Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Finally an NBA player, Shakur glad to be home

Mustafa Shakur has fond memories of the Rasual Butler All-City Basketball Classic, a three-tiered, all-star event set to take place for the 17th year Thursday night.

Mustafa Shakur has fond memories of the Rasual Butler All-City Basketball Classic, a three-tiered, all-star event set to take place for the 17th year Thursday night.

Matter of fact, they're such goodies, recalling them pretty much gives him goosebumps.

After starring for William Penn High, Friends' Central and the University of Arizona, Shakur had to tough things out along the backdoor trail (overseas, training-camp stints, minor leagues) for three-plus seasons before making his NBA debut last winter with the Washington Wizards.

And the way he sees it, the Classic served as quite the trampoline.

"I was just finishing my junior year at William Penn, and I was picked to play in the Classic," Shakur said. "I hadn't played as freshman or soph, though I'd been there to watch. I'd see guys getting those huge MVP trophies they always give out - I remember Olney's David Bell getting one - and I'd say, 'Man, I wanna get one of those.' Then I played and did wind up with one myself.

"Winning that trophy was such a huge thing. It made me start to realize, 'I'm a pretty good player. If I get even better, I can really, really do something with this.' "

This year's event, featuring virtually all top freshmen, sophomores and juniors from the city and suburbs (frosh go first, at 5:30), will be held at Ben Franklin High, Broad and Green.

Shakur will attend, and even head home with new hardware. He will receive a plaque from Charles "Shoob" Monroe, Classic director, for his hoops accomplishments, ongoing support and ever-present class.

"When Charles asked me to make sure to come this year, I thought I'd just be watching the games," Shakur said. "Then to find out I'll be getting an award, too . . . Huge honor. Didn't expect this at all. Very nice."

Shakur also could be put to work. Monroe likes to get NBA players with local ties to serve as honorary coaches, and this year's crop, he hopes, will include Wayne Ellington, Hakim Warrick, Jason Thompson, Ronald "Flip" Murray, Butler . . .

"I'm still putting all that together," Monroe said.

The 6-4, 195-pound Shakur grew up on Warnock Street, not far from Broad and Olney, and played most of his pickup/youth ball at Cherashore Playground, 10th and Chew, which is where he will host a youth clinic/fun day on July 19 that's expected to draw numerous NBAers.

The backup point guard made his NBA debut on Jan. 22. He impressed enough to remain with the Wizards through the end of the season, and he got eight points, three assists and two steals in 16 minutes vs. Cleveland in the final week.

Talks about a Wizards encore will soon begin between the team and his agent, he hopes.

At the Classic, meanwhile, Shakur will be happy to chat with anyone.

"I think I have more of an appreciation than the average NBA player," he said. "Considering the road I've had to take, everyday people can relate to me. Maybe I can provide inspiration. I'm proof that if you stick with it and apply yourself, good things can happen."


Rosters for 17th annual Rasual Butler All-City Basketball Classic to be held Thursday at Ben Franklin HS (Broad and Green):


Team One

Shep Garner, 6-2, Roman

Ben Bentil, 6-7, Haverford School

Tony Toplyn 6-5 Neumann-Goretti

Basil Thompson, 6-4, Roman

Malik Smith, 5-10, Del-Val

Eric Anderson, 6-4, Haverford

Rashann London, 6-2, Roman

Malik Tyndale, 6-0, West Catholic

Floyd Prieto, 6-0, Westtown

Malik Starkes, 6-2, Olney

Team Two

Ja'Quan Newton, 6-2, Neumann-Goretti

Jamal Custis, 6-5, Neumann-Goretti

Jayde Gardiner, 6-4, Friere

Raheem Liggins, 6-5, Prep Charter

Troy Harper, 5-11, Neumann-Goretti

Brandon Adams, 6-3, Prep Charter

Conrad Chambers, 6-0, Friends' Central

Lou Myers, 6-0, Southern

Rip Engel, 5-9, Roman

Mustapha Trawore, 6-5, Prep Charter

*Sean Lloyd, 6-3, Franklin LC (injured)


Team One

Jeffon Powell, 6-3, MC&S

Steven Griffin, 5-11, Father Judge

Jeremiah Worthem, 6-5, MC&S

Jai Williams, 6-8, P.E.T.

Brandon Austin, 6-5, Imhotep

Rysheed Jordan, 6-2, Vaux

Yahmir Greenlee, 5-6, Boys' Latin

Hakeem Baxter, 6-1, Phila. Elec.

Amir Butler, 6-1, Strawberry Mansion

Lester Mattox, 6-0, Fels

Team Two

Amar Stukes, 6-1, La Salle

Karonn Davis, 6-0, Friends' Central

Shafeek Taylor, 6-3, Roman

Britton Lee, 6-0, Roman

John Davis, 6-3, Neumann-Goretti

Miles Overton, 6-2, SJ Prep

Stephen Vasturia, 6-0, SJ Prep

Semaj Reed, 6-6, Haverford School

Yosef Yacob, 6-0, Carroll

Robert Johnson 6-5 Lower Merion

JUNIORS (7:30)

Team One

Shaun Church, 6-3, Ridley

Ryan Arcidiacono, 6-2, Neshaminy

Aaron Goodman, 6-0, Council Rock

Donovan Jack, 6-8, Reading Cent. Catholic

Savon Goodman, 6-6, Academy New Church

Malik Garner, 6-5, Chestnut Hill

Brendan Kilpatrick, 6-5, Malvern

Devon Jones, 6-3, Haddon Heights (NJ)

Aaron Morgan, 6-1, Council Rock North

Josh Heyliger, 6-2, The Hill School

Team Two

Maurice Watson 5-9, Boys' Latin

Nafees Walker, 6-3, Cheltenham

Amile Jefferson, 6-7, Friends' Central

Daiquan Walker, 6-2, Consitution

Khyree Wooten, 6-2, Strawberry Mansion

Billy Dooley, 6-4, Chestnut Hill

Richard Hoskins, 6-1, Comm Tech

Jordan Reed, 6-3, Wissahickon

Derrick Stewart, 6-6, Neumann-Goretti

Quentin Davis, 6-6, MC&S