A group of local seventh-graders got a taste of big-time basketball. The Carolina Team 843 (CarolinaTeam843.com), made up of seventh-grade boys from Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, North Charleston and downtown Charleston, qualified and played in the AAU National Division II Tournament recently in Memphis, Tenn.
“We were out there for a week. We won two games and lost three. We lost by a total of 23 points, so all the games were pretty close,” said Cleveland Brown, one of the team’s coaches, who noted that his team also had a 72-25 win over a team from North Carolina.
Brown also said Carolina Team 843 was eliminated by eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks, losing by just four points. Ninety-six teams from throughout the country competed in the event.
“It was great competition,” Brown said. “They played hard and that’s all I ask, to give me 100 percent. I can take a loss as long as you lay it all on the line and give me your best effort.
Carolina Team 843 is a group of selected players that Brown and fellow coaches Clary Judge and Larry Smalls found by scouting the Trident League, which plays at the middle school level. He said they try to find the best available talent and then develop their skills.
Brown said this is the third year of Carolina Team 843, but the first year this particular group of players was together. He said they melded together quickly and clicked.
The trip to Memphis not only was a learning experience on the court, it also was a learning experience off the court.
Brown said they took the players to the National Civil Rights Museum, at the site where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and visited River Park on the Mississippi River, where there was a museum that explained the river’s history and how it has affected America.