Boston Celtics

From small beginnings at Dunbar High to stardom

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From small beginnings at Dunbar High to stardom

BOSTON — Before star-studded prep schools and AAU "dream teams" took over the high school basketball scene, the Dunbar Poets in Baltimore were a national high school basketball power in the 1980s.

And while Reggie Lewis went on to become the most accomplished member of the Dunbar basketball family, no one would have envisioned the impact he would made on both the college and pro levels.

Not only was Lewis not a star at Dunbar, he didn't even start.

"How the hell the coach of Northeastern knew Reggie Lewis had the talent is beyond me," Tim Dawson, a starter center on the 1981 and '82 Dunbar teams, told Slam magazine. "Because Reggie Lewis never really played."

But when the opportunity to make an impact presented itself, even back then he made the most of it.

A Christmas tournament in 1982 featured key players on the Dunbar squad getting in foul trouble, which afforded Lewis, and his ultra-quick first step to the basket, an opportunity to shine.

He would go on to be named to the tournament's first team.

You won't find Lewis' career numbers anywhere close to being among the best in Dunbar history. But make no mistake about it: Lewis is regarded as one of the best - if not the best - player to ever come out of this once-dominant basketball powerhouse.

"They haven't forgotten about him in Baltimore," said Bob Wade, his coach at Dunbar. "What he meant to this program, to this city, to the state of Maryland. I'm just so proud of all his accomplishments."

David Wingate was a former prep teammate of Lewis who went on to play at Georgetown and later spent 15 seasons in the NBA.

"Everybody is going to remember Reggie," Wingate said. "Reggie was one of the ones who was most successful in the NBA, out of our group in high school."

That group included Mugsy Bogues who ,at 5-foot-3, was the shortest player to ever play in the NBA.

"He had so much to give, just his presence," a teary-eyed Bogues told Comcast SportsNet. "He cared for everybody."

And while it has been 20 years since his death, Lewis' memory is alive and well in the hearts of so many.

"I'll miss him forever," said former UConn head coach Jim Calhoun who, then the head coach at Northeastern, signed Lewis out of Dunbar. "He was like a child of mine. We all have to deal with loss, but I'll always remember Reggie. I remember Reggie hitting game winners. I remember Reggie being drafted. I remember Reggie being captain of the Celtics. I remember so many positive, great things about Reggie that nothing in this world could ever take that away from him until the day I die."

Brown ready to embrace role with new-look Celtics

Brown ready to embrace role with new-look Celtics

BOSTON – Like most of us, Jaylen Brown watched intently as the Boston Celtics overhauled their roster in a way in which no one on the payroll could untouchable.

Armed with the number one overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, the Boston Celtics traded down two spots to pick up a wing player (Jayson Tatum) who plays the same position as Brown.

Later on, the Celtics traded away Avery Bradley to Detroit.

Soon after, Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas were Cleveland-bound in a deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.

Things have changed, quickly.

MORE: Celtics storylines: Who fills out the starting lineup?

But being a high-profile high school player who spent one year in college before entering the NBA, Brown is well-versed on how to adapt quickly to new surroundings.

Brown might find himself getting used to yet another new role as an NBA starter this season.

When training camp opens next week for the Celtics, there will be at least two positions in the starting five up for grabs courtesy of Bradley and Crowder being in Detroit and Cleveland, respectively.

Thomas’ starting job will be handled by Irving who will be joined in the starting lineup by Al Horford and another new face to the Celtics roster, Gordon Hayward who signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with Boston this summer after having spent his first seven NBA seasons in Utah.

Brown said he hadn’t put too much thought into all the changes that Boston was making this offseason.

“I knew a lot of stuff was going on and it was a lot of changes but it was above my pay grade,” Brown said. “Right now my job is to come in and play basketball and leave the politics up to the front office and you guys. It had nothing to do with me. I just try to come out and play hard, and try and be the best person and basketball player. . .  I can be. I try not to think too much of it.”

But it’s hard to ignore the possibility that he could be in the starting lineup on opening night, an opportunity he will have to earn with his play in training camp.

“(Head coach Brad Stevens) is going to do whatever he feels is best for the team and I support that,” Brown said. “Whatever it is that he decides, is what he decides. But I’m here, I’m available and I’m ready to work. It’s going to be a good year.”

The possibility that Brown could be in the regular starting lineup in his second season isn’t all that unusual for a player taken with the third overall pick in the draft.

But unlike most rookies, Brown wasn’t selected by a team where playing time was a given.

He joined an experienced squad that had its sights on a deep playoff run, something that runs counter-intuitive to what most high draft picks experience their first year.

But the Celtics advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before falling to Cleveland in five games.

And as Boston went deeper into its season, Brown steadily worked his way into regular minutes which has helped put him here, potentially on the cusp of being a regular starter.

“My mindset is the same in a lot of ways, and is different in a lot of ways,” Brown said. “It’s the same in the sense where I’m just working, trying to get better each and every day just like last year; just constantly push myself for greatness. Where it’s different now, my mindset is I know a little bit more, I have my feet under me. A little bit more is expected of me.”

Throughout the summer, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been pleased with the growth he has seen in Brown’s game.

But for him to help the Celtics this season, Stevens believes it’ll have to come on the defensive end of the floor.

“Jaylen has to become a lockdown defender for us," Stevens said on the Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, earlier this summer. "That's where, as you go into an offseason and you are an individual player, there's a ton of things that you want to get better at, and there's a ton of things you want to add to your game. But ultimately, when you get back to your team, it's what do you do that's different to make your team unique to give yourself the best chance of adding value to winning. We need him to become that."

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