Some of the most highly recruited high school basketball players in the country came together at Philadelphia University recently for the 3rd Annual Mary Kline Classic All-Star Memorial Event at the university’s Gallagher Center.
The event is the brainchild of 19-year-old basketball recruiting analyst Alex Kline. The Syracuse University freshman, who has garnered national attention from college coaches and fans alike for his knowledgeable insight in the world of college recruiting, conceived the Mary Kline Classic in 2010 as a way to raise money for cancer research.
This is the first year that the Mary Kline Classic has been held in Philadelphia. In the past it was held in Kline’s native New Jersey. However, Kline says he moved the event to Philadelphia University this year in part to accommodate the growing crowds due to its rising popularity.
The Mary Kline Classic features top sophomore and junior players, a three point and slam-dunk contest and a senior game that rounds out the night’s festivities.
The event is named after Alex Kline’s mother, Mary Kline, who lost her battle with brain cancer when Alex was just 10 years old. When Kline addressed the crowd at Philadelphia University’s Gallagher Center before the first game tipped-off, he let the crowd know exactly what the night was for, “Tonight is about fighting cancer,” he said. “Doing anything possible to beat cancer.”
This year The Mary Kline Classic raised $25,000 for The National Brain Tumor Society and for brain tumor research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the same hospital that treated his mother Mary. The Mary Kline Classic raised $21,000 last year and $7,300 at the inaugural event in 2011.
One of the many excited faces in the stands Sunday night was Dr. Christopher Farrell, a neurosurgeon at Thomas Jefferson who specializes in brain tumors.
“For me it’s a perfect event because it combines my two passions. My passion growing up was basketball. But now, like all the people in our neurosurgery department, we have dedicated our lives to treating patients and giving them hope by progressing the research”, said Farrell.
Many of the players participating in the event were doing so in order to show support for Kline. Other players, like senior Syracuse commit Ron Patterson and Jared Terrell from New Hampshire, play not only in support of Kline, but also because they have been personally affected by the disease. Patterson lost a friend to the disease and Terrell’s grandmother died of breast cancer.
Jared Nickens, a junior from Westtown, PA, played in the underclassmen game Sunday for a second straight year. Nickens says that participating in the Mary Kline Classic is special to him and even turned down the opportunity to play in another event in order to support Kline.
“It means a lot just to contribute to something that means so much to him,” said Nickens.
Kline did not say where he plans to hold the game moving forward said that the love the city of Philadelphia has for basketball makes it a great location for the game.
To learn more about the Mary Kline Classic you can visit the website, maryklineclassic.com.
Kayla Cook and Sean Smith are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.