Star guard leads Blair to another superb season
Standing at six feet, 145 pounds, possessing wolf-like speed and the desire to go far, senior Ellis Yeadon has already begun to create a name for himself. The shooting guard has everyone from college recruiters to Black Entertainment Television (BET) wanting a piece of him.
BET Nightly News recently highlighted Yeadon in a segment about high school basketball players who aim to make it big in the NBA. With the spotlight on him, Yeadon discussed his dreams of going to a Division I school and then becoming a Washington Wizards point guard.
Coincidently, Yeadon has already met a famous Wizard, the one and only Michael Jordan. During the fall of 2000 at a Wizards-sponsored basketball clinic held at the Run ‘n Shoot gym, Yeadon got the opportunity to go one-on-one with His Airness.
Yeadon says the experience was humbling. "[Playing with Jordan] really put me in my place. It showed me how much I need to work to be in the NBA," he says. Even though Jordan won the game, Yeadon is still proud that he was able to score on him
Yeadon, who has been in Blair's basketball program for four years, is presently one of the co-captains of the boys' varsity squad, which finished first in its division with an overall record of 20-4. Yeadon was one of the main reasons for the regular season success. Averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game and shooting 60 percent from the field.
Not surprisingly, colleges are recruiting Yeadon for basketball. After seeing him lead his AAU team to Nationals last summer, Saint Bonaventure, Morgan State and Waynesburg College have all attempted to persuade Yeadon to jump on board. Saint Bonaventure is currently offering him a scholarship of $20,000 .
Leader of the pack
Yeadon joined the boys' JV basketball team in the winter of 1998, and by halfway through the following season he had landed a spot on the varsity team.
Every team needs its spark, and according to head coach Jeff Newby, Yeadon is that spark. "[Yeadon] brings everybody up with his intensity," says Newby.
Senior teammate Chijioke Anyanwu shares his coach's sentiment. "He's an inspiration; when he hustles, he motivates everyone else to hustle," says Anyanwu.
From pressuring on defense to working on offense, Yeadon pushes his teammates to reach their potential. "By playing with him and against him, it makes me a better player," says senior co-captain and point guard Cyril Djoukeng.
While helping others perfect their skills, Yeadon has also managed to put together his own game. Coming into varsity, Yeadon's greatest asset was his defense; he was quick to get in his opponent's face and go for the ball. More recently, Yeadon's jump shot has also been right on target.
Yeadon's quick drive to the lane and pull-up jumper leaves his opponents in awe. However, his shot didn't develop overnight. His desire to improve placed him in the gym much of last summer, where he shot hundreds of jumpers each day.
That same desire keeps Yeadon focused on the court and in each game. "I never want the person I'm checking to score more than me, no matter how good he is," says Yeadon.
Yeadon is also an essential player to his AAU team, the Primetime Players. Along with a few of his Blair teammates, Yeadon went up against some of the best teams on the East Coast last summer. He averaged almost 25 points per game with that team.
Reminiscences of a young cub
Yeadon started playing basketball at the age of six at Woodside Childcare Center. He soon made basketball his priority when he joined a Montgomery County recreational basketball team under the guidance of Coach Tony Langley. According to Yeadon, Langley stressed the fundamentals of basketball. "If you missed lay-ups, you had to do push-ups and sit-ups," says Yeadon.
Yeadon credits most of his game to Langley but also acknowledges other coaches, including last year's varsity boys' basketball coach Dale Lamberth and Jeff Newby, who he says have helped him develop his game. "Tony Langley taught me how to play, while Dale and Newby gave me my confidence," says Yeadon.
Another person who influences Yeadon's game, however, is not a coach or an NBA role model, but his mother. Vivian Yeadon can be found at all of her son's games, cheering and shouting from the very top row of the stands. As one of Yeadon's biggest fans, she gives him that push to keep going. "[My mother] stays on me. She makes sure I stay on track," says Yeadon.
Yeadon has a chance to make it big despite the fact that only one in every 150,000 black athletes makes it to the pros, according to BET Nightly News. He also held a 3.5 GPA for the second quarter while taking honors classes.
With this combination of academics and athletic skills, Yeadon knows what it's going to take to make it to the big leagues. "I'm not the biggest guy on the court," he says. "I'm going to have to hit the weights and hit the books so I can get that college scholarship."
Colby Chapman. Colby Chapman is a junior page editor and sports writer for Silver Chips. She plays basketball and runs track for Blair, and she plays the piano as well. She is very committed to her academics but takes great pride in her athletics. More »