2005-08-18 / Sports

Meminger Leads Odom Shooting Stars

By Elio Velez

Kareem Meminger has a lot to be happy about even as the head coach saw his Lamar Odom Shooting Stars go down to defeat last week in the I.S. 8 playoffs. Though his team fell to the TK All Stars 60-54 in the quarterfinals, Meminger has had quite a summer. As the first year coach of the Shooting Stars, which is funded by Los Angeles Lakers NBA star forward Lamar Odom, the Far Rockaway native had achieved success at different AAU Tournaments.

“We traveled all around the country. We went out to Las Vegas (Adidas Super 64 tournament in July) and did very well,” Meminger, an assistant coach at McClancy High School said. “We’ve done well this summer and went 24-4.”

Some of those wins came in an important Los Angeles Adidas sponsored tournament. Meminger’s 16 and under squad defeated the 17 and under Lamar Odom All Stars team. “That was real big considering the guys were younger. The kids got a lot of promise, we have a lot of division I guys, good kids and lot of talent on this team,” Meminger says.

It’s a like a dream come true for these kids to go out to Vegas and L.A. We had a cookout at Lamar Odom’s House. They get to meet Lamar so it’s a big thing for these kids.”

Odom plays a big part according to Memimger not only in funding the program but his commitment to helping young children excels in all aspects. Odom, who grew up in Queens, established a foundation after his mother Cathy died of cancer and is in plans to develop a community center.

Now in his mid 30’s, Meminger starred on some powerful Far Rockaway High School basketball teams in the mid to late 1980’s. As the PSAL Queens champs, he starred with great players such as forwards Kurt Taylor, who went to Hawaii and Seton Hall star Oliver Taylor. He got his start coaching 20 years old and older unlimited teams a few years ago and captured titles at Lincoln Park and West 4th Street. Meminger smiles as he remembers the move to coaching youngsters was not smooth at first.

“My uncle said if you’re putting money into grown men, then you should put your money into the kids,” Meminger said. I didn’t want to coach kids but I started doing it. I coached a team in IS 8 and I started liking it more

Meminger’s team, which comes from the city and Long Island, includes talent from the Rockaways that are will star at their high schools this season: Beach Channel forward Devon Saxon is an improving 6 foot 3 player, Wiliam Campbell will be a sophomore at Boys and Girls, Jevon Carman is a sophomore at August Martin and Ryan Pearson, a 6 foot 3 forward will play at perennial power Christ the King.

“I love being around kids. If I can help one kid, then I’ve done my job. It’s not just about basketball,” Meminger says. “It’’s about being professional on and off the court.”

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