2005-07-15 / Sports

Teel’s College Dreams Soar At ABCD

By Elio Velez

Kansas City’s Isacc Miles tries to stop Vernon Teel (right) from getting to basket at the Reebok ABCD Camp. Photo by Patrick McCarthy with permission from New York Newsday.Kansas City’s Isacc Miles tries to stop Vernon Teel (right) from getting to basket at the Reebok ABCD Camp. Photo by Patrick McCarthy with permission from New York Newsday. The Reebok ABCD High School Basketball Camp at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey is one of the most prestigious high school showcases in the country. Fans can mingle with coaches such as St. John’s Norm Roberts and college scouts (NBA scouts were also present and if you think the new one year rule stops them from looking at the talent, think again.).

One of Reebok’s 200 high school invitees throughout the country to this tournament was playing in the ABCD All Star Game on Saturday afternoon. After a slow start, Vernon Teel comes out like a house on fire in the second half. In 5 minutes on the floor, he put up 14 points and connected on three 3-pointers.

“I was excited to be in a game like this. In the second half, everyone was telling to me to play my game and score,” Teel said.

Teel’s name wasn‘t even listed on the ABCD Program but it doesn’t stop scouts from noticing the 6’4 senior from Flushing High School. It was the culmination of years of hard work for the Far Rockaway native, who moved to the peninsula a few years ago.

“I worked hard because I want to improve my game. I have an all around game. I can do what they (the scouts) say I can’t do,” Teel said. “All I needed was an opportunity.”

He’s a pure scorer with a jump shot to match who can use his muscular body to get to the basket and can finish on the fast break with ease. Teel led the PSAL with 32 points per game for Flushing High School in his senior season.

The long travel of going to Flushing High School, road games and AAU commitments can be taxing on anyone else. For Teel, it was obstacles that he knew he could overcome and win.

“I moved three years ago and I get up early every day. I get up early at 5 a.m. so I can make it to school by 7 a.m.

Since Flushing High School is not regarded as one of the preeminent city basketball programs, the 6 foot 4 shooting guard just started to receive accolades for his play.

Interestingly enough, the reason Teel attended Flushing was on the advice of his mother Allyn, who works at the school and is the all time leading scorer in girls varsity basketball. Vernon scored 1,857 points to become the men’s all time leader in points.

In fact, Reebok didn’t even invite Teel until a few weeks before the camp started last Wednesday.

The Adidas Superstar Camp, which took place in Atlanta, called Teel and placed a spot on their roster for him. He kept waiting though for Reebok to call him so Teel could stay closer to home and to fulfill his dream of playing at the camp.

Gary Charles, Teel’s AAU coach with the New York Panthers, gave him the good news and as Vernon packed his bags and head to Reebok.

“It’ll be better for me to be here. I always wanted to play here. I was going to go to Adidas but I wanted to stay close to home,” Teel said.

Teel justified his selection by ranking eighth out of 200 players for his overall play. He showcased his skills against future college stars such as the 7 foot Greg Oden and high school junior phenom O.J. Mayo.

He can play at the point and shooting guard but will see time at both spots when Teel moves to Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina. Academically Teel says he must improve his grades and get his SAT scores up to qualify for a scholarship.

The college scouts are starting to come out of the woodwork as Providence, West Virginia, Drexel and Seton Hall are in the hunt for Teel’s services.

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to give up. There is my determined side to get up and keep pushing myself for better.

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