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Tigers Sports

"A Special Night for a Special Young Man"

Posted Friday, April 11, 2008 by By: Linden Basketball Staff
"A Special Night for a Special Young Man"

By: Linden Basketball Staff

During is four years at Linden High School, Desmond Wade has accomplished many great things. Recently he accomplished a feat that no other athlete has ever accomplished in the entire history of the school. On April 1, 2008 at the Linden Winter Awards Ceremony honoring all the winter sports athletes; with the blessing of Joseph Martino the Linden Superintendant of Schools and Steve Yesinko the Athletic Director; Phil Colicchio retired Desmond Wade's # 11 Jersey.

The ceremony was held in the auditorium of Linden High School. In attendance were many family members and friends of the athletes that were to be presented awards that night for participating in winter sports. In what is now an annual ritual, prior to presenting his players with their awards, Coach Colicchio asked all the athletes to stand and thank all the family members that attended. He then called up his three assistant coaches, the team manager and all the varsity players to join him on the stage. Each player stepped forward to salute the crowd as Colicchio announced his name.

The next 15 minutes of Colicchio's emotional speech were dedicated to Wade. Colicchio talked in length about many of Wade's accomplishments during his 4 years at Linden both on and off the court. He talked about the relationship that first developed when Desmond was a member of Colicchio's basketball camps when he was in second grade. Also mentioned were the conversations Desmond's father, Jeffrey (Cas) Wade had with Colicchio when Desmond was a youngster. Cas predicted "You're going to win a couple of State Championships with my son."

Towards the end of the speech, Colicchio invited Desmond's parents, Cas and Barbara Gullette, to come on stage and informed the audience "No one will ever wear # 11 jersey again in Linden High School." A thundering ovation came from the crowd as Desmond was presented with the four # 11 jerseys that he has worn during his career. "At first I was shocked!" Wade exclaimed afterwards, "The more I thought about it, the more shocked I was. I mean, I'm the first! ..... Ever! That's unbelievable!"

Colicchio also announced to the audience that Desmond would continue his academic and basketball career at the University of Houston on a full scholarship. He later said, "This was a very special night for a very special young man."

Desmond Wade's List of Accomplishments

  • 2008 1st Team All-State
  • 2008 1st Team All-Area
  • 2008 Union County Player of the Year
  • 2008 Watchung Conference Player of the Year
  • 4 Year Starter
  • The record of the Varsity teams during his 4-year career was 104-20. He is the all-time winningest player in Linden Boys Basketball history
  • Won the Watchung Conference all four years. The record of the Varsity teams in Watchung Conference games during his 4 year career was 47-5
  • Led the 2007 Team to the Union County Tournament Championship over St. Patrick; which was ranked #1 in the USA Today National rankings at the time
  • Went to 4 straight Group 4 section 2 Championships
  • Led the 2006 and 2007 Teams to Back-to-Back Group 4 State Championships for the 1st time in school history
  • Honored by the Watchung Conference with the Desmond Wade Achievement Award. The award will be given annually to the Watchung Conference player that exemplifies a 'Winner' and best represents his/her school on and off the court
  • 2005 team Defeated St Anthony, ranked #2 in the USA Today national rankings at the time, for the 1st time in school history
  • Scored over 1500 career points
  • Had over 850 career assists
  • A member of the North-South all-star game for many of the best seniors in New Jersey
  • A member of the Michael Jordan Classic, to be played at Madison Square Garden, for many of the best seniors in the Tri-State area.

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