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swass
05-10-2007, 09:55 PM
http://www.brooklynusa.org/espn1.htm

ESPN the Magazine -2000.

Jamaal is a class act. Read the article....any surprises the trouble he has caused. The guy had trouble written all over him since 2000. I highlighted a nice section. The guy attracts trouble.

Any to think, we could have had Tony Parker...who was drafted right after the Tin man.



BREAKING AWAY
HE COULD HAVE BEEN A LEGEND - BUT IOWA STATE'S JAMAAL TINSLEY WANTED SOMETHING MORE
<TABLE width=619 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>http://www.brooklynusa.org/images/jammalb.jpg P.S. 305 The court is empty. There are no colorful markings on the blacktop, no signs dedicated to the legends-Starbury, Booger, SkiptomyLou-who balled here. "The Cage," as the locals call it, is easy to miss. It's just a lonely schoolyard across the street from a block of brownstones, a full court maybe 60 feet long in the heart of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section. Soon, school will let out and kids will flood the spot. Later, when night falls, and older crew will gather to play, drink beer and recast the neighborhood's oral history-the ballhandling tricks, the crossovers, the no-look passes. Undoubtedly, a verbal squab will ensue about some unforgettable move signed in fractured memories... </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Moves like the one former 305 resident Jamaal Tinsley pulled off against Shammond Williams at harlem's Rucker Park, bouncing the ball through William's legs with his left hand, bringing it back with his right and nailing a three as Williams fell out of bounds. Yet, for all the stories of broken ankles and coins snatched from the tops of backboards, tragedy remains the prerequisite for the inner-city immortality. Jamaal Tinsley isn't just the exception to the rule, but the rule itself, twisted and contorted into an undeniable truth of his own making.
While it's often possible to catch a street legend's act at Rucker on Brooklyn's Soul in the Hole, the story usually ends there, in the street. Just a few years ago, all indications were that Tinsley's story would end there too. By the time he was 19, he had bounced in and out of three high schools in two cities, been the target of gangland gunfire and spent a week in the Manhattan House of Detention, a.k.a. the Tombs. All told, Mel (as he's known to friends) attended less than two months of high school, never graduating. But he always kept the dream alive, ballin' late into the night at 305. And just when it appeared as if the street was his destiny, The Cage his symbolic prison, he found a way out.
http://www.brooklynusa.org/images/jamaal5.jpg Today, in the nation's heartland, he continues to feed the myth, append to the story line, cultivate the legend You can talk about The Helicopter, The Goat and Sweet Pea, but Mel-Mel the Abuser would prefer that when he is spoken of, it's not in the past tense. Although he has packed a considerable amount of living into his first 22 years, jamaal Tinsley's days are just beginning.
Five months after entering his first Division I season as an unknown point guard, the 6'3" Tinsley led Iowa State to within a game of the Final Four last March. In the hours leading up to the Cyclones' Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA, Mel roamed the Palace of Auburn Hills wearing a Brooklyn USA T-shirt, Brooklyn USA was his AAU team, the link from 305 to ISU, the only organized form of basketball he played before college. The T-shirt was Mel's way of keeping his three-year odyssey from street to stage in perspective. It was also a message to UCLA's Earl Watson and JaRon Rush, whose CMH 76ers squad had played Brooklyn USA several times. Mel wanted to remind them that they had never beaten him. And they weren't about to start now.http://www.brooklynusa.org/images/jamaal4.jpg
Tinsley's performance against the red-hot Bruins was perhaps his finest of the season-14 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds in 35 minutes. But it was his ability to get into the lane against man or zone that caused the most damage in the Cyclones' 80-56 win. "He was as quick as any guard we faced all year," says UCLA coach, Steve Lavin. "He broke people down off the dribble and got to the point at will, and he brought a mental toughness, a supreme confidence in his ability." In short, playing the Bruins brought out the Brooklyn in Mel.
Tinsley's journey from one of Brooklyn's toughest hoods to the Elite Eight is as remarkable as any of his sugar-foot drives to the hole. His father died from the flu when Mel was 9 )his parents were divorced), and when his stepfather died later that year, Mel's mother, Leatrice Smith, was left to raise eight kids on her husband's pension. Cramped in a small two-story apartment, Tinsley began spending more time away from home and less in school. "Once I got to be 12, 13, I just did my own thing," he says. "I stayed with my friends. I'd check in with my mom to see how she was doing, come home and wash up."
One friend could see Mel had been frustrated living in such close quarters with so many people and so little to survive on. "If you go to school around here, everybody wants to have the best stuff," Toon says. "Mel couldn't really do that with a lot of kids in the house. He couldn't just get what he wanted, the newest sneakers, whatever."
Mel dropped out of his first high school, Prospect Heights, after just a couple of weeks, so his mother sent him to live with her sister in Cleveland. There he made the mistake of getting involved with a girl who had ties to a gang-a gang that approached him to join its ranks. Mel said he wasn't interested; they pressed the issue. His aunt tried to intervene; they told her they weren't backing off. Next thing he knew, Tinsley was getting shot at one night. And that's when he decided to drop out again.
Back in New York five months later, Tinsley enrolled at Tilden High with the help of Brooklyn USA director Thomas "Ziggy" Sicignano. Ziggy, who helped place former UNLV Rebel Kevin Simmons and former UNC Tar Heel Ed Cota at Tilden, tried to sell coach Rock Eisenberg on the idea that time spent working with Tinsley would pay off big. But Eisenberg never had a chance. Mel dropped out about six weeks later. "It was my fault for not preparing myself to go to school," he says now. "I was just hanging out, letting the streets catch me."
For the next couple of years, basketball became Tinsley's only occupation. He'd been a fixture at 305 from the age of 6, trailing his older brother Lamont to The Cage, playing against the big kids until 11 or 12 at night. He'd also been a regular at the local 12-and-under tournaments that included Stephon Marbury, Rafer Alston, Allen Griffin and Jaquay Walls. But by the time he was 17, Tinsley was out of school completely-sleeping all day, staying out all night, playing in AAU tourneys across the country.
Ziggy remembers having to track down Mel and wake him up one afternoon so they could drive to Philadelphia for a tourney. Mel perked up in time to put up a triple-doulbe as Brooklyn USA beat a team featuring Al Harrington. In the summer of 1997, a Ziggy squad that included Griffin, Walls and Cota won the Nike Invitational in Las Vegas, with Tinsley taking MVP honors. It didn't hurt that the rules banned any kind of zone, making it easier to spread the floor and the good word of Mel. "Whenever we needed a hoop, we'd clear it out," Ziggy says. "You know, give it to Mel and get out of the way."
Any other player would have turned that trip into a college scholarship-that is, anyone who wasn't a high school dropout. As soon as Mel was back toDo-or-Die Bed-Stuy, he was back on the street.

<FONT face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"> &nbsp%3/P>
Tinsley spent the majority of his time hanging with about 30 other guys at The Cage. He didn't sling drugs like most of them, but it was becoming harder to resist the lure of fast money. "I was trying to live like the older guys," he says, "wanting what they got." The previous winter, he had been arrested for pickpocketing and sent to the Tombs. His mother was shocked. Dropping out of school was one thing, but this? This wasn't her Jamaal. Hoping to prove a point, Smith refused to post bail, leaving her son behind bars for nearly a week. "It was real hard," she says, but I knew I was doing the right thing". (The charges were eventually dropped.)
http://www.brooklynusa.org/images/jamaal1.jpg Mel downlplays the impact his stint in jail had on him. But as he continued to ball in street tourneys, playing with and against the likes of Booger Smith, a slicker-than-slick 5'8" point guard who could slip a pass through rush-hour traffic on Flatbush Avenue. Kicked out of Brooklyn's Westinghouse High in 1993 for throwing dice, he had achieved cultlike status on the playgrounds in and around New York City. Each time he had a chance to play college ball, though, he ended up back in the hood playing for cash. Mel could have easily followed his footsteps, making $150 to $200 a game. But Booger was quickly becoming an old-timer. And at age 19, Mel was starting to feel like one too.
PS 305 court is where the dream starts, where the love is fostered. So it only stands to reason that this was the place where, one day in late August '97, Tinsley would spot Ziggy and reach out. Friends of Mel had been bugging the coach to help Tinsley escape the hood and restart his b-ball career at a prep school. Ziggy's response was always the same. "I can't do anything for Mel. He's got to want it." Sure enough, when Tinsley approached him at the Cage, Sicignano balked, "Yeah, I can help you," Ziggy said. "But I'm not going to."
http://www.brooklynusa.org/images/jamaal2.jpg There was a pause, of course, but then the coach couldn't stand the silence. He had too much love for the kid-and the kid sounded serious. Forget prep school, Ziggy told Mel. It would take three years at that level before he could even think of college. Ziggy had another idea. He knew that the junior college system in California requires no high school diploma or GED for entry. So he called up a friend, UNLV coach Bill Bayno, who directed him to John Chambers, the head man at Mt. San Jacinto College, 50 miles west of Palm Springs.
Ziggy called Chambers, a 30-year mainstay of the juco ranks. Basketball wasn't the issue, he explained; Tinsley had NBA talent. What he lacked was experience. Mel didn't know to run hard in practice. He had never been to an organized practice. "You got to kick him in the rear end," Ziggy said. "You got to wake him up in the morning. He's not going to show up when the rooster crows. We don't have roosters in Bed-Stuy." Chambers listened. He'd heard from friends who had witnessed Tinsley' show in Vegas. Get him out here, Chambers told Sicignano. I'll take him sight unseen.
Ziggy booked Mel on a round-trip flight and kept the return ticked The neighborhood chipped in with phone cards and clothes. Nearly 20 of Mel's siblings and cousins were there for the big send-off when Ziggy arrived at the Smith home to take Tinsley to the airport. On crutches because of a sprained ankle, and with tears in his eyes, Tinsley said goodbye to his mom. She remembers thinking how scared he looked, that he wouldn't be in California for long. Ziggy sensed otherwise. Sell Mel's bed, he told her. Your son's not coming back.
This was Mel's shot, a chance few street legends get. You can't have any foolish pride, any Brooklyn pride, Ziggy warned Tinsley. These people on the other side of the country were going to help him. If he had a question in class, he had to ask. This wasn't a game. As Mel remembers: "It was like going into the army or something, packing my bags not knowing what to expect or how they would treat me. And when I went there, it was just like love-like I was back home."
Tinsley began the second half of his life in the Southern California desert. He spent his time at San Jac hanging out with Chambers' family and running through dozens of phone cards. He didn't return home that first year, not even for the holidays. "It was a struggle," Chambers says. "Where some guys had to study an hour, Mel had to study three."
The adjustment on the court was equally difficult. Tinsley had a smooth handle and great vision, but his game was pure New York. Jut listen to Ziggy tell it: "You want to know what makes a New York City guard? A New York City guard dribbles down and sees two sever-footers standing under the basket. The guard is open from 10 feet, but the guard says to himself, 'Why should I shoot an open 10-foot jumper when I can try and dunk on the two seven-footers?' That's what makes New York City guards."
On the street, everything is to the basket. But in his first year out West, Tinsley learned that freelancing had a time and a place. Eventually, the New York City guard flourished. The Eagles went 62-13 in his two seasons, and Mel shared state Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. "A lot of people question his background and what kind of kid he is," Chambers says. "All he's done is win. And he's shown tremendous progress in the classroom."
Oh yea, the classroom. When Tinsley began entertaining D1 offers, schoolwork was one of his biggest considerations. His playmaking ability had attracted a handful of programs. UNLV wanted him, as did TCU. But Mel took just one visit, to Iowa State, where Cyclones coach Larry Eustachy was scouring the juco ranks for a point guard. Eustachy's approach impressed the maturing Tinsley. "I told them I needed a lot of help with school," Jamaal says. "They told me they'd give me all the help they could-that school was first. I'd never thought about it like that."
The population of Ames, Iowa, tops out around 50,000, more than half of which is the ISU community. The Cyclones' football stadium and basketball arena rise like ancient ruins amid miles and miles of endless horizon. During pregame intros, Iowa State fans clap for each opposing starter, and there's a public address announcement discouraging the use of profanity. With its landlocked acres of tilled land, the place couldn't be any farther from the Brooklyn playgrounds. Then again, like any Iowa farmer worth his seed, Tinsley knows how to transform a piece of level earth into something greater.
In time, Tinsley transformed the Clones, too. Eustachy's system emphasizes defense and rebounding. But on 0, he gives his players a lot of freedom-and it took a while for Tinsley and his teammates to jell last year. At first, Mel would see a play developing so fast that he'd snap a pass off an unsuspecting teammate's dome. Or he'd turn into Curly Neal, throwing the rock through an opponent's legs with his left hand, bringing it back with his right-just like he did to poor Shammad Williams at Rucker Park. Eustachy didn't mind the ball tricks as long as they resulted in baskets. But turnovers meant the Cyclones would run. And run. After a round of suicides during preseason conditioning, an out-of-breath Tinsley muttered in Eustachy's direction: "I didn't sign a f--ing track scholarship." The coach pretended not to hear. He was testing his new point man. "We had an over-under with him," Eustachy says. "But you could tell from the beginning he was going to hang in there."
Sure enough, all that running paid off once conference play began. With his Wilt-size mitts, Tinsley was delivering the pill where his teammates could score more efficiently than ever before. All-America Marcus Fizner had let the Big 12 in scoring as s sophomore, but when he did it again as s junior with Mel running the show, his field goal accuracy jumped from 45% to 58%. Forward Stevie Johnson's numbers jumped even more, from 48% as a junior to 66% as s senior. Out of nowhere, Iowa State shot to the top of the conference, winning both the regular-season and tourney titles before finally falling to Michigan State in the Elite eight.
Tinsley, the Big 12 Newcomer of the year, made progress off the court, too, finishing with a 2.13 GPA as a sociology major. Still, he surprised a lot of people by sticking around and passing a potential first-round contract. "I just knew I could get better," he says. Part of getting better means improving his line-drive frozen-rope jumper and figuring out who can finish his great feeds now that Fizer, Johnson and Michael Nurse are gone.
But count on Mel fulfilling the dream. He knows where he's been and what this one opportunity has given him. "He has real base despite coming up in a real difficult situation," Eustachy says. "My hat is off to him more than any other player I've had."
Back home in Bed-Stuy, there is a sense of anticipation. One of their own is about to go big-time. Friends imagine Tinsley playing at Madison Square Garden, being interviewed by Ahmad Rashad, moving his mom and little brother Mitchell-an eight-grader known as Baby Mel-out of Brooklyn. For now, the Abuser can wait. Last summer Tinsley stayed away from New York and 305 for all but two weeks. "I'm trying not to go back," he says. "Not yet. I'm going to go back when I'm right, when everything is taken care of, when my business is straight, when I've accomplished everything I've set out to do."
This isn't Brooklyn pride talking. This is what his AAU coach had in mind when he dropped him at the airport three years ago. "It took a lot of people to get Mel where he is," Ziggy says. "Most importantly, it took Mel."

Shade
05-10-2007, 10:06 PM
You highlighted:


Mel dropped out of his first high school, Prospect Heights, after just a couple of weeks, so his mother sent him to live with her sister in Cleveland. There he made the mistake of getting involved with a girl who had ties to a gang-a gang that approached him to join its ranks.

But you left out the rest:


Mel said he wasn't interested; they pressed the issue. His aunt tried to intervene; they told her they weren't backing off. Next thing he knew, Tinsley was getting shot at one night. And that's when he decided to drop out again.

This is a bit interesting:


Eustachy's system emphasizes defense and rebounding. But on 0, he gives his players a lot of freedom-and it took a while for Tinsley and his teammates to jell last year. At first, Mel would see a play developing so fast that he'd snap a pass off an unsuspecting teammate's dome. Or he'd turn into Curly Neal, throwing the rock through an opponent's legs with his left hand, bringing it back with his right-just like he did to poor Shammad Williams at Rucker Park. Eustachy didn't mind the ball tricks as long as they resulted in baskets. But turnovers meant the Cyclones would run. And run. After a round of suicides during preseason conditioning, an out-of-breath Tinsley muttered in Eustachy's direction: "I didn't sign a f--ing track scholarship." The coach pretended not to hear. He was testing his new point man. "We had an over-under with him," Eustachy says. "But you could tell from the beginning he was going to hang in there."

Sure enough, all that running paid off once conference play began. With his Wilt-size mitts, Tinsley was delivering the pill where his teammates could score more efficiently than ever before. All-America Marcus Fizner had let the Big 12 in scoring as s sophomore, but when he did it again as s junior with Mel running the show, his field goal accuracy jumped from 45% to 58%. Forward Stevie Johnson's numbers jumped even more, from 48% as a junior to 66% as s senior. Out of nowhere, Iowa State shot to the top of the conference, winning both the regular-season and tourney titles before finally falling to Michigan State in the Elite eight.

BlueNGold
05-10-2007, 10:26 PM
I saw this article what seems like years ago. I don't think it paints that bad of a picture of Tinsley, but it does explain where he is coming from and why he plays the way he does.

He really is all about playground basketball. That's really the heart of the matter. His game translates well to the running game at Rucker Park, but not if you plan to run half court sets in the NBA. There are many reasons for this including his below average shooting ability and poor defense. If you play a slow game, you need to be able to defend AND shoot accurately from the perimeter.

Oh, and another small point is that the running game does not win championships. That's why teams like Detroit, Miami and the Spurs win while Phoenix and Dallas do not get it done. A more controlled game with a post game or great defense is how you win it. That simply does not match Mel's resume'.

It's time to move Tinsley and cut the losses.

Arcadian
05-10-2007, 10:33 PM
It's still a great article. I have a lot of respect for the guy coming out of the situation he did--that takes a lot of dedication.

Anthem
05-11-2007, 12:18 AM
Yeah, that's not an article that makes me want to give up on Jamaal.

It's his recent play that's done that.

Moses
05-11-2007, 01:25 AM
Great article.

It just makes me sad that Tinsley is so talented..but he isn't taking his game to the next level that we all know he can. I remember hearing Reggie commentate on some Pacers games where all he talked about was how Tinsley was so talented and that it was all up to him about how good he could really be. I think Reggie even stated he had talks with Tinsley about living up to his true potential. Needless to say, Tinsley has been disappointing thus far in his career for a player so talented.

With all that said, I think Tinsley will be around next year and JO will be gone. I think Tinsley, in his current playing state, could still be a productive PG in an offense that just asks him to distribute the ball all the time. He isn't the best shooter, but he is a fantastic distributor. Playing in an up tempo offense for a new coach could work wonders for him..or it could prove that he is an unmotivated and lazy player. Only time will tell. I, for one, really hope he does well under the next coaching regime..because talent wise, he really could be one of the best guards in this league.

Trader Joe
05-11-2007, 02:04 AM
I like how your intention by posting this article was to make Tinsley look like an unmotivated thug. However it actually paints him as one of the few who actually took the initiative to get out and make something of himself. Bravo for not proving your point at all. And bravo to Tins for making it this far. I have respect for him as a player and really as a person after reading this. I don't think he can remain on the Pacers, but I hope wherever he lands he can reinvigorate his career.

Jermaniac
05-11-2007, 02:07 AM
Brooklyn Bed Stuy >>>

So since Tins is from there >>>

Naptown_Seth
05-11-2007, 08:15 AM
Yeah, that's not an article that makes me want to give up on Jamaal.

It's his recent play that's done that.
I agree. Also good comment/quotes from Shade as well.

Tins has me worried, but nothing in that article has anything to do with that. He's always been an aggressive, playground type that is dynamic but also turnover prone due to risky play.

pacers31tc
05-11-2007, 11:15 AM
I still like the dude, and this is one of the reasons why actually. He's not half the trouble Jack or Ron was, and I'd rather keep Tins around.

ChicagoJ
05-11-2007, 11:37 AM
I keep saying, this *is* a guy that worked on a garbage truck. He knows he's making millions to play a game, and a game that he has an incredible eye for. I think he's been effectively neutered by his coach, and he needs to play for a coach that recognizes what he can do an minimizes his weaknesses.

SJax needed a coach like Nellie that could take his negative attributes (numerous stupid plays) and minimize them (by playing at such a frantic pace that a few blown possessions don't matter as much) so that his postive attributes had some value. Under Rick's system, SJax was an unmitigated disaster.

You can pretty much replace SJax with Tinsley in the above paragraph, but with one advantage toward Tinsley - we don't see Tinsley on the court or sidelines openly feuding with his teammates and coaches. Maybe he's doing it behind the scenes, but even if that's true he at least gets credit for keeping that out of the public eye.

ChicagoJ
05-11-2007, 11:55 AM
Re-reading this article, and comparing to the similar article about SJax where we talked about red #1 Pacers jerseys (pinstripes) and the fact that SJax kept a red bandana in his locker to represent the Bloods.

And here is Tinsley, a guy that by all accounts tried to stay out of the gangs.

One of these things is not like the other.

Trader Joe
05-11-2007, 01:18 PM
Re-reading this article, and comparing to the similar article about SJax where we talked about red #1 Pacers jerseys (pinstripes) and the fact that SJax kept a red bandana in his locker to represent the Bloods.

And here is Tinsley, a guy that by all accounts tried to stay out of the gangs.

One of these things is not like the other.

Fantastic point. I had forgotten all about Jack's relationship (or whatever you wish to call it) with the Bloods.

ABADays
05-11-2007, 02:28 PM
A Class Act? Wow - I didn't realize class had fallen off so much.

NuffSaid
05-11-2007, 04:18 PM
Old article, same debate: "Is he (Jamaal Tinsley) a product of his environment (the streets), a success story or an outright thug?"

It's a given that you can't always take people from tough living situations and turn them in to polished individuals. That said, I'm sure some of the "streets" will always be a part of who Jamaal Tinsley is. Case and point, I'm about as clean-cut a black man there is amongst my circle of friends, but under the worst of circumstances...let's just say the "ethnicity" comes out...from time-to-time. :laugh:

My point is, this 7 yr old article provides a good glimps into the world of Jamaal Tinsley as he was growing up. But, it doesn't depict who the man Jamaal Tinsley is today. Sure, we get glimpses of his street ball mentality slipping through every once in a while when he's on the court, and it's clearly that street balla attitude coupled w/his involvement w/the 2 night clubs that have really painted him in a bad light, but there's really very little we know of Jamaal off the court. Nonetheless, one can only hope he regrets his involvement in both night club incidents and that he moves on to become smarter about how he conducts himself off the court in the future. Meanwhile, let this article become fish wrapping. It's old news.

NuffSaid
05-11-2007, 04:55 PM
I keep saying, this *is* a guy (Jamaal) that worked on a garbage truck. He knows he's making millions to play a game, and a game that he has an incredible eye for. I think he's been effectively neutered by his coach, and he needs to play for a coach that recognizes what he can do an minimizes his weaknesses.

SJax needed a coach like Nellie that could take his negative attributes (numerous stupid plays) and minimize them (by playing at such a frantic pace that a few blown possessions don't matter as much) so that his postive attributes had some value. Under Rick's system, SJax was an unmitigated disaster.

You can pretty much replace SJax with Tinsley in the above paragraph, but with one advantage toward Tinsley - we don't see Tinsley on the court or sidelines openly feuding with his teammates and coaches. Maybe he's doing it behind the scenes, but even if that's true he at least gets credit for keeping that out of the public eye.
I've been waiting for someone to point these things! Could you go over to the IndyStar/Pacers forum and post that highlighted paragraph there for KobeTheKing to read? I'm sure his level of appreciation for SJax will be uplifted soon after reading it. :rolleyes:

Right player, right system (usually) = SUCCESS!

The system starts w/the coach. For 1 year, RC's system worked here in Indy, but to be fair I think it could have worked out better throught the years had none of the drama w/the team occurred. Regardless, if the system isn't designed to take full advantage of a player's strengths (I'm speaking collectively and singularly), it's really not a system worth implementing. Hence, the reason we've seen SJax thrive in GS under Nellie while Al has struggled.

OnlyPacersLeft
05-11-2007, 05:12 PM
Still like this guy....amazing player. All around nice person...
we all have our bumps in life...