Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree was never on the same Villanova rosters as Reggie Redding and James Bell. Bell and Redding never suited up together either.
Like many other players in Jay Wright’s tenure at the school, the group still has plenty of ties to each other and the program.
“Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat,” Cosby-Roundtree said. “Jay Wright did a great job emphasizing family and always being together. Wherever you go, there’s always going to be a Villanovan. That’s what Villanova University prides itself on is keeping that community together.”
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree eyes the basket. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
The multiple generations of Wildcats teamed together on Thursday night on the first night of the Danny Rumph Classic at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena. (For a roundup of the first night's games click here)
Redding, a former tournament champion and MVP as a player who retired from his professional career in October, coached the group, while Bell, Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels starred for Kyle Sample’s CTC team in a win over PF Workouts.
“That’s fun, man,” Redding said. “And I think that speaks a lot to how ‘Nova is as a program. You see a dude who graduated from ‘Nova 15 years ago and a dude who graduated this year and everybody shows love. It’s always good to see them. It’s fun. Now that I’m coaching instead of kicking they a— all the time it’s even better.”
Redding helped the Wildcats to a Final Four in 2009 before graduating in 2010. Bell arrived at the program the season after Redding wrapped up his career and three seasons before Cosby-Roundtree and Samuels got to campus.
This past season, 13 years after Redding’s Final Four trip, Cosby-Roundtree and Samuels helped the Wildcats on the second Final Four run of their tenures to cap their careers.
Cosby-Roundtree said he became familiar with the older Wildcats during on-campus runs in the summer when they returned to prepare for their professional careers.
“I always admired their game,” he said. “Those were two really tough, really good players. I came to admire them once I got on campus, and it’s a cool experience playing with them now and being coached by one.”
Samuels, who recently played with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Summer League, was Thursday’s game MVP with 14 points and nine boards, doing a lot of the dirty work for his team just like he did for the Wildcats.
Bell was the closer for the group late, finishing with 13 points, and Cosby-Roundtree added another 10 points, showing some bounce with a couple of two-handed slams in the contest. Redding even got his name into the statbook with a technical foul.
A close friend of Redding, Bell previously played at the Rumph Classic twice and back in town for the Wildcats’ Summer Jam was happy to take the court for and with some of the program's other products.
“It’s pretty cool, it’s always pretty cool,” Bell said. “Reggie’s one of my best friends. ‘Maine and Da are my younger guys. We’re so close as an organization. We’re around each other all the time as it is. It’s good to play out there.”
James Bell gets tangled on a loose ball. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
Redding, a standout at St. Joe’s Prep before his college career at Villanova, was a former champion and MVP as a player at the Rumph Classic. He is trying to make history as the first person to win MVP and championships as both player and a coach.
After ending his professional overseas career, which included stops in Cyprus, Germany, Turkey and Serbia, Redding joined the Philadelphia Sixers as a Player Development Associate last season and will continue to work for the Sixers again this season, keeping him close to home.
“I didn’t have to leave and I get to work for a team I’m a fan of,” Redding said.
Bell’s previous eight seasons of professional basketball have taken him to Italy, France, Israel, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and most recently Poland.
He is set to head to Japan in the upcoming days, recently signing with the Yamagata Wyverns. A chance to suit up for Redding couldn’t be passed up, however.
“That’s my best friend, I see him everyday,” Bell said. “It was cool to have him back on the floor with me. Since he’s been retired we really haven’t played that much.”
Cosby-Roundtree helped recruit Samuels as a last-minute addition to the squad. Like Bell, Samuels was at Villanova’s Summer Fest earlier this week with a plethora of other Wildcats’ current and former players, including Jalen Brunson who suited up with Darrun Hilliard later on Thursday night.
While Samuels pursues a pro career, Cosby-Roundtree is focused on a different career path. Currently in grad school for education and counseling, Cosby-Roundtree is set to be a teacher and assistant coach at Cristo Rey this upcoming school year where Sample is the athletics director and head boys basketball coach. He is also doing some training.
“I know I want to work at a school, but coaching may be in my future,” Cosby-Roundtree said. “I don’t know. … I’m just trying to figure it out.”
A veteran of the Rumph Classic and a Philadelphia native, Redding understands the importance of the event for the awareness it brings for the Rumph Foundation’s cause and attention it brings to the city’s basketball talent.
“The Rumph tournament it’s more about the whole thing and what it’s for,” Redding said. “You get people to come out in the city, you don’t get this a lot in the city. It’s nice to get people to come out and support this.”
He did admit it’s a nice way to showcase the Wildcats’ program as well.
“But ‘Nova dudes, we’re always going to be the best players in the city,” Redding said.