Wakefield’s boys basketball team wins Stuart Scott Courage Award after losing teammate Messiah Pitt to gun violence.
Hi everyone. I’m Susan scott and Stuart scott of ESPN was my baby brother. I’m here today to shout out every last one of the High School ot Honors nominees and a special out to the Stuart scott Courage Award nominees. You know, this is one of the most fun things that I get to do every year. And this year, as I have every year, I wonder what Stuart would say and I think this year, in light of all that we have all gone through together over the past 2.5 years, he would probably pull from his very famous sp speech to talk about that moment in time when like all of you, you’ve done so much that you are just worn, you are beat down and tired and you know what I think he’d say, rest, rest and lean on the people who love and encourage you so that you can refresh, rejuvenate and pursue your goals again in an inspiring fashion. So that is it. That is my simple message that in your network of friends and family, sometimes it is so smart to lean on them so that you can excel at whatever it is you are pursuing again on behalf of myself and of PBS North Carolina, congratulations to all of the nominees and to all of the winners and thanks for inviting me back to do this. It touches my heart. They will the late ESPN anchor Stuart scott spent part of his early career at WRLTV In Raleigh. Each year we recognize stories of courage in his honor. Throughout the past week we’ve shared these stories of each of the five finalists for this award. You can see all those stories on high school ot dot com. Here are the finalists for the Stuart scott courage award presented by PBS North Carolina. Justin Frazier is the head football coach at Union Academy in Monroe. North Carolina. He returned to the program this year after battling throat cancer. Quote, we didn’t win a game all year, but he was the glue that kept us together. He is a class act that everyone should aspire to be and I’m honored to say he is the head coach of my high school one nomination read. Raheem jones is a wrestler at North Pit High School who showed promise early in his career with two weeks left in the regular season. As a senior, he tore his bicep and doctors told him he would need surgery to repair it, but jones pushed it off. He decided to wrestle in the state tournament anyway, he cruised through the first two rounds, essentially wrestling with one arm in the state semifinals, he hurt his arm again. The match was stopped because of the amount of pain he was in, but he came back and won the match anyway, advancing to the state championship. That’s where he won the two a title at the 182 lb weight class. River Hawkins has completely changed the culture of soccer at East Gaston. According to a nomination. We received coach Hawkins privately battled cancer through the first half of 2021 but he was, but he was hosting tryouts just hours after his diagnosis, two days after having surgery, he was back on the field coaching quote. He was, he has been a true role model for these kids and his co workers All at the age of 22 1 nomination read. Sanchez Clark played football at South Side High School in Chaco unity, but his football career was cut short. On August seven of last year, Clark’s car ran out of gas and he was pushing it along the side of Highway 17. That’s when another car hit him. He broke his neck bones in his face, his pelvis and lost his left leg. He was on life support for nearly two weeks in the hospital for two months. But he made it and his determination lives on Wakefield High schools boys basketball team had high expectations this season. But last summer, one year ago tomorrow actually the Wolverines received tragic news. One of its standout players, messiah Pit was shot and killed at a graduation party and Garner, he was not the intended target, but just an innocent bystander. It should have been a senior at Wakefield this year, a season. The Wolverines dedicated to his memory. They wore MP Patches on their jerseys and painted his initials on the floor. Some players even have tattoos in his honor and if any of our courage award finalists or representatives for the finalists are here, we invite you up on stage with us right now. Yeah. Alright, so who do I have the pleasure of speaking with River Hawkins? Howkins? Nice to meet you brother. So real quick. What does the word of courage mean to you? To me it’s just uh it’s the ability to get out of bed knowing that you’re going through a hard time and still be there uh being a coach. It was to show up and make sure that my kids knew they had support regardless of what I was going through because they’re going through stuff too. So for me it was uh to be there for them and show that whatever you’re going through, it’s not impossible. You can you can still make make do and find find your way through it. I’m sure they appreciate that coach. So you back up here very soon. So I ask you the same question, What does courage mean to you? Well, in my case, I was a member of the Wakefield basketball team and say I was one of those guys you just can’t say enough about. I mean he just loved basketball, that’s all he wanted to do and the loss of him was tragic, but he honestly instilled encouraging all of us to keep playing and keep working harder because that’s what he would have done and I’m sure he appreciates that. Mhm. How about a round of applause for all of the finalists for the Stuart Stock Courage award sponsored by PBS North Carolina and this year’s winner of the Stuart scott courage award is the Wakefield Boys basketball team playing the season in memory of their teammate, yep. Yeah, Wakefield High school, the goals are hanging on the walls, everyone wants the championship, but I feel like this year we’ve got a really like we were hungry to get it All right user screen. Now the inspiration is painted on the court because we know his mindset, that gives us a bigger reason into why we need to go as hard as we can. Mp stands for messiah pit, he was a doll. He always played hard, always gave it his all Wakefield wears messiahs number and his initials proudly on their warm ups. He’s become their six men. He was supposed to be a starter, Breaking news and Garner this morning. Police say a teenager was killed in a shooting overnight. It was just after midnight on June 19th 2021 messiah was at a graduation party at this community pool and Garner. Police say gunfire broke out in the parking lot and messiah was an unintended target. He died in the hospital and the team found out that morning. I just had a whole bunch of emotions. I started breaking down Wakefield ended up playing a summer league tournament that day in messiah’s honor this season, they’re making sure his name isn’t forgotten. A couple other guys have gotten tattoos with initials or dates. There’s times you kind of look down at the bench and you expect to see him there. Um, we also put his jersey on the bench every game. The team’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. We just have like the birth announcement with his long feet up there. He was always like super long messiah’s mother, Latrice hasn’t reconciled the loss but finds peace and her sons impact. I really appreciate how the teams not just Wakefield, but other schools have honored him. I just feel like it speaks to his character a lot messiah was taken too soon. But in this gym, his memory can live on forever. I say like our team is a family. We were together every day that he was with us every day. So he’s always feel like he’s with us, pal, walter Wrl sports. Like eat Carson crier. Mhm. Mhm. So I understand this is uh, probably one of the toughest questions you’ll probably answer tonight or moving forward. But what’s one thing um, that I’m sure you and your teammates talked a good deal about. But what’s one thing that you all um, would want to tell your teammate right now. Um, after playing this season for him. I mean, honestly we miss you. Honestly. He was a great player. I mean ironically is the one thing we are missing this season. As far as basketball was, But we honestly just miss him. He’s a great guy. I can’t say enough good about him, man, and I’m sure he appreciates it. Congratulations.