AlumNow: SOC basketball star returns home to give back to community

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After graduating in 1992 as a star basketball player from South Oak Cliff High School, Derrick Battie went on to play as a starter for all four of his years at Temple University — one of the top NCAA men’s basketball programs in the country.

Under the leadership of Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, Battie earned a trip to two NCAA Tournament Sweet 16s and one Elite 8 appearance. After spending some time playing basketball in the NBA and overseas, Battie is now giving back as a community liaison for his alma mater.

The Hub checked in with with Battie as part of its ongoing AlumNow series.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Mrs. Barbara Brown McCoy; she was a larger-than-life figure in addition to being a former USA Olympian and SOC alumni Class of ’77 who won a state title and who came back to coach. Mrs. McCoy didn’t allow us to settle for less then our best. She was a strong teacher who understood our issues beyond the classroom and made us want more for our families and our future by teaching us the importance of family and getting a great education. We stay in touch even today. Her son, Rodrick, was a member on the state team, too.

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?
Back in the ’90s, the best thing any student could do was go to college. I was blessed to attend a top Division 1 college on the east coast, where I learned to take care of myself, learned the culture and history of the northeast — places like Philly, New York, D.C, Boston and Atlanta. These experiences where eye-opening and taught me the importance of traveling outside of your community, using the world as a teaching resource. Then I moved to Europe to play in Rome for some years, then from state to state in the NBA.

What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?
I always encourage students to do a few things: First, be very humble and respectful to everyone you are blessed to meet. Be good servers of the community, give back as much as they can. Also, do everything in your power to pursue a great advanced degree and college education. “GET THAT DEGREE,” then return home like I did and give back to others who will be blessed by your experiences.

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