Vernon Harris will win the series. Which generation to be determined.
Vernon Jr., a 6-4, 180-pound senior center at Overbrook High, has suffered some losses in his family. But his dad is very much around and, as he put it, "I really do cherish that."
Aside from guidance and occasional scolding, dad long has tried to school son on the inner workings of near-the-basket hoops.
"My dad didn't play school ball," Vernon Jr. said. "But I always used to hear from people in the neighborhood how good of a player he was. 'You ain't nothin' compared to your dad. Never will be, either.' That's not what they say anymore. Now they say he can't stand a chance against me.
"We have a little one-on-one series going. It stands 2-2. He doesn't want to play that last one. Knows he's going to lose.
"My dad goes about 6-5, 230. He tries to abuse me in the paint. He always says if I can play against him, I can play against anybody."
Yesterday, Bracket Two of the Public League regular-season schedule offered 'Brook at West Philadelphia.
"In the beginning, it seemed like a rivalry game," Harris said. "But once we started stretching out the lead, it felt like, well, I don't want to say a scrimmage, but just a regular game."
Harris was much of the reason, as 'Brook won, 62-43. Aside from shooting 9-for-11 from the floor en route to 19 points, he recorded 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
"I usually shoot well, but I surprised myself with this one," he said. "I was working hard to make sure I took good shots. And, of course, it wasn't just me. Nurideen Lindsey opened things up for me. And Najee Underwood was giving me good passes. Let's face it. At the end of the day, basketball is a team sport."
Lindsey, a junior wing guard who 3 months ago committed to La Salle, finished with 30 points (11-for-22 floor). His grades had momentarily slipped, so this was his first outing of the season. Keith West led the Speedboys with 11 points. Antoine Buck and Tyrell Daye halved 20.
Although Harris, who hopes to generate college interest and major in business, lived near 'Brook when he enrolled there, his home turf is now the Margaret and Orthodox area, in Frankford. The El gets him most of the way to 'Brook. The G bus or 10 trolley does the rest.
"I liked the school and didn't want to leave," he said. "I leave my house real early and meet up before school with coach Freddie [Stokes, the former West all-timer and NBA draftee] to shoot foul shots. He's real big on foul shooting."
Um, you went 1-for-4 in this one, Vernon.
"I know," he said, laughing. "And coach Freddie's gonna have me shootin' them to death."
Also important to Harris' hoops development has been Kisha Thompson, a former Frankford star.
"She's real big on fundamentals," he said. "Girls aren't as athletic as boys, so they need that stuff. The things she teaches me really help."
By the way, Thompson was plenty athletic as a player. Any minute now, she might be offering Harris his next one-on-one challenge. *