Josh Level collapsed during a basketball game in Winston-Salem, NC over five years ago and died of a viral infection called myocarditis. The loss of Level hit the basketball community hard, especially in his hometown of, Greensboro, NC.
One year after his unfortunate passing, his best friend Kanayo Obi-Rapu organized the first Josh Level Classic in 2014. While at the time it was a senior project for the current East Tennessee State combo guard, the event has turned into one of the best on the high school basketball calendar.
Players like former UNC standout and national champion Theo Pinson, Sacramento Kings forward Harry Giles III, Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo have all played in the game.
This year was no different as many of the top high school talents in the country got together at Dudley High School on Saturday night.
Dudley is one of the four high schools Level attended.
Coby White scored 41 points to lead Team B Daht past Team Drankins, 128-121 (both “head coaches” work at 102 JAMZ, Greensboro’s hip-hop radio station and in the case of B Daht, he’s been on a couple of seasons of the MTV hit show Wild n’ Out).
White, a standout at Greenfield School (Wilson, NC) is the all-time leading scorer in the history of North Carolina high school basketball and took home game MVP honors for his monster performance.
Most of those 41 came from behind the three-point line, something the team he signed with, UNC, will need to be successful in the 2019 season.
Other players that stood out included Duke commit Joey Baker from Trinity Christian (Fayetteville, NC).
Baker was originally in the class of 2019 before re-classifying to the Class of 2018 so that he can attend Duke for the upcoming season.
Clemson commit John Newman from Greensboro Day (Greensboro, NC) made big plays in the fourth quarter to lead team B Daht back from an early double-digit deficit.
Despite it being an all-star game where there usually isn’t much defense played, the players represented their high schools and colleges well and competed at a very high level.
There were personal one-on-one battles throughout the game and incredible athleticism was on display. When the game got close at the end, there was a lot more intensity shown from the players. The game was entertaining from start to finish once again.
However, the basketball game really didn’t matter at the end of the day. On Saturday, these future college basketball stars played for a great cause and honored a well-respected young man. That’s really what the event was all about when it was all said and done.
All of the proceeds from the game went to the SmileForJosh Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps to raise awareness about cardiac health risks in high school athletes.
Just like the basketball game, the aforementioned Obi-Rapu started this foundation in the memory of his best friend. He’s also had a ton of help in organizing this event from former high school basketball standouts in North Carolina.
The group of people that continue to make this event possible deserve a ton of credit for making it as big as its become. The event has become so big that many players that request to play in the Josh Level Classic had to be turned down because the rosters were already set.
Overall, the event was a success and hopefully, it expands into something even greater than it already is. The local community and people all over North Carolina continue to remember Josh Level to this day.
Wherever he went to high school (Dudley, New Garden Friends, Westchester Country Day, Christ School) he brought joy and left an impact on a lot of people, including myself. He continues to live on in the hearts of many, including his wonderful family.