Maxwell “Bingo” Cole waited a long time to get his Bingo’s All-Stars into the Pro City Tournament. It was worth the wait for the experience of winning New York City’s premier summerball league in the team’s first season there.
“Winning my first championship at Pro City is big,” the coach said. “This is something I have been waiting years to get an invite to. I finally got it and we finally came through to win the championship for the first year in it.”
For the South Bronx native Cole, who is known as the “Godfather” of streetball, the wait made the 113-105 victory over Big Apple Basketball at Baruch College on Aug. 13 even more special.
“As far as streetball, this is at the top of my list,” he said.
For Cole and his team, thing started out well as they grabbed a 22-point lead early in the second quarter, but they saw Big Apple Basketball rally to take the lead for a short period in the third before the Bingo’s All-Stars were able to grab the advantage for good and secure the championship.
“We started out strong,” Cole said. “Then we came back. I got professionals. I told them this is a long game. We can be up 20 and it doesn’t mean anything. You got to stay with it. [Dominique] Jones hit big shots for me.”
Keydren “ Kee Kee” Clark, who had 20 points and 12 assists, took home the Pro City MVP award for Bingo’s All-Stars. Jones added 21 points and Corey “Homicide” Williams chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds. Bronx native Jarrid Famous paced Big Apple Basketball with 26 points and six rebounds and former Bishop Ford standout Chaz Williams had 24 points.
For Clark winning his first Pro City title with Bingo’s-All Stars is as good as it gets.
“There is no greater feeling,” Clark said. “We won a lot of championships, but to win this tournament with Bingo in our first appearance with my brothers, it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s a great way to end the summer.”
Clark along with Anthony Glover started playing with Cole when they were 12-13 years old at Riverside Church and they helped make the title special for the their longtime coach.
“These guys help me build Bingo’s All-Stars and without them I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Cole said.
Bingo’s All-Stars became the second team in three years to win Pro City in its first season. Sean Bell All-Stars, who Bingo beat in the semifinals, won in 2013.
Cole was getting ready to retire, but couldn’t pass up an invite to compete for a title that ranks a top of his long list of championships. Even after achieving his goal retirement isn’t on Cole’s mind as he wants to come back to repeat next season.
“No I am not retiring,” Cole said. “I am here. I was going to retire, with no Pro City. But now I am here for a few years,” Cole said. “We have to two peat.”