"Many of the kids here ran into trouble with the law for gang-related offenses—burglary, vandalism, things like that," says Bulls coach Tom Mann. "The courts send them to schools like ours as a chance to get an education and maybe begin to straighten their lives out. In effect it's a last alternative before jail."
Several of Mann's players have taken advantage of that chance, including James Spears, who's now a freshman forward at Temple, and DuWayne Cheatum, a senior center for Coastal Carolina.
The students take great pride in the team. The school bussed the entire student body to a recent game with nearby Philadelphia Roman Catholic at St. Joseph's field house. (Roman Catholic dealt the Bulls their only loss of the season.)
Some rival coaches have complained that Glen Mills has an unfair advantage because it draws players from other states. On the other hand, Mann rarely gets to keep a player for longer than the time the court requires the player to attend the school, usually 15 to 18 months.
"I've been here 14 years and I've never had a player for four seasons," says Mann. "A kid can choose to stay longer than the court-appointed time, but most don't. But a lot of them learn something about hard work and accomplishment and pride and class before they leave."
Charlotte (N.C.) Latin School (24-2) has one of the tallest front lines in the nation, taller than that of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. Center Chase Metheney, a ninth-grader, is 7'1", Geoff Richards is 6'7" and Torsten Balkenhol, an exchange student from Germany, is 6'7".... Western High of Las Vegas seems to be a clone of UNLV. Through Sunday, the 24-2 Warriors were averaging 104.7 points.... Senior guard Kareem Townes of South Philadelphia High is the first player to average more than 40 points in the Public League since Wilt Chamberlain produced 47.2 in 1954-55. Kareem averaged 41.2 points this season.
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