The Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation’s motto, save the next bright star, is most clear in the next generation of basketball players who help make the tournament possible.
Jessie Moses, Xzayvier Brown, Keron Booth Jr., Kaseen Watson, Kareen Watson, Sam Brown, Justin Moore and Olin Chamberlain are just a few of the kids who, despite never meeting Rumph himself, have learned from his story and continue to soak up as much knowledge as they can from the generation of Philly hoopers that came before them.
Here are the next bright stars:
Moses was nine years old when she got her first taste of the Rumph Classic.
Her grand introduction came in 2018 while attending an all-boys La Salle basketball camp where, yes, she was the only girl.
She said she’s known Explorers head coach Ashley Howard for a while and he was the one who suggested she give the camp a try, thinking it would be a prominent opportunity to test her game. The 12-year-old Philly native’s confidence never waivers, stepping onto the court feeling like she’s one of the better players there.
“It feels like any other camp,” Moses said. “The competition is just a little bit harder.”
Moses is also only in seventh grade playing up against eighth graders.
She saw a flyer on the last day of camp for the Rumph Classic happening that night and figured it would be a cool event to check out. Through Howard, she was introduced to Sharif Bray, one of the lead organizers of the tournament.
He was pivotal in getting Moses more involved.
She’s now a regular part of the operations crew helping out with grabbing drinks for the players and putting together media lists.
Being around basketball is a fun way to spend her weekend and if it wasn’t for having a tournament with her AAU team, the Philadelphia Belles, there’s no doubt she’d be at Tom Gola arena all five days.
For Brown, the annual Rumph Classic is a chance to see local guys and big names hoop for five days during the summer.
The rising sophomore point guard at Roman Catholic High School has been playing for Sharif Hanford and the Danny Rumph rec team in Germantown, the gym where the team’s namesake tragically passed away, since 2017.
He was first connected with Hanford through his step-dad and St. Joseph’s assistant basketball coach, Justin Scott. Both Scott and Hanford grew up with Rumph and play major roles in organizing the tournament each year.
Brown, who was born the year Rumph died, loves coming out to Tom Gola arena for the chance to watch high-level basketball and pick up any wisdom he can from the local legends.
He’s even worked out with a few, including former Kentucky then Washington point guard Quade Green and former La Salle star Tyreek Duren.
Keron Booth Jr.
Booth Jr. first got involved with the Rumph Classic when he was eight years old as a chance to be around high-level basketball.
Now 13, headed into seventh grade, he’s become a regular around here.
Booth Jr. said despite being born years after Rumph passed away, he still knows all about his story.
“Because of him I know how important it is to get your heart screened to make sure you’re healthy,” he said.
At this year’s edition of the tournament, he had the distinguished honor of hearing from Philly native and Charlotte Hornets guard Brad Wanamaker who spoke with a few kids from the younger generation of Philly hoopers.
Wanamaker told him the most important advice he can give is to fight through adversity. Booth Jr. said it was cool to hear from a pro talking about sitting on the bench behind guys like Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier.
Booth Jr. is now carving his own path as one of the best guards in the city for the class of 2027, playing for Team Final.
Watson first got his foot in the door working the Rumph Classic as a way to get a free ticket. He was intrigued by the basketball tournament aspect of it and his grandmother suggested he could offer to work the tournament.
He was in 5th grade his first year mopping the floors from the baseline and giving a helping hand wherever he could.
Now in high school, he’s a welcome member of the Rumph community. And his favorite part is seeing all the big names who come through the door like the Morris twins, James Harden, Jayson Tatum and Lou Williams.
“I feel like it’s big for Philly,” Watson said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in the city so to see some good things happening in Philly is really great.”
Watson was born two years prior to Rumph’s passing but being ingrained in the Philly basketball scene and a big part of the tournament, he’s heard all about his story.
Watson was drawn to the Rumph Classic in 5th grade because he heard the Morris twins, Marcus and Markeiff, would be playing.
Being a twin himself, that connection has long been a driving factor in his own game.
“It just makes me and my brother want to go harder,” Watson said. “It shows that we got a chance.”
Him and his twin brother, Kaseem, are both headed into their senior year at West Philly Catholic looking to follow in those North Philly footsteps.
The crowd, the environment and the chance to be a part of something bigger through basketball is what keeps him coming back every year.
Brown has been playing at the Rumph recreation center and coming out to the yearly tournament for as long as he can remember.
He’s now peeled off into football and is committed to play at Rutgers after graduating in 2022 but basketball is still close to the heart.
“Philly basketball is really big,” Brown said. “A lot of big players have come out of Philly and in high school we were playing against some of the best players in the country.”
For as many years as he has come to the Rumph, his favorite memory is seeing Jayson Tatum play in 2019. He said he just remembers him cooking the whole game and it felt like “every shot he took was going in.”
Brown was seven years old when he first started playing for Sharif Hanford’s Rumph rec center team which introduced him to Rumph’s story and about how good of a player he was.
Moore first got involved working the Rumph Classic in 2019 when he was in ninth grade but has been around the community since he was little.
“When I was younger, starting off playing basketball at the Rumph rec center, it was like you had to know his story and what it was about,” Moore said. “He was a really good basketball player and coming up, everybody knew about Danny Rumph.”
Now working his second tournament, Moore still considers himself a fan. He does the scoreboard and keeps stats for each of the games.
His favorite memory was seeing Jayson Tatum show up and get buckets in 2019. Moore remembers how easy the NBA All-Star made it look and he loves the opportunity to see some of the big names who come through to Tom Gola Arena.
Moore is heading into his senior year at Archbishop Wood with a bevy of mid-major Division I offers.
Chamberlain heard about the Rumph Classic in 2018 and came out as a fan but has been working the annual tournament since.
The great nephew of Hall of Famer Philadelphia 76ers legend sent an Instagram direct message to Mike Morak, the lead organizer of the Rumph Classic, asking if he could volunteer to help.
This is now his second year helping mop floors and keeping stats but Chamberlain has two favorite memories from the last few years he’s been around the Rumph.
The first was he was mopping the floor at the 2019 tournament and he realized Jayson Tatum was standing right next to him. That was a cool moment because he was a bit star struck standing next to an NBA player of Tatum’s caliber. The other was when he first started working the Rumph Classic he got a ticket for free staff food. His jaw may have dropped more with the latter memory.
Despite being only 14 years old he’s already thinking about what he wants to do in college. Communications is the major he has in mind and in attempts to get a head start on that, he started a podcast during quarantine called “Talk It Over” interviewing various people in the basketball world.
Chamberlain begins his freshman year at St. Joseph’s Prep this fall with dreams of being one of the top guards in the city.