“If you were a player in Michigan, you had to play at St. Cecilia,” said Earl “The Twirl” Cureton, a Detroit native who won two NBA championships with the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets in a professional career spanning from 1980 to 1997. But even after he’d made the NBA, Cureton returned each summer to St. Cecilia’s to play in the church gym’s pro-am league.
“It didn’t matter what you had done that season in the league,” he said. “You still had to prove yourself back at the Saint.”
The rise of St. Cecilia's basketball program began during the 1967 riots when the parochial school's athletic director, Samuel Washington, Sr., opened the gym so his children and their friends could be safe. Wachter writes about both the legendary players and games at St. Cecilia's, and the distinctively Catholic ethos that allowed basketball to flourish at "The Saint".