OAK PARK — Sacramento Kings star player DeMarcus Cousins is officially going to make it the last time that his Nike Elite Skills Basketball Camp’s staff deals with obsolete scoreboards in Sacramento Charter High School’s Dave Hotell Memorial Pavilion.
After the Kings beat the New York Knicks 135-129 in overtime at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 27, he did not go into details, though confirmed with a “yes” to The OBSERVER that he will purchase and donate brand new basketball scoreboards to Sac High.
Sac High Varsity Boys head coach Derek Swafford has been talking about replacing the current battered scoreboards since 2003. Through the years, funding for the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs do not stretch that far financially. All fundraising efforts support other needs for student athletes.
The remote devices that are placed at the north and south ends of the gymnasium in the Dave Hotell Memorial Pavilion are not up to par with today’s standards and often fail to function satisfactorily during games played among freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams.
“I’ve been trying for a long time to get the right type of scoreboard for our programs,” Swafford said. “We have so many problems with it. Hopefully, Cousins bring in something that the kids will appreciate. I already appreciate what he does.”
During the St. Hope Elite Hoop Classic played in the facility from Dec. 18 to 22, the 35-second clock fizzed out a couple of times at critical times during the tournament. The referees and scorekeepers had to verbally countdown the time for the players to avoid a violation.
“It’s so embarrassing for a quality tournament such as this one,” Swafford said of the antiquated scoreboards. “But at least the Sacramento City Unified School District did put in new bleachers to sit on a few years ago.”
Cousins hosts his Nike Elite Skills Basketball Camp at Sac High for three days in June. The camp is for boys and girls ages 7 to 16. Cousins, not only makes an appearance every day, he’s also works hands-on the entire camp while building relationships with every single camper.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is a product of Sac High’s basketball program. It’s where he earned his name before attending the University of California-Berkeley and moving on to the NBA to play for the Phoenix Suns. Sac High retired Johnson’s No. 11 jersey, which hangs in the gym.
Johnson expressed that he knows how passionate Cousins is when it comes to helping young people to succeed and be productive citizens. His contributions to Sac High and other schools in the area show a different side of the Mobile, Alabama native.
“DeMarcus has truly come into his own as a player and a strong member of the Sacramento community,” Johnson shared with The OBSERVER. “He has given philanthropically to many education causes in the city and expressed to young people how important it is to get their education. The fact that his generosity has now extended to ensuring that our scholar athletes at Sac High can excel in basketball and school is just one more indication of his commitment,” Johnson stated.
Swafford said he hopes the new scoreboards are installed by the time the girls’ and boys’ varsity squads start Metropolitan League play in January.
By OBSERVER Staff Writer
Antonio R. Harvey