Former prep stars enjoy stepping up to next level
Stars and Stripes November 18, 2009
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — You can go home again.
A handful of players who starred for DODEA Pacific high school basketball teams earlier this decade proved it during this week’s Osan Pacificwide Holiday Tournament for interservice teams.
Take Jamaal Mohn, for example. He was part of a Seoul American dynasty that won three Far East Class AA Tournament titles this decade. Now he’s a point guard for the Yongsan Garrison post team, 10-3 this season.
"It feels pretty much the same," Mohn, 21, Seoul American Class of 2006, said when asked to compare prep and post ball. "Only difference is the players got bigger, better and faster."
Mohn became part of a Falcons legacy that included Class AA titles in 2003, ’04 and ’08 and six Final Four berths in seven years, including 2009.
After Mohn graduated, he took a break from his studies, then spent last year at South Carolina State playing intramural ball and came home to spend the summer with family at Yongsan.
He never went back.
"I missed my family," he said.
Instead, he began taking courses at University of Maryland on Yongsan and volunteering at the Army post’s child development and teen centers. Mohn tried out last month for the Runnin’ Rebels and made it.
"We’re more than glad to have him," said Rebels coach Tony Reed, a former assistant to Seoul American boys coach Steve Boyd.
Other former DODEA players in the Osan tournament were:
A.J. Scott, Osan American Class of 2004, who won the Class A title in 2003. Scott bounced around a couple of schools, including Boise State, before settling at Texas State at San Marcos. He played this week for Seoul International Basketball League.Tajh Kirby, Yokota Class of 2009, who started at point guard for a Panthers team that lost the Class AA title game 35-33 to St. Mary’s International last February. He played for the Yokota Warriors base team this week, as did Yokota 2008 graduate Stephanie Dolby for the Lady Warriors.One of Scott’s teammates this week was Luke Elie, International Christian-Uijongbu Class of 1999 and to this day the leading scorer in that school’s history. He now teaches and coaches at Centennial Christian in Seoul.
Reed said he likes having Mohn on the team because of his reliability.
"He’s one of our most consistent players. He’s never missed a game and to my knowledge, he’s missed just one practice," Reed said.
Quite easy, Mohn said, when one plays for a winner. He won in high school and plans to keep on doing it for the Rebels.
"It’s still a winning organization," Mohn said. "I’m still winning, but at a higher level."