Not to take anything away from South Carolina’s win over the Iowa Caitlins in the NCAA women’s championship game, but Sunday, April 7 was a pretty good day for Leo High School basketball as well.

In Phoenix, Fred Cleveland Jr. ’19 started for Team Rick Mahorn in the HBCU All-Star Game and scored 20 points in a 108-97 loss to Team Ben Wallace. Fred’s total included six three-pointers. We heartily concur with TV commentator Avery Johnson’s suggestion that “Fred’s in range when he gets off the bus.”

Fred was one of the most decorated basketball players in Leo history over his two varsity seasons including All-Area, All-City, two-time All-Catholic League for a Lions team that reached the Class 2-A Supersectional. A 5-foot-9 senior guard at North Carolina Central, he continued to distinguish himself as a collegian, winning the Sam Jones Award as HBCU Player of the Year after leading the Central Eagles in scoring (15.3 points per game), minutes (33 per game) and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in assists (5.3 per game).

Fred, a first-team HBCU All-American, was named winner of the Sam Jones Award as HBCU Division I Player of the Year. The Sam Jones Award is named for the late Boston Celtics great who was a five-time NBA All-Star and a 10-time NBA champion, second only to teammate Bill Russell, who won 11 titles. Sam Jones also played at North Carolina Central.

Central was 9-5 in the conference, good for second place, and 18-13 overall. The season ended with an upset loss to Norfolk State in the MEAC tournament.

Fred was a true student-athlete at Leo, graduating as the salutatorian for the Class of 2019. Younger brother Cameron, completing his sophomore year at Morehouse College, was valedictorian for the Class of ’22. The Leo family salutes the Cleveland family as they continue to make us proud.