The hash tag “Cullen Hamilton” (#cullenhamilton and #wevegotcullen) trended on twitter this past weekend as friends and acquaintances thanked and congratulated Cullen for setting the record of 1,846 points in his Potomac basketball career as well as setting the MAC record for the most points scored overall. The previous Potomac record was 1,834 points and Cullen has already beaten that record by 12 point this season! Cullen’s hard work and dedication has paid off – his current high school basketball season has been his best ever. Cullen is a team-player and does whatever it takes to win the game, “even if that means score 50 points,” said teammate Davon Hill.
Cullen began taking basketball very seriously in fifth grade at the innocent age of 11. He played for the Maryland Madness team until he was 13, then the DC Assault, and lastly Maryland’s Finest. Once Cullen graduates from Potomac in June he will carry on his basketball career to the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
Cullen’s humble personality is something that catches a lot of people off guard. Not once have I heard Cullen bragging or talking about how good he is. “He isn’t that guy,” said Coach Franklin. One might expect Cullen to have a huge ego but that’s not who he is. The great thing about Potomac’s varsity boys basketball team this year is that “they truly understand what the game is all about. Team first. Playing together and playing for each other.” There is an unspoken mutual understanding on the team that they are all in it together. The uncommon characteristic of the team not having any selfish players is one of the team’s greatest aspects. Coach Franklin definitely has a lot to do with the level of care that the players have for each other because he has such a big heart, and genuinely cares if the players are having fun.
A significant reason why the team is doing well is because of the coaching staff. Head coach, Levi Franklin is viewed as not only a coach to the players on the team, but a friend. Cullen stated that Coach Franklin “does it because he cares,” and is very appreciate of that. Coach Franklin began his coaching career right after his senior year of college in 1990. His first coaching job was at the Kettering Boys and Girls Club in PG County. He coached football to the 65lb weight class and began to find his passion for helping others learn and progress as student athletes. Later on that year, Franklin was offered his first high school coaching job as an assistant coach at Oxon Hill High School in PG County. By 1992 Franklin became the head coach of the varsity basketball team at Oxon Hill. Nine years later, in 2001, Franklin moved on to Paul VI and worked as head coach of the boy’s varsity football and basketball teams for six consecutive years. After years and years of hard work as a coach at Paul VI high school, Franklin moved to Pittsburgh to coach basketball at the Robert Morris University, a D1 sports college. Although Franklin learned a lot coaching athletes at a D1 level, moving back to PG County is what he felt was best for his family and kids. So, two years later, Franklin was back home and quickly became the head coach of the boys’ varsity basketball team at Potomac. As Cullen’s coach, Franklin is very proud of Cullen’s achievements and had very nice things to say about him. Franklin has also had the opportunity to be Cullen’s teacher during his sophomore year. When asked about Cullen as a student and player, Franklin stated, “Cullen is a model student athlete. He does his work in school the same. He is coachable. If he doesn’t understand a concept in the classroom or if he misses a shot on the court, he gets mad; but he has controlled anger where he becomes determined to make himself better and get it right the next time.”
This Friday the boys’ varsity basketball team will take on the Flint Hill Huskies: Potomac’s biggest rival. Coach Franklin explained that the players on both teams truly love the game and like each other so there will not be any fighting or aggressive behavior between players during this game… “maybe between fans, but not my players,” said Franklin. Both Flint Hill and Potomac’s teams have a significant number of talented players. The game is going to be neck and neck and very emotional for everyone. Potomac’s student section will be dressed in red white and blue and ready to cheer patriotically, led by student sports enthusiast Jamie Lovegrove, as usual. Hopefully Potomac will win, but who knows?