By Dr. Kent M. Keith “ANYWAY”
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
HISTORY & ALUMNI PAGE
- The Winston-Salem Stealers Club Basketball Program was born on September 9, 1996 by Brian Robinson, who at the time was an assistant varsity boy’s basketball coach at R.J. Reynolds High School (his alma mater) and Nell Pollard who was a rising sophomore basketball player at Reynolds. Nell asked Coach Robinson about starting a team for her and her friends in the summer after Coach R:) worked with her at the R.J. Reynolds Top Ten Summer Camp. The Winston-Salem Stealers held their first practice that September at Miller Park Recreation Center in Winston-Salem as 15-and-under Team.
- The popularity of that 15-and-under Team grew and soon a 13-and-under Team was organized, both coached by Coach Robinson. Each team had twelve players. The 15-and-under Team had their first scrimmage on October 13, 1996 at the old Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School on Link Road in Winston-Salem (now Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Middle School). The 13-and-under Team held their first scrimmage at Statesville High School against the Carolina Angels.
- The 15-and-under Team played their first invitational tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina and won the event, finishing with a 3-1 record. The 15s went onto a second place finish the next weekend in Chapel Hill. The 15s played in the Western Regional Tournament and went 0-2, but the 0-2 finish changed some of the policies of North Carolina AAU Girls Basketball. The 15s took on two of the better teams in the state at that age, the WNC Lady Aces and the Concord Blazers, and both games were close. At the time, NCAAU had just two regionals: Eastern and Western and your team had to finish in the top six to qualify for the state tournament. Our team / program was an unknown and by coming close to knocking out two of the more established teams, it led a motion to be passed by members of the association to open up a third regional, which became the central region.
- The 13-and-under Team struggled all season. By the end of their season (Memorial Weekend) the team had come together and had a strong showing in Fayetteville, going 3-2.
- Both teams played in the fall season and as they moved through that season, interest in the program began to grow which would set the foundation for 1998.
- Our program grew from two teams to five teams, four of which were coached by Coach R:). With the new alignment of three regionals instead of two, the program had its’ first two state tournament qualifiers, our 12s and our 16s. Both teams lost both games in the states (Greensboro for the 12s; Raleigh for the 16s). The 16s, by process of elimination of teams in the state, received a bid for the National Invitational held in Kenner, Louisiana, but did not attend. The 16s hosted our first invitational in May at Reynolds High School and defeated Mitchell County in the championship game.
- This would be the last year that members of our 16s’ Teams would play in the program, but it was also the first year that a 12 year old named Chante’ Black would participate.
- This was also the first year that we fielded a 10-and-under Team; the 10s finished second in the state qualifier for the National Invitational Tournament held in Statesville; that team was the first season that LaShaunda Pratt and Brittany Strachan played in our program.
- The Stealers grew from five teams to eight, seven of which were coached by Coach R:). The 10s opened the season with a tournament championship in Avery County. The 10s went onto a third place finish in the regional tournament held in Wilkes County and then won the program’s first-ever state tournament game defeated the Salisbury Sting at Southwest Guilford High School. The 10s lost a heartbreaker to the Lee County Jaguars at the buzzer and then lost a three point game to the WNC Lady Aces to be eliminated from the state tournament. By finishing ninth in the state, the 10s qualified for the National Invitational Tournament held in Orlando, Florida in July.
- The 15s’ Team did not qualify for the state tournament so they had to play in the state qualifying invitational in Fayetteville. The 15s’ had to finish in the top three to qualify for the National Invitational Tournament held in Memphis, Tennessee. The 15s took just five players (of their squad of twelve) to Fayetteville and won a three point game in their opener. In the second game, a sixth player showed up, and the 15s won by double digits. That win qualified the team for the National Invitational Tournament and placed them in the state qualifying championship game. The 15s took on the Peidmont X-Press from High Point and won 44-42, by rallying from six points in the final two minutes.
- The 15s lost to Dallas / Fort-Worth (DFW) in their opener by two, 54-52, then won three of their next four to finish in fourth place. The 10s lost their first two games in Orlando, to the Orlando Comets and the Charlotte Monarchs in pool play. In bracket play the 10s won three straight, including two exciting wins over the #1 Seeded Kentucky Angels and then a rematch game with the Monarchs. The 10s were eliminated by Tennessee Team Pride to finish in third place. At the awards ceremony, LaShaunda Pratt was awarded with the Sears Excellence Award for her play in the Kentucky Angels’ game. In the first half of that game, LaShaunda had two teeth knocked out in a collision going for the ball. After some doctoring up at halftime, LaShaunda returned (minus the two teeth) and scored twenty points to rally our team to the win. This year was the first season for Katheryn Lyons in our program.
- In July, the City of Winston-Salem Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and the Sportsmen Club of Winston-Salem in conjunction with North Carolina AAU helped secure a bid for our program to host the 2001 16-and-under A.A.U. Nationals in 2001.
- The program grew to eleven teams, eight of which were coached by Coach Robinson. Both our 10s and 11s qualified for the National Tournament (DI), making those teams the first to do so in our program. The 13s qualified for the National Invitational Tournament (DII) in Orlando, Florida as well.
- The 10s won our program’s first-ever regional championship and the 11s finished in second.
- The 11s played their National Tournament in West Lafayette, Indiana and went 3-3, coming in 17th place in the nation.
- The 10s played their National Tournament in Orlando, Florida and, after losing all three of their games in pool play, bounced back to win two of their next three to finish at 2-4. The 10s had a memorable first game, falling behind 40-2 at halftime, eventually losing 65-12.
- The 13s went 1-5 at the National Invitational in Orlando following the 10s’ Tournament.
- Our program attended their first National College Exposure Event (“Best of the South”) in July, held in Jackson, Mississippi. The 15s went 3-3 in that event.
- Our pogram logo makes its’ debut.
- The program directors took a visit to San Diego, California to secure the bid for the 2001 Nationals.
- The 11s played in the Virginia Commonwealth Fall Classic in Richmond, Virginia and went 3-2 overall winning the tournament championship.
- Our program hosted a “Nutrition & Fitness” Night at the Old Clemmons Gym.
- Our program won its’ first-ever state championship, with the 11s defeating the WNC Lady Royals at High Point Westchester 55-43. The 11s went onto Kenner, Louisiana for the National Tournament and finished tied for 9th Place in the nation overall.
- The 11s won their second consecutive regional tournament championship in March.
- Our program hosted the 16-and-under Nationals in July using ten sites for sixty-eight teams. Our 16s won their fist two games before losing to Indiana’s Finest Black Cats. The 2-1 mark qualified the 16s for the championship bracket where they lost to Boo Williams 55-48 in the second round. Two future WNBA Players were on our squad: Kerri Gardin who joined us for the Nationals from the WNC Lady Aces, and Chante’.
- The 16s played in Chicago, Illinois at the Nike USA Cup and went 2-3.
- Our program was awarded with the A.A.U. National Volunteer-of-the-Year Award for our efforts hosting the 16-and-under National Tournament. The letter from the National Association reads: “On behalf or the entire AAU Board of Delegates, President (Bobby)Dodd and I would like to congratulate you on receiving this year’s Assosciation Volunteer of the Year Award for North Carolina. “We appreciate all that you do for the AAU! “Thank you” ! – Susan Gilgros.
- The 12s won their second straight state championship, after winning their third straight regional championship. The 12s played in the National Tournament in Amarillo, Texas and finished in a tie for 17th place, losing to the Orlando Comets 46-42 in the elimination game.
- The 10s had a runner-up finish in the regional tournament held in Greensboro and qualified for the National Invitational Tournament in Orlando finishing in 13th Place. At the N.I.T., the 10s went 3-2.
- The 13s qualified for the National Invitational also held in Orlando and went 7-1 and won their bracket, finishing in third place overall. In the game the 13s lost, to the Baton Rouge Lady Tigers in overtime, Katheryn Lyons scored 40 points becoming the fourth player to score at least that many in a game in our program.
- Later in July, the 16s, taking along two riising 8th graders, played at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Washington, DC at a college-exposure event going 2-4 overall.
- The Stealers participated in the Adidas Fall Finish and came in 3rd Place in the 16-and-under Bracket going 3-2 overall.
- Our program took its’ first trip to Portland, Oregon to play in the Nike “End of the Trail” Tournament. The 17s went 2-2 overall, playing with a roster of seven players that included two rising ninth graders.
- The program won three regional championships: the 11s, the 13s, and the 14s.
- The 13s won their third straight state championship and qualified for the DI Nationals in Dayton, Ohio where they went 6-2 overall and finished in 13s place overall.
- The 10s, 11s, and 12s all qualified for the DII Nationals in Orlando, Florida. The 10s finished in fourth place overall while the 12s had a national runner-up performance.
- The program also participated in two other college-exposure events that summer in Atlanta going 3-2 and 2-3.
- In the fall, our program was awarded its’ second opportunity to host an A.A.U. National Tournament, this time in 2004 for the 15-and-under age group.
- Chante’ Black was selected to the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Our program officials attended the AAU National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada to secure the bid for the 2004 Host Organization of the 15-and-under Nationals.
- Four teams qualified for the DI Nationals: the 11s, 12s, 14s and 15s.
- The 14s and 15s won the regional tournament and the 12s had a regional runner-up and a state runner-up finish.
- The 11s qualified for the nationals by winning a super regional tournament held in Virginia Beach.
- The 15s went 4-0 and won the Hoops and Dreams Championship in Raleigh.
- The 12s went 4-2 in Kingsport, Tennessee, while the 11s went 3-5 in Kenner, Louisiana.
- The 10s went 1-5 at the DII Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
- The 15s went 3-5 at the Nationals our program hosted. Over 200 College Coaches attended our national tournament. over the seven day period. Former Duke University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Gail Goestenkors was the opening ceremonies speaker, while Chante’ Black, now a freshman at Duke, was the torch-bearer.
- The 16s played in two college-exposure events that summer, both in the Atlanta Area going 4-3 and finishing in 9th place and then 1-3 at Georgia State at the first Peach State Basketball Event.
- Chante’ Black was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game- our program’s first.
- Chante’ Black was selected to play in the WBCA All-American Game – our program’s first.
- The 15s qualified for the first-ever “Border Wars” pitting the Top 3 North Carolina Teams versus the Top 3 Virginia Teams. The 15s went 3-0 overall, knocking off Boo Williams in the final game in Hickory, North Carolina.
- 292 Basketball introduced “Monday Night Basketball” for our participants to take part in. Monday Night Basketball was a college-exposure camp for participants to play in front of college coaches.
- Katheryn Lyons was selected to play for Team North Carolina at the A.A.U. Junior Olympic Games.
- Katheryn Lyons was selected to play in the Adidas Top Ten Camp at the Suwanee Sports Complex.
- The 14s went 6-2 at the YBOA National Championship held in Cocoa Beach, Florida, going 6-2.
- This was the first season that Coach Robinson did not head coach a team in the program. Coach Robinson turned over his coaching duties to his assistant coaches from the 2004 Season, but stayed on the bench with the 10-and-under team as a part-time assistant coach.
- The 13s won the regional tournament while the 12s were regional runner-ups. The 13s played in the DI Nationals in Ohio and the 12s played in Amarillo, Texas.
- The 12s went 3-4 overall at the DI Nationals; while the 13s went 4-3 and finished in the Top 32.
- The 16s went 3-1 at the Hoops and Dreams College-Exposure Tournament finishing as runner-ups in Greensboro.
- The 16s went 4-1 at the USA Stars College-Exposure Event and came in 3rd Place in Birmingham, Alabama.
- The 15s went 3-1 at the Adidas Tournament of Champions in Atlanta, going 3-1and finishing in 5th Place.
- The Travel Team played in Chicago, at the Nike USA Cup and went 3-2 and then traveled to Kearney, Nebraska to play in the Miss Basketball Tournament where they finished in third place, going 5-2. Three players from our program were named to the Miss Basketball All-American Team: Kelly Smith, Katheryn Lyons and Brittany Strachan.
- The 10s played in Orlando and went 2-5 at the DII Nationals.
- Katheryn Lyons was selected to play in the Adidas Top Ten Camp in Atlanta.
- Both Katheryn Lyons and Kelly Smith were selected to play for Team North Carolina.
- Our 19s won the state championship.
- The 11s played in Springfield, Missouri at the DI Nationals and went 0-5.
- Three members from our program signed with Atlantic Coast Conference Schools in November: Katheryn Lyons with the University of Maryland, Brittany Strachan at North Carolina State and LaShaunda Pratt at Boston College. All three were later inducted into our program’s Hall-of-Fame.
- The 17s played in Las Vegas, Nevada at a college-exposure event head coached by college freshman, former Stealer, and Hall-of-Fame Member Amanda Cross. The team came in a tie for third place going 5-2 overall.
- The 13s “Grant” played in the DI Nationals in Overland Park, Kansas that summer going 3-4.
- The 13s “Frankenberg” went to the DII Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee and went 2-4.
- The 14s went to the DI Nationals in Lafayette, Louisiana and went 2-4 overall.
- The 9-and-under Team won the State Championship in May.
- Our 17s played in the Elite Division of the Boo Williams Spring Invitational and went 2-3.
- Brittany Strachan was named MVP of the A.A.U. Junior Olympic Games as Team North Carolina won the National Championship.
- The 16s Travel Team went 3-1 in the National Junior Roundball Classic in Raleigh, NC.
- The 11s went 3-5 in Branson, Missouri at the DII Nationals.
- The 10-and-under Team went 0-6 at the DII Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
- This was our first season of seven month travel teams through the 292 Program.
- The 10-and-under Stealers played in the DII Nationals in Orlando, Florida and went 5-2 finishing in a tie for 7th Place.
- Coach Robinson was selected to be the Head Coach of the USA Basketball Blue Team at the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival held in Colorado Springs, Colorado; His team captured the Silver Medal at the event.
- The 15s went 3-1 at the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, NC.
- The 15s went 4-2 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the “Best of the Midwest”.
- The 16s went 4-0 in Greensboro at the Hoops and Dreams College-Exposure Event and were tournament champions.
- The 15s went 1-3 in Portland, Oregon at the Nike End of Trail Tournament.
- The 12s won the regional tournament.
- The 11s went 2-3 at the DII Nationals in Dayton, Ohio.
- The 15s went 3-2 in Raleigh at the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, North Carolina. The 17s went 2-3.
- Both the 15s and 17s went 3-2 and finished in 5th Place at the Nike End of Trail Tournament in Portland, Oregon.
- The 17s came in 4th place at the “Best of Summer” Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, going 2-2.
- The 15s went 3-2 at the Showtime Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia.
- The 11s won the regional tournament and qualified for the DII Nationals in New Haven, Connecticut going 5-2 overall and tying for 5th Place.
- The 10-and-under Team went 3-4 in Orlando, Florida at the DII Nationals.
- The “Grant” Team went undefeated and won the Boo Williams Invitational in Virginia Beach to kick off a 27-8 Travel Team Season; Team was later inducted to the Stealers Hall-of-Fame for their character, example, and performance on and off the court.
- The 2014 Year-Round Team won the regional tournament and finished 3rd in the state tournament to qualify for the DI Nationals in Kingsport, Tennessee, going 2-5 overall.
- Megan Buckland became the second player from our program to be selected to participate in USA Basketball. Megan was selected to the tryout for the U16 Team, being one of 34 players in the United States selected to tryout.
- The 11s played in the DII Nationals in Westfield, Indiana going 1-6 overall.
- Chante’ Black was selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun.
- Two Stealers signed their NLOI’s to play basketball for ACC Schools: Megan Buckland to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Millesa Calicott at Wake Forest.
- Lauren Penley, player and coach in our program, signed her NLOI to play basketball at Pfeiffer.
- The 2015 Team finished in 7th place at the DII Nationals in Minnesota over the summer.
- The LaPlant and Penley Teams participated in the AAU Nationals over the summer.
- The 6th Grade “Lyons” Team went 3-3 at the DII Nationals in Kingsport, Tennessee, winning their pool play (17th time a team from our program has won pool play at Nationals).
- Coach Robinson:) was selected to be the Chair of the WBCA High School All-American Game Selection Committee.
- Our 5th Annual Golf Tournament was a huge success and continues to grow; this year we were able to make a strong donation to Jaquesha Stokes, a current Stealer, who is battling cancer.
- Stealers “3”, our program’s 3 on 3 league, began in the fall. The program was a huge success.
- We hosted our largest DII / DIII Event, consisting of 48 teams, and over 30 college coaches.
- Travel teams played in New Jerseys, Atlanta and Washington, DC.
- Our travel teams played in Chicago.
- Coach Robinson completed his four-year stint as a member of the USA Basketball Selection Committee. Each of the four teams that were selected (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012) won gold medals at their international events (FIBA Americas or World Championships).
- Coach Robinson was selected to be an assistant coach for USA Basketball’s U16 Team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Cancun, Mexico.
- Coach Robinson took on the job as head coach of the Triad Trackers Adult Wheelchair Basketball Team.
- Coach Robinson was selected to be an assistant coach for USA Basketball U17 National Team. The team traveled to Nogent-sue-Seine, France for a friendly tournament before playing and winning the gold medal at the World Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
- The Twin City Jazz Boys Program held their first practice as part of our program.
- The Stealers partnered with the Gateway YWCA to be their temporary home.
- Our program was selected to be one of twelve pilot programs to be part of the USA Youth Developmental Program.
- Our USA skills program opened in the fall.
- We hosted a USA Basketball 3 on 3 qualifier in March.
- We hosted the Carolinas Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at the Gateway YWCA.
- We hosted the U19 National Team from China for 3 games.
- The Twin City Jazz played its’ first games as part of our program.
- The Summer Jazz, similar to the Summer Stealers, opened its’ first season.
(Above Jessica Mitchell – Stealers 2003)
Below Are Some Of Our Notable Alumni Who Graduated From Our Program
(Please send any requests in for Alumni that have been mistakenly left off; No college basketball play required to be listed below.)
Our Latest Commitment From Our Program Is: Bailey Kargo to the University of Delaware on June 19, 2015.
- Chante’ Black (1998-2003): Duke University, Connecticut Sun of the WNBA (Basketball)
- Brittany Strachan (1999-2006): North Carolina State University (Basketball)
- Jessica Mitchell (2001-2003): Davidson University (Basketball)
- Kaela Bellefeuil (2002-2008): Meredith College (Basketball)
- Kasey Smith (1998-2002): Appalachian State University (Cross Country / Track & Field)
- Gina Simmons (2002-2008): Lenoir-Rhyne College (Basketball)
- Kelly Smith (2003-2005): West Virginia University / East Carolina University (Basketball)
- Amanda Cross (1999-2005): Peace College (Basketball)
- Jennifer Penley (2003-2008): The Naval Academy (Basketball)
- Ginger Wheeler (1996-1998): North Carolina State University (Cross Country / Track & Field)
- Rachel Stockdale (1996-1998): North Carolina State University (Basketball)
- Katie Freeman (2000-2002): Greensboro College (Basketball)
- Katheryn Lyons (1999-2006): Maryland University / Marist University (Basketball)
- Brittany Cox (2002-2008): Pfeiffer University (Basketball)
- LaShaunda Pratt (1998-2006): Boston College / University of Alabama-Birmingham (Basketball)
- Nell Pollard (1996-1998): University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Student)
- Brittany Walker (1999-2001): University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Golf)
- Allison Schafer (1998, 2000-2003): Mars Hill University (Basketball)
- Meredith Leonard (2006-2008): University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Student)
- Allison Spivey (2003-04): East Carolina University (Basketball)
- Jennifer Havens (2002-2003): Nova-Southeastern University (Basketball)
- Mackenzie Wheaton (2000-2005): UNC-Asheville (Track & Field / Cross Country)
- Natalie Caldwell (2000-2002): Charleston Southern University (Basketball)
- Lauren Seeger (2003-04): Peace College (Basketball)
- Erinn Thompson (2003-2008): University of Virginia (Basketball)
- Madison Dulaney (2002-2008): Randolph-Macon College (Basketball)
- Morgan Phipps: (2002-2005): North Carolina State University (Soccer)
- Kerri Gardin (2001): Virginia Tech, Connecticut Sun of the WNBA (Basketball)
- Emily French (2004-05): Tusculum University (Basketball)
- Emily Clapp (1997-2002): USC-Upstate (Basketball)
- Stefanie Warner (2001): East Carolina University (Basketball)
- Stephanie Permar (2002-03): Clemson University (Basketball)
- Anna DeFrancesco (2006-2009): University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Club Basketball)
- Mattie Bethea (2003-05): North Carolina State University (Track & Field)
- Megan Stahle (1997-1998): Mary Baldwin College (Volleyball)
- Whitney Robinson (2001): Belmont Abbey University (Basketball)
- Margaret Minton (2006): Peace College (Basketball)
- Kelsey Long (2008-09): Belmont Abbey University (Basketball)
- Krissy Hinshaw (1996-1998): Wingate University (Basketball)
- Candace Fox (2004-2006): Belmont Abbey (Basketball)
- Jenna Herb (1996-2001): University of South Carolina (Student)
- Samantha Craven (2006-2009): Pfeiffer University (Basketball)
- Kim McMillian (1996-1998): USC-Upstate (Basketball)
- Courtney Johnson (1996-1998): University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Student)
- Jessica Joyner (1996-1998): Campbell (Basketball) / North Carolina State University
- Stephanie Lawson (1998-2001): USC-Upstate (Basketball)
- Chris Nelson (1996-1998): North Carolina State University – (Student)
- Whitney Knight (2002-2008) – Florida Gulf Coast University (Basketball)
- Angela Mathis (1996-1998): UNC-Wilmington (Softball)
- Molly Hughes (1997-1998): University of Tennessee (Student)
- Kayla Adams (2007-2009): Guilford College (Basketball)
- Erin Fitzgerald (2007-2009): Washington College (Basketball)
- Megan Buckland (2005-2010): University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Basketball)
- Millesa Calicott (2003-2010): Wake Forest University (Basketball)
- Autumn Cole (2009-10): University of Tampa (Basketball)
- Lauren Penley (2003-2010): Pfeiffer University / Lynchburg College (Basketball)
- Valerie Beale (2010): Emory & Henry College (Basketball)
- Kelli Bonner (2003-2010): Wingate University (Basketball)
- Ella Oakley (2012): Hollins College (Basketball)
- Emily Brown (2009-2011): Lees-McRae (Basketball)
- Felicia Gibson (2004-2010): Pfeiffer University (Basketball)
- Alison Sobataka (2011-12): Columbia (SC) College (Basketball)
(This list is a work-in-progress; please check back often for more updates.)
Winston-Salem Stealers Alums Have Played For Eight Atlantic Coast Conference Schools.
Above Picture Courtesy of DW Hoop