a player he battled in youth ball growing up and noted “played with me” at Spingarn, Middleton led the Green Wave to a prodigal 31-0 record, the City Title championship, and a #1 national ranking. The year was 1985, and during the course of the season, Middleton, a senior, averaged around 12 points, 10 assists, and between four and five steals a game”.

Of course colleges came calling, as Melvin identified many as being interested in his skills, including the likes of “Seton Hall and Villanova”. Middleton’s first stop out of high school would be Draughan’s Community College in Savannah, GA for one year, after which he transferred back to D.C., to attend the University of the District of Columbia.

Middleton, along with partner Jam "Don Choo" Sutton have a thriving fashion outlet at 8801 Hampton Mall Drive, Capitol Heights, MD. Phone Number: 301.350.2411

Not having played ball at Draughan’s, Middleton enrolled at UDC as a freshman, where he shared he promptly “started as a freshman”, and became “an athletic standout, for two years”.

Following his UDC experience and a short stint in Israel playing hoops professionally, Middleton returned to his beloved Washington, D.C. to give back to the community. “I started working and getting kids down the right road” he shared.

And who else better to do that, than a man that had not only seen the best of what the Nation’s Capital had to offer, but much of the worst as well? When asked if he thought his experiences and those of others he witnessed brought a sense of authenticity to him, Middleton simply responded “A whole lot of it”.

That authenticity, on and off the hardwood, a love for the game, and an ability to impart both were driving factors in he, along with Curtis Malone and Troy Weaver, originating the AAU/travel team juggernaut, DC Assault around 1993.

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