One of my favorite quotes by Michael Jordan reads: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen”.
Growing up I was a big New York Knicks fan. As a Knicks fan in the 90’s the team you probably hated the most was the Chicago Bulls and of course the legendary, greatest of all time Michael Jordan. Those Bulls teams broke so many hearts during that decade. I bring this up because I hated Michael Jordan so much as a Knicks fan but loved the guy as a competitor, hard worker, and a person that lead by example. Whenever Michael put his mind to something, he got it done. It was amazing watching this man as a kid. Even though I hated the Bulls I wanted to be like Mike. I read a book when I was in 8th grade on Jordan’s life and it really changed my perspective and my road to being successful in life and on the basketball court.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it to would happen, others make it happen”, was a quote by Michael that stuck in my mind every time I walked into a basketball gym, park, or classroom. Some people get lucky with great resources, excellent athletic and educational abilities, but how do those who are less fortunate “make it happen”. I can say I was less fortunate, so I tell you from my experience that Michael is 100% percent correct. Whatever I choose to do in life I had to “make it happen”. I came across a lot of players and professionals that dream, and wished about making it happen but the ones that go into every situation in life with the idea of working hard, staying focus, believing in role models, and never giving up are the ones that usually get it done.
I tell this story because as a successful high school and college student athlete I believe anyone can be successful if they put in the time and work. Working on your game every day and night is the key to one day becoming an All-State Basketball player. I believe playing in games and working on your game should be at equilibrium (50/50). I remember those 3 hours of playing and working on my game after school then studying my homework for another 3 hours every day to stay at the top of my class. I remember as a sophomore going to one of John Celestand’s (All-State Basketball Co-Founder) high school games. John being one of the best players in the state, I saw this as an opportunity to watch his moves, attitude, and decision making on the court and had to go home and work on those moves religiously because I wanted to be that good. I wanted it to happen, I wished it to happen, but put in the hard work every day to make sure it happen.
At All-State Basketball we are looking to push and teach your child the principles of discipline, dedication, and sportsmanship it takes to “make it happen”.
All-State Basketball Co-Founder
The quest to become All-State Basketball players is what brought Mr. Mars Mellish and I, John Celestand, together way back in the mid 1990’s. Through our quest we became friends and later business partners, but it all started with a little competition that ignited our competitive spirit and has kept us united until today.
It all started back in 1994. The first time I ever saw Mars Mellish was when he sitting by the scorer’s table getting ready to check into the basketball game. He was a skinny freshman who by the look of him, I thought we’d be able to dominate during the game. Mars played for St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick, NJ. They were the #1 seed in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament that year while going undefeated. I played for the Piscataway Chiefs. We we’re the #2 seed in the tournament and the underdogs after only losing one game the entire year. The game was played at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Although we won the game that day by only a few points, I remember Mars, the young freshman, checking into the game and making a few nice moves to the basket. He also had a very nice jumper for a kid his age. A junior at the time, I scored 22 points leading my team to victory. I even went on to make Associated Press NJ First Team All-State that year. We won the Group IV State Championship, but in the back of my mind, I knew we would hear more out of St. Peter’s High School and the freshman Mars Mellish.
Fast forward a year later and the rematch was set again in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, this time in the semifinals at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The arena was packed and we, Piscataway High, were the #1 seed, with St. Peter’s being the #4 seed. I remember jumping out to a 19-0 lead early in the game vs. St. Peter’s. I had never witnessed a scoring burst like it. We were on fire! But St. Peter’s stormed back, with the sophomore Mars Mellish being the catalyst. He scored 29 pts that night. We couldn’t stop him even with a senior dominated team. Although we won the game by four points, I will never forget his performance that night. I knew one day he’d become an All-State Basketball Player.
I tell this story to explain that there were many All-State caliber basketball players from the Central Jersey area back in the day in addition to Mars and myself. But now, you simply don’t see it as much any more, if at all. With the talent mostly in North and South Jersey, Central Jersey has almost been forgotten. For Mars and myself, this Central jersey area is a sense of pride, our stomping grounds where we made names for ourselves. We want to help train the next crop of All-State Basketball players out of Central Jersey, and it starts with the young kids at the bottom. We know what it takes to get to that level and we’d like to transfer that knowledge to the youth.
We have lots of clinics coming up this fall. We’d like to help improve the talent in this area and bring it back to the glory days. We hope to see you there.
1994 Group IV State Champion, 2000 NBA Champion, 1994-95 First Team All-State