Orig PosAt thetelegraph.com | Re=Post Sports World 11/05/2015
EDWARDSVILLE — The importance of making good choices is the message that former Los Angeles Laker player Adrian Branch brought to a group of students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center on Oct. 27.
“In your life, you are not born a winner or a loser,” said the 6-foot, 7-inch former guard/forward. “You are born a chooser. Your choices determine who you become.”
Branch, now a college basketball analyst for ESPN, came to the Center after learning that his engagement to speak at an East St. Louis school had been thwarted due to School District 189’s strike. He spoke with approximately 35 young people, including ninth and tenth grade males from the East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) and Upward Bound East St. Louis, Cahokia (EC) male and female students.
Branch stood in the middle of the assembled group and discussed academic excellence, integrity, peer excellence, respectful relationships and achieving dreams.
He recounted for the students his high school days of developing into a star basketball player.
“I played for the winningest coach in the history of high school – Morgan Wooten at DeMatha Catholic High School in (Hyattsville) Maryland – and I got the big head,” Branch said. “I was concentrating on ‘showboating’ and looking good.”
Wooten threw Branch off the team. He was only allowed back after the players voted for him to return, and he apologized. But Branch said he did not learn his lesson.