Literacy in ‘Merica…Still an Issue.

Let’s look back a bit. Kevin Ross, John Corcoran, Tom McMillen.

Stumbled across this saved article from ESPN, dated 2002. Speaks to illiteracy in the US and uses the examples of Kevin Ross, Tom McMillan, and John Corcoran.

The John Corcoran Foundations estimates the 93 million people in the USA are semi-literate to illiterate. Their reading-writing skills are well below average, while many today still cannot read or write-in 2021. John himself didn’t learn to read until he was 48 years old.

CORCORAN – Well, you know, we’ve institutionalized illiteracy. This is nothing new. This has just been perpetuated for 50 years. We’ve been socially promoting kids for a long time. We did not know what to do with little boys and little girls like John Corcoran who had difficulty learning how to read, write, and spell.

LEY – Well Tom, you brought up the issue of academic integrity. I’m going to bring in a piece of tape with Jon Ericson of the reform minded Drake Group; what he calls the big lie having to do with college athletics.

JON ERICSON, DRAKE GROUP – It is that you can take an under-prepared student not — does not have the skills to do academic work in higher education, then, take that student, give him a job 30 hours a week where he will be tired when he does come to class — he’s also excused for maybe seven — maybe eight or nine classes and expect him to acquire anything close to what we would call a university education.

MCMILLEN – It has to do with — you know, it’s the lure of money. It’s the lure of commercialism. I mean, the athletic tail is clearly wagging the academic dog in our — for many of our institutions of higher learning in this country and this is a very flawed system. I think it needs some real serious looking at because it’s going deeper and deeper into our elementary schools and though our high schools now and serious consequences to American education.

MCMILLEN – Well, it’s all about, you know, who should get into our colleges. And when I was in congress, we passed the “student’s right to know bill” which was once disclosed graduation rates and we fully were aware that schools were going to try to circumvent those statistics. I mean, statistics can be manipulated, so, you know, raising/lowering the standards — you know, at the end of the game, should an individual go to our institutions of higher learning? Are they equipped to do it? Are they of similar caliber of other students?

Those are the questions and the NCAA is really unable at this point in time to self-reform itself because the money is so large. They’re going to do whatever they can to preserve this commercial monster, which is producing billions and billions of dollars. That’s the bottom line. 

ROSS – Which is why his other job at his old junior high is so important to him. Kevin Ross is also a substitute teacher. He hopes to save enough money to return to college and get his degree. For now, his 96 credit hours for Creighton fulfill the substitute-teaching requirement in Kansas.

ROSS – OK, one more …

SALTERS – When you’re in the classroom, how much of Marva Collins is in the classroom as well?

ROSS – She taught me everything that I know.

SALTERS – And you’re passing that on?

ROSS – That’s it, I’m passing it on.

Illiteracy is still a problem in the United States, even today in 2021.

If you need help or for more info see your local remedial education department of your public school system. Perhaps you can help educate adults in need.

Contact the John Corcoran Foundation at:

John Corcoran Foundation, which since 1997 has provided one-on-one literacy tutoring for young children, disadvantaged youth, second-language learners, and children with disabilities including autism, dyslexia, speech impediments and hearing impairments.

The foundation offers online web-conference tutoring, and supplies each online learner with a free computer, broadband internet access and literacy software. It also has 2 tutoring centers in California and Colorado.

In the past 16 years, the organization has tutored more than 4,000 students, trained more than 250 tutors and provided 2,000 free computers.

Contact the Drake Group at:

The mission of the Drake Group is to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports. 

Tom McMillan is a retired NBA player, Congressman, businessman.

Kevin Ross is a retired primary school teacher.

John Corcoran is a retired teacher and founder of the John Corcoran Foundation.


Those that Have…the Silver Platter guys

and then there’s the restivus.

Silver Platter edition

Some folks got it like that. Everything is easy. Acclaim, fame, fortune, the best of life. Sure, they say they had to work for it, but they’ve been in the spotlight forever. Folks clamoring and fawning over them since they were eight. Folks pampering them with the best of everything, tripping over themselves to provide whatever his highness wanted or needed.

Then there is the restivus. the two Alexanders- Shai-G & Nickiel, Jahenns Manigat, Tre-Vaughn Minot, Eugene Omoruyi, Khem Birch, Luguentz Dort, Marcus Carr, Charles Bediako, and of course, Ryan Nembhard. Guys who were considered “less than”. These are the folks who had to really work hard to earn their keep, to show their worth. No bigwig/fatcat “gave” them anything…these guys are STILL workin’ hard to get respect and earn their Dinar.

Most all of these Canadian hoopsters have made the pros, many in the NBA itself. The last 3 are in or entering college. The restivus crew are hardhat wearers, worker bees who have to earn it with toil, sweat, and major effort. You know the type, working 40-60 hr/week to “geter done”, to “make it”, to earn that daily bread. They have to be twice as good, just in order to be accepted. They don’t catch any breaks, get no benefit of the doubt, and always got somebody in their face barking orders.

Work to do…

Ryan Nembhard is a restivus hardhat guy. He’s always been one of the smallest guys on the court. He’s had to live in the shadow of a silver spoon brother. Regardless of the venue, he’s had to prove he belonged. Ryan has had to outwork, outthink, outhustle, and outplay bigger folks his whole life. He had to prove to coaches, again & again, that he was worthy of a spot on the team, that he could hoop with the older guys, that he belonged. Again & again, at every step along the way, Ryan has worked and performed well beyond his years. He has wowed coaches at each level with his basketball IQ, savvy, coachability, quick learning, will-to-win, and the heart of a Polar Bear. He has fought and won at every level in basketball thus far.

I’m here to tell ya: “the Best is yet to come” for young Ryan Nembhard. As the heir apparent PG at Creighton University basketball, the door is open for Ryan to shine as the conductor/orchestrator of the CU pro-style offense. He should pick up to system quickly and begin to fine-tune it for the current cast of players on the Hilltop. Ryan is adept at getting the best out of his teammates, whether at Monteverde Academy or with Team Canada, and has shown that he is an excellent on-the-floor coach/manager. His recent play with the U19 Canadian Team has shown us that Ryan can distill play and get to down to business in short order, as the team only had 2-3 weeks of practice prior to going to Latvia for the FIBA World Cup Tourney. He was a General on the court for Canada, and averaged 30 mpg over the 7 game run in Latvia.

I expect him to win the PG job with excellence in workouts over the summer and in practices in the fall. Coach McDermott is well known for favoring players with experience in the system and those that have built up a level of trust with coach. It would be wise for the coaching staff to side with talent over “trust” at this juncture, as the majority (7) of the team are new. Of the 5 returnees, only 3 have on-the-court experience, as 2 frosh (Rati & Modestas) sustained injuries and medically redshirted last season. Shereef Mitchell (Jr) has 2 years experience, while Sr Alex O’Connell and So Ryan Kalkbrenner each have 1 year of Creighton experience. Nembhard is a force of nature, a master strategist & tactician, and he will not be denied. Some will say it is unfair to put such pressure on a freshman player. Five of our 7 new players are freshmen & 2 are Sr transfers. Somebody has to play…they can’t ALL ride the pine, as we only have 3 seniors with 1 year of CU experience total. With whatever different configurations the coaching staff will come up with, having Nembhard as the floor general will give the Jays their best opportunity to win.

Most folks in the Creighton Camp will knock this sentiment, mainly because I am the one espousing it. Most of the “realistic pragmatists” of the 10-10 / 12-8 Crowd (previously the 9-9/10-8 club) will preach for having the most experienced crew on the floor for most of the game. The realists will settle for having a dropoff from last season and will settle for a mediocre season, even while fielding a slightly more experienced, less talented team. However, with the overwhelming lack of experienced players in the Jays system, the coaching staff has little choice in playing the more talented kids for the majority of the time.

Will there be varying lineups and configurations? Yes, of course. As the eternal optimist, my point is that playing the best talent will give the Jays their best opportunities for wins. Winning is what counts, not popularity votes by the fanbase. With a more talented, while less experienced team, it is plausible to think the Jays can equal last seasons’ 22-9 talley. Heck, they may do better than last season. With Nembhard orchestrating the show it will be great fun to watch this team grow and develop this season. Let’s leave the popularity “beauty contests” to the national pundits, as that’s what they do best.

I’ve got my hardhat and brought my lunch pail…let’s git to it! Roll damn Jays!


Let it Fly