Cazzie Russell, head men’s basketball coach at Savannah College of Art and Design and a former NBA All-Star, will be the guest speaker at a Back-to-School JAM (Jesus and Me) Session on Sunday, Aug. 12, at 5:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by Coastal Community Christian Church in Richmond Hill for middle- and high-school students.
Named the College Basketball Player of Year in 1966 for his performance as a University of Michigan Wolverine, Russell was ranked No. 21 in Street and Smith magazine’s list of greatest college basketball players. That same year, Russell was the first draft pick for the NBA’s New York Knicks. He helped lead the team to its first World Championship in 1970. He spent 13 years in the NBA playing for the Golden State Warriors, where he was an All-Star selection, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. After his retirement from professional basketball in 1978, he became a sports analyst for CBS’ "NBA Game of the Week."
Russell returned to professional basketball in 1981 as coach of the Lansing (Pa.) Lightning. He finished his 11 the season at SCAD with a 167-128 (.566) coaching record, most recently leading the SCAD Bees to the quarterfinals of the Florida Sun Conference Tournament.
Throughout his distinguished career, Russell has lived out his Christian faith. He acknowledges that it wasn’t always easy, but it was worth the cost.
"I’ve had a lot of experience standing up for what’s right" even when others didn’t, he said. He will be sharing those experiences, as well as advice for students who are trying to live for Christ, at the Back-to-School JAM Session.
Coastal Community Christian Church’s JAM Session will feature praise and worship led by its own youth praise band, dramatic skits and refreshments. The JAM Session is free and open to all ages. The church is located at 10770 Ford Ave. (Highway 144), about one mile east of Highway 17. For more information, call the church at 756-3455 or visit www.CCCConline.net.