Jarrett Kearse made history as the first MVP of the inaugural Danny Rumph Classic in 2006. He played for Team Bulldogs, coached by Akku Cousin.
The first championship game pitted Kearse’s team against Team Rumph Center.
“We were down at halftime…I went over to Mike [Morak] and told him we were going to win because I was gonna turn the game up,” Kearse said. “Mike laughed, thinking I was joking. I went off for like 29 points in the second half.”
Kearse, who played at Simon Gratz and West Virginia, had just seven points at the half but he wasn’t going to let the championship game slip away. He willed his team to victory behind a bevy of second-half threes, including five in a row.
His team was rounded out by Alfonso Wilson, Maurice Maxwell, Face, Chuck Ellis, Ghetto, and Paul Curry, among others.
Kearse played in the Rumph the first five years. He’s now in his fifth year as a coach with Blue Magic.
“They grew a lot since I was the MVP,” Kearse said. “It keeps getting better and better. They do a great job with the heart screenings, mentoring kids in the community and the whole thing, not just the basketball tournament. The way they carry Danny’s name on, I really respect that.”