Thanks to the Sunbury-Galena Rotary Club, the Harlem Wizards, who played an exhibition game against the Big Walnut All-Stars last year, will return to Big Walnut High School on Wednesday, March 2, for a rematch.
The Harlem Wizards is a family-owned, for-profit company that works strictly for nonprofit organizations, putting on exhibition basketball events against local teams as a local fundraiser.
Sunbury-Galena Rotary member Jim Irwin said last year’s Wizard game against the Big Walnut All Stars was a sellout.
“The Big Walnut High School gymnasium has a capacity of 1,200 and we sold 1,168 tickets, so it was definitely a full house,” Irwin said. “We got a lot of great reviews from the kids, from the teachers, and from everyone who attended; and we were able to give money back to the school district for each school building’s principal fund.”
Irwin said the Rotary made enough money last year to donate money to Design Outreach, an organization that sends well-drilling equipment to Africa, and also donated funds to Delaware County Friends of the Trail to help pave the Galena brick trail.
“We were also able to increase the amount of money we give to graduating Big Walnut seniors for scholarships, plus we added a scholarship for graduating seniors at the Delaware Area Career Center,” Irwin said. “We considered last year’s Wizards game to be a huge success and the school district is excited about the Wizards coming back this year. We think it’s a great project.”
The Big Walnut All Stars said they are anxious to get some court time in with the Harlem Wizards. They said it’s payback time. The Wizards defeated the All-Stars last year, 75 to 69.
Members of this year’s Big Walnut All-Stars squad are already in the gym getting in condition under the guidance of head coach Angie Pollock. They are: Mendi Priestas and Mark Adams from Harrison Street Elementary, Brett Bartlett and Doug Eckelbarger from Big Walnut Middle School, Joe Weaver and Kristin Kovak from Big Walnut High School, Joe Evener and Rachel Middleman from Big Walnut Intermediate School, AJ Hoffman and Awny Kingsley from Hylen Souders Elementary, Josh Patterson and Lisa Shaw from General Rosecrans Elementary, and Charlie Brodhead and Mika George from Big Walnut Elementary.
Back this year with the Wizards is Number 33, David “DP” Paul. The 6-foot-6 forward was a CUNY and Metro NY College Player of the Year who played professionally in Germany. DP is also the team’s road manager.
Also returning is Number 1, “King” Arthur Lewis Jr., a 5-foot-9 guard, Academic All-American at Bowie State University and IBL and ABA All-Star; Number 3, Dexton “Air Jamaica” Williamson, a 6-foot-4 guard who played college ball at Southern Connecticut State University where he was ninth in the nation in rebounding; and Number 17, Rob “Mr. X-Citement” Young, a 6-foot-4 member of the DII Bloomfield College team that went to the Elite 8.
New this year, replacing the ever-popular Claude “Tojo” Henderson who recently retired from the game, is Number 40, Jordan “Flight” Southerland, who is 6-foot-3 and from Marietta High School. He’s been a Wizard since 2015.
“The Wizards have a new routine this year, so it will be a fun evening even for fans who attended last year’s game,” Irwin said. “And best of all, other than helping support well-drilling in Africa, the proceeds stay local to buy children’s books for Community Library, swim lessons for younger children, and scholarships for graduating seniors. The lion’s share of the money raised stays here in our community.”
Irwin said tickets are $10 and $12 if purchased before the event. On the night of the event, all tickets are $15.
Tickets are available at the Big Walnut High School athletic director’s office and at Subway of Sunbury, 747 W. Cherry St. Irwin said folks who purchase a ticket at Subway would receive a coupon for half a sub sandwich at half price.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the game starts at 6:30.
For more information about the Harlem Wizards, go to harlemwizards.com.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.