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."

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

There’s no such thing as a good time to have an injury. 

But in terms of Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a right groin injury and the schedule awaiting the Boston Celtics … this is about as bad a time as you can imagine to be without their scoring leader.

Thomas returned to Boston ahead of tonight’s game at Orlando, marking his first game missed since the 2014-2015 season. 

He suffered a right groin injury in the second quarter of Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday. 

At the time, Thomas was optimistic that he would be able to play tonight. But with a day off from practice, the soreness proved to be too much for Thomas to suit up and play tonight. 

While it’s unclear just how severe his groin injury is, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious (like they are with most injuries) about his return which may result in him missing more games than Wednesday night’s matchup against Orlando. 

“Those things (groin injuries) are a little unpredictable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier today. “Especially in this sport, you have to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. It’s important that he’s 100 percent.”

Stevens is spot-on when he talks about how uncertain a return for Thomas is currently. 

New York’s Kristaps Porzingis suffered a groin injury against the Celtics in a preseason game back in October that didn’t result in anything more than him missing a day of practice. 

It was a different story when Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic suffered a right groin injury last spring (March 7-29) that sidelined him for 13 games. 

The timetable for Thomas’ return to the floor is likely to fall somewhere within those two timetables which would make an already daunting stretch of games even more difficult. 

Following tonight’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining in the month of December with nine being against teams with a winning record. And of the three games against teams below-.500 (Miami twice, Indiana), two of them are on the road. 

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”