Some of the most highly recruited high school basketball players in the country came together at Philadelphia University Sunday night for the third annual Mary Kline Classic All-Star Memorial Event.
The event is the brainchild of 19-year-old basketball recruiting analyst Alex Kline. The Syracuse University freshman, who has garnered national attention from college coaches and fans alike for his knowledgeable insight in the world of college recruiting, conceived the Mary Kline Classic in 2010 as a way to raise money for cancer research.
The Mary Kline Classic consists of an underclassmen game, which features top sophomore and junior players, a three point and slam-dunk contest and a senior game that rounds out the night’s festivities.
The event is named after his mother, Mary Kline, who lost her battle with brain cancer when Alex was just 10 years old. When Kline addressed the crowd at Philadelphia University’s Gallagher Center Sunday night, before the first game tipped-off, he let fans in attendance know exactly what the night was for.
“Tonight is about fighting cancer,” he said. “Doing anything possible to beat cancer.”
This year’s installment of the Mary Kline Classic raised $25,000 for The National Brain Tumor Society and for brain tumor research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the same hospital that treated his mother Mary. The Mary Kline Classic raised $21,000 last year and $7,300 at the inaugural event in 2011.
One of the many excited faces in the stands Sunday night was Dr. Christopher Farrell, a neurosurgeon at Thomas Jefferson who specializes in brain tumors.
“For me it’s a perfect event because it combines my two passions. My passion growing up was basketball. But now, like all the people in our neurosurgery department, we have dedicated our lives to treating patients and giving them hope by progressing the research.”
Many of the players participating in the event were doing so in order to show support for Kline.
Jared Nickens, a junior from Westtown, PA, played in the underclassmen game Sunday for a second straight year. Nickens says that participating in the Mary Kline Classic is special to him and even turned down the opportunity to play in another event in order to support Kline.
“It means a lot just to contribute to something that means so much to him.”
Other players like senior Syracuse commit Ron Patterson play not only in support of Kline, but also because they have personally been affected in some way by cancer.
“It means a lot to play in this game because my best friend died two summers ago because of cancer.”
Jared Terrell, a highly touted junior guard from New Hampshire, also played in the event this year for Kline as well as someone close to him.
“I’m playing in honor of my grandmother who had breast cancer. I think it’s a great event to support.”
This is the first year that the Mary Kline Classic has been held in Philadelphia. In the past it was held in Kline’s native New Jersey. However, Kline says he moved the event to Philadelphia University this year in part to accommodate the growing crowds due to its rising popularity.
Kline did not say where he plans to hold the game moving forward. However, he did say that the love the city of Philadelphia has for basketball makes it a great location for the game.
To learn more about the Mary Kline Classic you can visit maryklineclassic.com, where you can also make a donation in support of cancer research.