News from CIAA tournament

Published 10:11 am Friday, March 9, 2012

Almeta Davis shared information from her trip to last week’s Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Charlotte, N.C.

The wife of Franklin Parks & Recreation Director Frank Davis, Almeta noted that the CIAA is the oldest African-American conference. It ranks third behind the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference in attendance.

This year’s theme was “Still in the Game.” The tournament was the tip-off to a yearlong celebration of the history-making 100-year-old conference.

During her time in Charlotte, Almeta spoke with two Franklin/Southampton transplants who have benefited from attending CIAA member schools.

“To my surprise and much delight I spotted Juan Winstead, a 2009 graduate of Franklin High, directing Chowan’s University’s Pep Band,” Almeta said.

Juan is a junior majoring in music education. He was asked by Band Director Michael Butrico to become Chowan’s first student director.

“It meant that he believed in me,” Juan told Almeta. “Things haven’t always come easy in my life. I have had to face some road blocks to get to where I am today. Those challenges are behind me now; they made me stronger than I ever thought possible, so this is just fun”.

“I have a lot of support at Chowan, and being a member of a CIAA school, being able to direct and play in Time Warner Arena for the tournament crowd just adds to the excitement of what’s to come,” Juan added.

He hopes to return to Franklin High School and become the band director before directing a college band.

Juan entered Chowan on an academic/tennis scholarship. He plays the mellophone, French horn and percussion.

Juan is the son of Tonia and Bernie Winstead of Franklin.

Almeta also spoke with De’Shon Jenkins, a 2010 graduate of Shaw University with a degree in recreation administration and a 2006 graduate of Southampton High School.

De’Shon was spotted running stats back and forth to the media room.

“I couldn’t wait to find out how he ended up with the much coveted job and a floor seat on press row sitting within an arm’s length of the ESPN reporters,” Almeta said.

De’Shon noted that this is not his regular job. He is an athletic assistant with Knightdale Parks and Recreation in Raleigh. He was at the tournament because he volunteers with Shaw University’s sports information office.

“I’m interested in getting into the field of sports information, so this was a win-win situation for both parties,” De’Shon said. “It’s the best way to build my resume from the ground up, plus I’m able to support my alma mater.”

De’Shon also spoke about the difference between attending the tournament during his undergraduate years as a fan and attending as a working man.

“There are two sides to this tournament,” he said. “If you come as a fan, it’s the most fun a lover of basketball can have; however, all that fun you are having has to be provided by someone and this year I got to see the other side.”

De’Shon noted the days are long. He arrives hours before the games start and leaves hours after the games are over. The reward from the work comes in the form of networking, building your resume and the ultimate: meeting some of the CIAA legends.

De’Shon also writes a blog for HBCU Fan Nation.

He is the son of David and Thelma Jenkins of Courtland and Kim and Tim Brown of Franklin.

GWEN ALBERS is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is