By Rich Bockmann
Robert Moses coached Darryl Adams for two years as a point guard in a youth basketball league, and he said the young man from Jamaica, who was shot and killed last week, was a good kid who was trying his best despite growing up in a rough area.
Adams, 18, was a junior at Thomas Edison Career Technical Education High School in Jamaica, where Moses also coached the school’s basketball team, the Edison Inventors.
“I’ve known him since he was a freshman at Edison,” he said. “He made the team, but he didn’t play varsity.”
Moses said Adams was enthusiastic about basketball, and he often forsook his academic work for the game.
“I spoke to him pretty much every day. I’d see him at school and we’d talk. He would come to varsity games and attend a couple of practices. A couple of times I had to tell him to go home and study,” he recalled.
Moses coached Adams on the New York Blackhawks, a nonprofit Amateur Athletic Union youth basketball team in Jamaica.
“We play every spring and summer. I’ve been running it for 10 years,” Moses said. “We deal with all types of kids from single-parent to both parents. He happens to be one of the kids from a rough area.”
Moses said Adams’s father was absent and he tried to fill that role for the young man.
“I treated him like he was a son of mine. His father wasn’t around and I tried to be that for him,” said Moses, 29.
The Blackhawks would win some big-name competition, like the Nike Swoosh and Hoop Group tournaments, and Moses said Adams was well-liked and respected by his fellow players.
“The kids loved him and he was a really good teammate. He was a real good kid who never had any problems,” he said of the young man.
Adams was making an effort to improve his grades and was even talking about college, according to his coach, who had planned to give him an Inventors jersey with his name and number — 1 — on it as a graduation present.
“I guess now I’ll have to give it to his mom,” he said.
Moses said the New York Blackhawks Academy was planning to organize a scholarship fund in Adams’s name.
“We want to use his tragedy and make something positive about it,” he said.
The academy has locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.