A Tribute to Old Friends
A special nod to the small group of friends I was very fortunate to grow up with and around in our DeVenzio basketball entourage. We spent many summers traveling together putting on basketball camps that Dick directed. I got to live, work, train with, compete against, and learn from... this a dedicated group of athletes. They were and are great guys and I will always be appreciative of the opportunity I had, and the impact it had on me.
Parade Magazine's top high school player in the nation (1967), signed with Duke over UNC and UCLA (Dean Smith and John Wooden). Became an Academic All American, set school records. Played and coached professionally overseas. He then founded and directed camps for 30+ years in US including: The Dick DeVenzio Basketball Camp, Prep Stars Invitational Camp, Point Guard College. He became a nationally known author, innovative camp director, and passionate teacher. When Dick passed away in 2001 at age 52, his vacancy was felt far and wide... like his impact and legacy. He made a difference.
Dave set records at his high school in Springdale, PA, then played at Kent State. He then spent 30+ years working side by side with his brother Dick running camps across the US. Dick knew very well how unique and valuable Dave was to their work together and they made a great team. After Dick's passing, Dave ran his own National Point Guard Camp for over 10 years with excellent success. He's a master camp director and adds great basketball insights and fun to anything he is a part of. Over the years, he has gained a quite a national following of now middle aged has-beens who will never forget Dave's impact on their lives.
Randy is from Curacao, NA in the Carribean. Dick was coaching there soon after college and they met while Randy was a police officer but an outstanding athlete. Dick told the UNC coaching staff about Randy and he was offered a scholarship. Randy played 4 years at UNC, played professional in Europe (picture below) then was a part of Dean Smith's staff 10 years. He was a Head Coach at UNC Asheville, Middle Tennessee, and for European professional teams.
Coach DV (Dick & Dave's dad) was a high school coaching legend. He won state championships in Pennsylvania and NC. He won over 600 games in his 40 year career and never once had a losing season. He was a growly perfectionist on the court and pushed his players extremely hard to play good, hard, simple basketball. His players often resented his unrelenting push for excellence, but would later call him one of the most positive infuences in their lives. Off the court he was warm, friendly and fun to be around. He hung around our camps many weeks each summer and was a delight to us all... playing tennis, enjoying camp, talking at meals. He was a treasure. He passed away in 2006 at age 85.
Richard grew up in Durham, NC and had an oustanding high school career. He attended Duke to play soccer, and then walked on the basketball team. His quickness and tenacity earned him respect and a scholarship. As a senior he became team captain for Coach K. After college Richard got a law degree from UGA, and in his successful law career argued and won a case in the Supreme Court. He has returned to his love for the game running Smart Hoops.
At Ravenscroft High School in Raleigh, NC was an All State in football as a Quarterback and an All State basketball player. State Champion in basketball. Ravenscroft Hall of Fame. Played basketball at Campbell University. Currently owns a PA practice in Greenville, NC .
Dudley was a teammate of Randy's at UNC and became known as the Secretary of Defense throughout the ACC. He spent his summers traveling and working out with us. He was a great guy to be around and added tenacity to all of our evening pickup games. Dudley was taken in the first round of the '79 draft and played 9 years in the NBA.
The picture on the right is known as 'The Steal', look it up if you're not familiar with it ... or ask any old State fan : ).
A grainy picture of Randy playing professionally in Europe after his UNC days.
Dick & Randy in Curacao ~1974
Vernon was a high school state champion as a player at Providence Day in Charlotte. He then played at Presbyterian College in SC. He and his family were close to the DeVenzios. Vernon later directed the Charlotte Royals AAU organization for a number of years. His wife Barbara has been a longtime high school head coach and has won multiple state championships. Vernon was another tremendous person to be around and compete against.
At an early girls camp (Im pretty sure we wouldn't have done this for a bunch of guys)
bottom row L-R: Jimmy Cox, Dave DeVenzio, Dick DeVenzio, Bill Winfrey
Jimmy began coaching with Dick while a student at UNC. He later became the head coach at Ravenscroft in Raleigh and won a varsity boys state championship. Eventually he settled in coaching the middle school program there. Because of his success and longtime impact there at Ravenscroft, one of the courts were named in his honor.
Dick, David Folds, and Jimmy Cox at an early camp held at Meredith College in Raleigh.
George Karl and Dick, both from Pittsburgh, became friends in high school, then competed as rivals in college. George was a counselor at Dick's early camps and was a strong influence. I remember his great enthusiasm in getting us 12 and 13 year olds diving on the floor for loose balls and taking hard hitting charges. He would jump and shout at those hustle plays and that had a big influence on how we learned the game. What a uniquely fortunate environment we were a part of.
Al Wood (left), Randy Wiel (middle), and Phil Ford (right). Al was a regular at our evening counselor games. Phil would come do presentations.