The gym inside James M. Bennett High School in Salisbury was flooded with an array of athletic talent before a charity basketball game. Amidst the players that were former all-stars in the Bayside Conference and guys that starred on ESPN and AND 1 street tours, one athlete that never played high school basketball stood out among the rest.
That was Berlin native and Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate, who returned home to the Eastern Shore for the weekend to host the charity game as part of the Ben Tate Experience to help fund his foundation.
“It’s all about helping out kids,” Tate said. “I’m just trying to help out the area, and all the money helps me put on the camps and helps me get the AND 1 guys in here; it’s something I want to bring to the shore every year.”
The day of giving back for Tate included a free football camp for ages 9-18 at Fruitland Falcons Sports Complex that featured Tate, coaches and other pros teaching local youth players some of the basics and fundamentals of football.
Following the football camp was the charity basketball game and the day was capped off with an after party for adults at Brew River Restaurant and Bar in Salisbury. All proceeds from the game went straight towards Tate’s foundation.
“It feels good to be able to come back here and put on a youth camp to help these young kids out,” Tate said. “The basketball game was really competitive and real exciting too.”
The basketball game included stars like Patrick “Pat Da Roc” Robinson and Randy “White Chocolate” Gill on the Streetball Legends team, while the opposing Hometown Greats included former Eastern Shore high school stars like Craig Winder, Eddie Miller, Andre Foreman and Ty Newman. Tate came off the bench to play for the Hometown Greats as well.
Miller, a graduate of Pocomoke high school who played his college ball at Fresno State, helped lead the Hometown Greats to a 134-126 comeback victory after scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter that included a trio of three-pointers. Newman played big as well in the fourth quarter, and capped off a fourth quarter run with an alley-oop to himself off the glass.
Also in the building to emcee the game was “Big Pat” Doughty, the voice of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. As a native of Pocomoke and former announcer for University of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s athletics, he was happy to help give back to the community as well.
“Anytime I have time I’m trying to get back here and do whatever I can to help out,” Big Pat said. “It’s always fun; anything for the community.”
For Tate, he has about another month before heading to Browns training camp on July 25. Tate signed a two-year, $6.2 million deal with the Browns this off-season and as the highest paid running back on the roster, he looks to be in position to start and is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“I’m looking forward to playing for their fans,” Tate said. “It’s been a transition but I’m getting used to it and I think we’re going to surprise some teams this year.”