From the Hardwood Courts of Eastern Commerce to the Trial of his Life

Morningside. On this street, there are enough ball tales to chronicle a book. Stories from The Hill document the reality of being a professional baller — one that requires a pro to bounce from contract to contract, team to team, and country to country.

Denham Brown was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics. Liam McMorrow almost made it. But nobody from West Hill nor Malvern has ever played a regular season game in The League. A few have come close and many continue to ball overseas, hoop dreaming of playing on an N.B.A. hardwood.

Further north of West Hill Collegiate, a mother was tragically gunned down in a drive-by shooting near Morningside and Old Finch over three years ago — April 12th, 2014 to be exact.

The alleged driver was Eastern Commerce standout and ex-captain, Alwayne Bigby. In a rare occurrence, he received bail on a first-degree murder charge, and his trial is currently under way. If Eastern Commerce is our Lincoln High, Alwayne Bigby is the Canadian Jesus Shuttlesworth who never made it outta Coney Island. All the guidance provided by the Jake Shuttlesworths in his life — from Roy Rana to his coaches at Northeastern and U.R.I. — couldn’t save him from making a terrible decision.

Courtesy of Marianne Boucher

He’s presumed innocent until proven guilty, but regardless of the trial judge’s decision, his life and ball career is forever tarnished. Every woulda, coulda, shoulda been is left scratching their heads. He had a bright future of going pro, and on top of that, he was pursuing his master’s.

What could possibly lure him into having Pee Wee Kirkland dreams? Or was he simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person? Was this a one-off incident? Or is this symptomatic of other ex-college players in this city? Do basketball scholarships fail to take the Malvern (or insert any other hood here) out of other hoopers?

Follow my thoughts here as the trial continues tomorrow.