Persin to coach in NIKE high school all-star classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

OAK HILL — One of the greatest sports arenas in the world will host one of the best high school basketball shows, and coach Norm Persin will not be at courtside.

He’ll be on the court sidelines.

Persin, the former Chesapeake coach who returned to Oak Hill High School this past year, has been named an assistant coach for the Royal Team in the Michael Jordan NIKE high school all-star basketball game to be played in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

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The Royal team will include O.J. Mayo and Patrick Patterson of Huntington (W.Va.) High School.

Although it’s an elite all-star game, the talent doesn’t awe Persin who has worked the NIKE summer basketball camp for more than a decade.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around those type of kids in camp during the summer,” Persin said.

“The difference is the camp brings in the top 120 players and now you’re going to have 10 or 11 on one team and 10 or 11 on the other team. It’s a totally different atmosphere. Most of these players are two steps away from the NBA.”

Steve Smith of Oak Hill Academy will coach the Royal team. Persin and Willie West of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles will be the assistant coaches.

“It’s got to be special. You never dream you’d coach in Madison Square Garden,” Persin said.

“This is one of the elite games. There’s the McDonald’s All-American game and this one. Anything to do with Jordan is going to be special.”

Having worked several summer basketball camps at Division I colleges as well as the NIKE camp, Persin is asked often why he spends so much of his summer doing this type of volunteer work.

“When people ask why do I do this all summer, my comment to them now is it’s paid off. I’ve kind of been rewarded,” Persin said.

“It’s kind of like a payback. I’ve worked the NIKE camp for at least 10 years.”

Persin reports next Wednesday and will be involved in several activites during the four-day period. One of the activities is an outdoor scrimmage at Rucker Park in Harlem.

The game will be televised at

9 p.m. April 21 on ESPN2.