Do you know a Middle School basketball player who excels on the court and in the classroom? The New York Knicks are looking for students, ages 11-14, who exemplify the heroic characteristics of the late great Dave DeBusschere – a hardworking, caring, loyal, fun loving leader! Two winners will be given 4 tickets each and honored at center court of Madison Square Garden when the Knicks host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, April 30, 2022. In addition, the New York Knicks will provide an Equipment Donation to each winner’s school or community athletic center, and each winner will be granted a $500 dollar athletic shopping experience.
Background on Dave DeBusschere:
Dave DeBusschere starred at the University of Detroit before enjoying a 12-year career in the NBA. He began his career in his hometown of Detroit and played for 7 seasons before being traded to the Knicks in December 1968, simply known as "The Trade," as the final piece of the franchise's first championship team. He helped lead New York to the playoffs in each of his six seasons, including NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973. He was named to five NBA All-Star teams (1970-1974) and one All-NBA Second Team (1969). He retired as a Knick in 1974 before returning to the organization as executive vice president and director of basketball operations in 1982 where he presided for four seasons. He received the highest player-honor on Mar. 24, 1981, when his No. 22 jersey was retired to the rafters of The World's Most Famous Arena. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.
NAYELI RIVERA AND VAUGHN MEIER
The Knicks recognized Nayeli Rivera and Vaughn Meier as the 2022 Dave DeBusschere Award recipients.
Nayeli is the leading scorer on her middle school basketball team in Elmont New York. She holds a 4.0 average and is a part of the social justice club at her school.
Vaughn is the team captain of his AAU basketball team, holds a 3.5 GPA and participates in multiple community service efforts including food and clothing drives for the homeless and building playgrounds with a local non profit.
DAKOTA DANIELLO AND GARETH FOWLER
The Knicks recognized Dakota Daniello of The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York and Gareth Fowler of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Teaneck, New Jersey, as the 2019 Dave DeBusschere Award recipients.
Dakota embodies the values of the DeBusschere award by playing on multiple school and travel sports teams and also dedicates her time to volunteering at community outreach programs after-school. Gareth is highly regarded in his community on and off the court. He plays on three basketball team and volunteers with the homeless.
SASCHA BOTERO AND KYLE JEFFERSON
Sascha, a well-rounded student athlete and leader, is a member of Renaissance Charter School Lady Knights, Riverside Hawks and MHC Green Wave basketball teams. As captain of her school’s team for three consecutive years, she’s helped lead the team to two championships in the last two years, and three consecutive playoff berths. Sascha is an active member of Renaissance’s Student Council and a member of the Peace Patrol. She maintains an A average in school and helps organize an annual flea market that funds and supports local causes.
Kyle is the epitome of a scholar athlete. He is a member of the Robert Frost Middle School and St. Cyril’s Methodius Church basketball teams, plays in two football leagues and is a member of his town’s lacrosse team, while still maintaining an A average in school. He was recognized as February’s “Student of the Month” and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Kyle also serves as a volunteer for several community activities including, Dream and Leads Travel with Dignity, Kids Adopt a Shelter, Islip Public Library, Ascension Lutheran Church, Deer Park Community Association Annual Fall Festival, and Wyandanch Plaza Association’s National Chocolate Day Festival.
PAIGE MARTIN AND TY BLITSTEIN
The Knicks recognized Paige Martin of Farragut Middle School in Hastings, New York and Ty Blitstein of Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro, New Jersey, as the 2016 Dave DeBusschere Award recipients. Both student-athletes have excelled in the classroom, on the basketball court and are involved in their community. Paige and Ty also embody the same heroic characteristics of the late, great Knicks Legend, Dave DeBusschere. This season, in celebration of their tremendous efforts at such a young age, the Knicks awarded the two students with a shopping spree at the NBA Store with Knicks Legend, Larry Johnson. They were then recognized on-court at the Knicks vs. Cavaliers game on Saturday, March 26th. During the on-court presentation, Peter and Dennis DeBusschere, sons of Dave DeBusschere, presented Paige and Ty with a personalized trophy, and a $2,000 donation to each of their basketball programs! Paige is very active in sports and currently plays on three AAU basketball teams, as well as one soccer team and one softball team. In addition to the amount of time she spends on athletics, she also maintains excellent marks in school and volunteers with members of her CYO Basketball team to make sandwiches and breakfast casseroles for the homeless. Paige's personal motto is to never quit and this has helped her stay focused on what's important.
Ty is a dedicated, straight A student-athlete, who is enrolled in several honors courses. In addition to being the recipient of multiple Student Awards this year, Ty is a committed member of the CJ Hawks basketball team. He takes his community involvement seriously and has helped with the New York City Hemophilia Chapter's annual charity walk for years. He also enjoys being on his school's peer-to-peer leadership program, where he educates younger students on drug and alcohol awareness.
SHANTASIA JEFFREY AND BABACAR TALL
The New York Knickerbockers recognized Shantasia Jeffrey of Curtis HS on Staten Island and Babacar Tall of Democracy Prep Charter HS in Harlem, as the 2015 Dave DeBusschere Award recipients. Both students excelled in the classroom, on the basketball court and in the community, and have exemplified the same heroic characteristics that the late Knicks Legend Dave DeBusschere carried throughout his life. They were presented the award by Petere DeBusschere, oldest son of the late Dave DeBusschere at the Knicks vs. Milwaukee game on April 10th, 2015.
Shantasia is a well-rounded student athlete who has strong leadership skills, a great work ethic, and a fearless approach to success. Shantasia was the recipient of the Curtis High School Sportsmanship Award as a member of the schools' girls' basketball and softball teams. She spends her summers mentoring and teaching younger kids the fundamentals of basketball and aspires to go to college and study Criminology, with hopes of becoming a police officer.
Babacar epitomizes what it means to be a scholar, athlete and leader amongst his peers. Aside from excelling tremendously on the court and in the classroom, Babacar works at a local elementary school mentoring young men who are being bullied and struggle with their academics. He helps enhance their confidence and assists them with their studies. In addition, he spearheaded a tutoring program at Hugo Newman College Preparatory School. This fall, Babacar will be attending Wheaton College in Norton, MA, as a Posse Foundation scholarship recipient, to further his education.