Editor’s note: Mitchell Northam has been PSN’s longest-tenured out-of-town contributor, starting when he was based in Atlanta, and continuing and expanding his role in moving to North Carolina.
Mitchell has covered numerous Pitt athletics events for PSN, including two ACC Championship Games and multiple ACC Basketball Tournaments. He’s also one of our network’s most trusted voices for women’s basketball and an accomplished photographer.
We’re very excited to share that he has published his first book, which feels like it has to be a first for any contributor in our network. I’ll let him tell you about it. — Alan Saunders.
I just published my first book. It’s about the history of high school basketball where I grew up, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and is titled, “High School Basketball on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: A Shore Hoops History.”
My goal with the book was to preserve some history of hoops on Maryland’s slice of the Delmarva Peninsula, putting stories about the best teams, the most memorable seasons, the top players and the iconic coaches all in one place.
For the past few years, y’all have seen my byline here, covering Pitt, WVU and the Steelers whenever they’re in ACC Country, or somewhere within driving distance from my home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
While researching and writing this book, I stumbled across a handful of connections between Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and high school basketball on the Eastern Shore.
I’ve listed them here, and perhaps they’ll give you a reason to seek out my book and give it a read.
- The book touches on the high school and collegiate career of Levi Fontaine, who was the first Eastern Shore native to be drafted into the NBA in 1970 by the Warriors. Fontaine’s professional career ended a few seasons later, when he was waived by the Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA.
- Rasheedah Akram is mentioned, and she might be the most talented girls high school basketball player ever in the state of Maryland. After scoring a still-standing state record of 3,561 points at tiny Mardela, she played one season at Pitt, playing in 10 games in the 1997-98 season, averaging 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per-game.
- Will Graves, the sportswriter for the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, is interviewed in the book. Graves started his career on the Eastern Shore, working at the Star Democrat newspaper in Easton.
- WVU alum Dick DeHart coached the 1952 Ocean City High School boys team to a state championship – the first for an Eastern Shore boys team.
- West Virginia native – and former Marshall women’s basketball player – Brenda Jones coached the 1979 Snow Hill girls team to a state championship, the first for an Eastern Shore girls team in the modern era.
- Greg Bozman is profiled in the book. A native of Somerset County on the Eastern Shore, Bozman played briefly at WVU in the 1983-84 season for Gale Catlett. Before WVU, he played at Georgia.
- Former WVU football player Antwan Lake won a state championship in boys basketball with Cambridge-South Dorchester High School in 1996. The book features a photo of him blocking a shot. Teammate Hanee Camper said of Lake: “In basketball, Antwan was the hustle guy. We wouldn’t have that state championship without him. He was always the first guy back on defense.”
- Virginia Tech’s Keve Aluma is profiled in the book and the chapter on him features a quote from Pitt’s Jeff Capel. “He is really, really good. And to think he was at Wofford,” Capel said. “He’s really good with his footwork and his shot fakes. He’s been really good for them all year so we’re going to have to try to find a way to slow him down a bit.” Pitt won that game against the Hokies, but Aluma scored 30 points.