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T. Roosevelt cancels girls' hoops season

Theodore Roosevelt announced this morning that it has canceled its girls’ basketball season, citing a lack of interest among players.

The team entered the season in a tough situation. Tyrone Pittman resigned in September after eight seasons as coach. Former assistant Wayne Benson, who doesn’t work in the school, took over without much time to plan for the season or recruit players. Rough Riders Athletic Director Daryl Tilghman said the team started the season with nine players, but after a 61-38 season-opening loss to McKinley on Dec. 1, many of those players became disillusioned.

“It was kind of one of those deals where no one really recruited anyone to play,” Tilghman said. “We were stuck with what we had, and we played one game and it showed it was going to be tough. A lot of the girls felt embarrassed [by that loss], and, for one reason or another, they started dropping off.”

It is a stunning fall for a program that won D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championships in 2004 and ’05, and captured the school’s first City Title in 2004. The Rough Riders went 120-15 from 2002-03 to 2007-08, and advanced to six straight DCIAA finals. Now, less than two years later, they have no team.

It also speaks to the importance of recruiting in D.C. Public Schools, which is openly discussed and, in fact, encouraged by administrators. I did a story about this provision two years ago, and found that there are compelling reasons both in favor and against recruiting throughout the city.

The problem in Roosevelt’s situation, however, seems to be that the program pinned all of its hopes this season on recruiting in a pretty short time frame. It doesn’t appear there was any long-term planning involved, and when practice started in November, it was too late to find a quick fix.

“You really have to [recruit] in order to survive,” Tilghman said.

DCIAA rules allow students at schools that do not sponsor teams to play that sport at another school. Tilghman said he hopes any of his school’s players that want to play basketball can do so for another DCIAA program.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  January 4, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  DCIAA , Girls' basketball , Theodore Roosevelt  
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