Seventy-five students, ages 6-13, from Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, attended the Tyler Ugolyn MVPs of Character Clinic on Saturday, May 5, in Levien Gymnasium.The clinic is named in honor of Tyler Ugolyn '01CC, a former Columbia men's basketball player who lost his life at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. The annual event is sponsored by Ugolyn family.
The event opened up with a brief talk by Columbia’s head men’s basketball coach, Joe Jones. Jones introduced the keynote speaker for the event, former NBA all-star and world champion, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
Monroe, the second pick overall in the NBA Draft in 1967, won a NBA World Championship with the New York Knicks in 1973, just two seasons after being traded from the Baltimore Bullets, the team he began his professional career with.
After the address, which detailed Monroe’s academic and professional career, and brief question-and-answer session, the kids broke up into stations to learn some basketball fundamentals from Columbia coaches and players.
The students broke for lunch, which was sponsored by Subway on 125th Street. After the break, the participants enjoyed games run by current Columbia men and women’s basketball players.