Betty Givens Gives Back

Betty Givens can’t help being around basketball. Her husband Kevin is West Chester University’s all-time leading scorer and the head coach of The Academy of New Church, where he also was its first African-American student in the 1970s. Their sons Samme and Shannon became hoops stars there in the mid 2000s. Samme is now a professional star on a team in Israel, while Shannon has been making a name for himself as a basketball trainer in the area. Betty has been her family’s cheerleader  for all of these years. She’s been the woman making t-shirts for the players at ANC. She’s the one volunteering at the concession stands. It’s her giving players from all high schools encouraging pats on the back. Over the past two decades, everyone has known her in only these roles, that is, until now.

Mrs. Givens was a one-time track star at Wissahickon High School and last week decided to assume the role of coach. On May 7 and 8 she coached a team in the prestigious All-City Classic girls’ event dubbed “Queens of the Court” at Imhotep High School. It was her second year doing so. Her team consisted of budding stars Kiarah Henry, Bri Edwards, Jakyra Stamps, Bella Vasquez, Ariana McGeary and Ireland Smith, to name a few.

The event pitted four different squads of incoming 9th-, 10th-, and 11th-graders against each other, as well as a few current seniors. The Philly Triple Threat foundation presented a team which featured former little league baseball star Mo’ne Davis. Givens said, “We won our first game, but we lost to a team with Ashley Jones [a Neumann-Goretti star], and the team that won the championship. It was so much fun. It was good to see so many people come out and support girls’ basketball. There are some really good players who are truly learning the game and are looking to go to the next level.”

The games are the brainchild of Charles Monroe, who has been promoting all-star games in the city for over 20 years. Only recently has he started inviting potential college level females to play each other in organized all-star games at this time of the year.

“I’ve been involved in the All-City Classic since my middle son Samme played in the freshman game years ago, and he won the MVP,” Givens said. “Samme played his sophomore year and won the unselfish award his junior year. I had decided I was going to give back and worked the events for Charles over the next several years with all-city’s 8th-grade tournament, workout, 9th-, 10th-, and 11th-grade All-City Tournaments. I have always had a blast. I think it is a great event that gives youngsters opportunities.”

Givens recently returned from a visit to Israel to see her son, but also toured the historic sites and religious destinations. “I had a great time. It’s a wonderful place. My son really enjoys playing there.”

As for her coaching? “I am probably better in the concession stand, but I had a lot of fun. I know basketball too. I’ve seen a lot of games. I think we did a good job.”

Betty Givens Gives Back
Jeremy Treatman - Contributor

Jeremy Treatman is the founder and co-director of the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classics and Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over 50 NBA players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Rajon Rondo played in his events when they were in high school. Jeremy wrote high school sports for the INQUIRER for 10 years, and was the first TV reporter for the HIgh School Sports Show on Channel 29 from 1994-2001. He currently is Comcast's announcer for all high school games.


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