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Meet the Executive Team & Staff

The Scholars Elite Youth Basketball Academy is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that provides a year-round, comprehensive program for youth participants that focuses not only on basketball, but academic achievement and support, civic and communal engagement, financial literacy, and emotional health programs.

 

The New Jersey Scholars Elite Basketball Academy has established a strong Board of Directors to provide outstanding governance and stewardship. The board has a diverse set of functional and industry skill sets but all share a passion for youth sports and making a difference in the lives of young people. 

 

Our Management Team of Martin Whitfield, Pervis Ellison, Fran Nicolas and Dajuan Wagner all have distinct, experienced and dynamic grassroots, collegiate and professional backgrounds. Along with our incredible and seasoned Coaching & Player Development Staff, our goal is to create a performance based and unified basketball culture conducive to optimal growth, development and success. Our program is designed to help and assist our athletes to meet their true and desired potential.  

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

James Runcie

Chairperson

Chief Executive Officer

Education Advancement

New York, NY | Washington, DC

Todd Perry

Board Member

Managing Director

Viewpoint Partners UBS

New York, NY

John Mirenda

Treasurer

President & CEO

Greentree Mortgage Company

LPGibbsboro, NJ

Marc Morial

Board Member

President & CEO

National Urban League

New York, NY

Nicholas Felmlee

Board Member

Chief Technology Officer

International Telcom

Mahwah, NJ

John Martini

Treasurer

Executive Partner

Holland and Knight

Philadelphia, PA

Executive Management

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Martin Whitfield

President & CEO

Responsible for the overall management, operations, direction and vision of NJ Scholars. Liaison with Nike, Corporate Sponsors and Partners.

Management

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Dajuan Wagner

Player Development & Program Director

Responsible for outreach, player  and team development activities. Focused on the Southern Tri-State region. Also responsible for event initiatives.  Member of Executive Committee.

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Pervis Ellison

Program Director

Responsible for overall basketball and team operations and player-related activities. Liaison with Nike and various external partners. Member of Executive Committee.

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Francis Nicolas

Program Director

Responsible for basketball operations, outreach and player-related activities. Focused on the Northern Tri-State region. Liaison with Nike and various external partners. Member of Executive Committee.

Coaches

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Jason Harrigan

17U Coach

Coach Harrigan is a championship-caliber coach with experience at both the Varsity and AAU levels.  During Coach Harrigan's six-year career at Delaware Valley Charter, he developed one of the premier programs in the greater Philadelphia area.   In 2016, "Del-Val Charter" won the Public League Championship as well as the City Championship.  The following season Coach Harrigan transitioned to Cardinal O'Hara of the Philadelphia Catholic League inheriting a last-place team which he remarkably took to the quarterfinals in just two seasons. Coach Harrigan has also served as both counselor and director for several of the top camps in the tri-state area and has considerable experience as a teacher of the game and developer of young talent. Coach Harringan has received numerous accolades including Philadelphia Inquirer's Coach of the Year, Southeastern Pennsylvania Coach of the Year, and Comcast Network Coach of the Year.

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Kenny Jackson

16U Coach

Coach Jackson began his basketball coaching journey as a Player Development Coach with Friends Central School, a Small Private High School in the Philadelphia area.  In his six years there, Jackson developed Ten (10) Division 1 Basketball Players, with two of them making it to the NBA and one of them being the 4th Overall Draft Pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.  Jackson continued to make his mark in the Philadelphia Area and is highly regarded as one of the Top Trainers.  His basketball training reputation has garnered many inquiries for his services, as Jackson was asked by Hall of Famer Joe Dumas to help run his player development program for Future Draft signees, alongside Former NBA Star Player Rasheed Wallace. With his incredible basketball pedigree and experience, we are thrilled to have Coach Jackson as our 16U NJ Scholars Head Coach.

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Ashton Gibbs

15U Coach

Coach Gibbs is a product of the NY/NJ basketball circuit. Born and raised in NJ, he decided to ignite his high school career at his father's alma mater, Seton Hall Prep, where he obtained the all-time scoring record and was inducted into the Hall Of Fame. He began his collegiate carreer at the University of Pittsburgh where he won awards like the Big East Most Improved Player, Academic All-American, Associated Press All-American, the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, and Player of the Decade. He made a 2x appearance on the USA Basketball team earning a gold medal in the U-19 World Championship. After the Brooklyn Nets Summer League team, he journeyed for 6 years, playing in Greece, Spain, Belgium, Argentina, and more. Upon retiring, Ashton worked at Duquesne University under Lebron James' former high school coach, Keith Dambrot. In just one year, the team acquired the most consecutive wins in a season in 50 years. After 2 seasons, Ashton became the Head Coach of the Post-Graduate team at The Phelps School where built a team of winners who are equipped to take on top tier talent in any arena. Ashton continues to be a mentor to the youth and is passionate about being the representation that he once needed.