RESPECT: How Good is Buffalo Basketball?

Left to Right Bottom Row First – Emeka  Uzomba, Jack Woodruff,  Raye  McKinney and Casey Sheehans –   Left to Right Top Row – Gerald Beverly, Massai Graham, Andrew Sischo, Brandon Beloti, Jordan Southerland,  Jayden Beloti, Jaeger Martino, Jon Phillips, Mark Coppola 

Story and Photos by A. Dorcely

Massai Graham gets air before a dunk

This is a question that keeps coming up. I’m kind of an outsider looking in. So I thought maybe with me being a little less bias I could seek out the answer. Apparently, there’s a feeling of disrespect in the basketball community in Buffalo.

Currently as I’m conducting this treasure hunt of information the NBA Finals are in progress. On one of those teams is a Buffalo product. I’ll leave it to you to acquire that data if you don’t already know the answer. 

My apologies sometimes I digress. So where was I? Oh, yeah…I have seen a couple of showcases so far this summer. Both were 716 vs 585 all star game type events.

For those not aware the previous was the area code for Buffalo and Rochester respectively.  One showcase was put on by Noah Hutchins(@clutchinsss) formerly of The Park School and the other Carlos Bradberry(@losbrad10) of Niagara Falls High School.  Much excitement for Buffalo basketball was garnered by both showcases. 

Now we come to the Buffalo Cold Rush Creator Event.

This made sense now with social media being such a huge platform.  Emeka Uzomba from Buffalo, being a big time social media personality in his own right came up with this brain child.

Gerald Beverly in for a slam.

The idea was to have a group of basketball players, trick shot artists, high flyers and associates of his from social media play against former and current Buffalo ballers. Cold Rush Co-founders Mark Coppola and Gerald Beverly were responsible for putting on this showcase.  Both stated the event was a success. Mark Coppola said the reason for the game was “to show that there’s real talent in Buffalo and to put us on the map across the country.” 

Emeka Uzomba drives a lay up.

Beverly who’s from Rochester (585 remember) is claiming Buffalo now after falling in love with the city. He said, “when people think New York basketball they immediately think “THE CITY.” I can’t help you if you don’t know which city “THE CITY” is.

He said people are not referring to Upstate or Western New York in that context. A change in the level of respect is what he’s looking for. R-E-S-P-E-C-T rang bells as I wrote this. Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit wasn’t specific to basketball. Just human nature!

Massai Graham shoots over Brandon Beloti

 Emeka Uzomba clearly has an understanding of human behavior. He would like to continue to set up such events and make them bigger while using his platform to give more exposure to such athletes as  Massai Graham who participated in the showcase. He calls Graham a “freak athlete”. I concur! If you haven’t  seen his “Bounce Fam,”maybe head to YouTube. 

As my search ended I started feeling that once Buffalo could keep some of their homegrown talent the appreciation for Buffalo basketball would grow. After all isn’t self respect the starting point? But I thought who better to ask about keeping homegrown talent home than Massai. Graham believes “it has to be like a family structure, make it feel like a home away from home” with regards to the colleges in Buffalo keeping star players in the area.

It shouldn’t be a burden. So what will come first??? The recognition of the schools or the players coming to the schools allowing them to gain acclaim.

In conclusion I found that all Buffalo needs is just a little bit of….!!!  

Follow columnist / sports photographer A. Dorcely @ashdorig12 @buffalosportsworld on social media.