Pearson to speak at Boy of the Year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

This year’s Boy of the Year nominees will receive special sound advice on the transition from high school to college.

Alabama Assistant Basketball Coach Philip Pearson will be the guest speaker at tonight’s banquet.

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Although the majority of the young men will not play college basketball, Pearson will likely provide information all seniors leaving high school can use.

“I think he’ll probably speak to them about family, volunteerism and the need to be good students,” said John Solomon, chief operating officer of the Selma-Dallas County YMCA.

“Athletics is not the most important thing. These young men must volunteer, attend church and be academically sound. They’re about to leave home and go off to school.”

Solomon met Pearson through his work as a basketball official and the two have maintained a relationship that has spanned about eight years.

Solomon thought to ask Pearson to speak at the event because he grew up in Montgomery, and a local native might reach the young men more effectively.

Pearson graduated from Jeff Davis High School where he lettered in basketball, baseball and football. He played five seasons of basketball for Alabama under coach Wimp Sanderson and played with several NBA players, including Robert Horry, Antonio McDyess and Latrell Sprewell.

Pearson was the first assistant coach Mark Gottfried hired when he arrived at Alabama in 1998.

Solomon admitted he has a vested interest in the success of the nominees because he knows most of them through his work or seeing them around town. Ultimately, successful young people could add to the success of Selma.

“Even if I didn’t know all of them personally, I want to see all young people succeed,” Solomon said.

“And if they succeed, then our community succeeds. Some of them want to go elsewhere after college, and that’s to be expected. But I want some of them to come back to Selma to begin their professional careers because that’s good for us.”