If someone wanted to learn about the history of basketball on the Eastern Shore, they would have to do a ton of research and talk to a whole bunch of people.
Or they can pick up a newly released book from Mitchell Northam, a former Daily Times sports reporter and Salisbury University graduate.
The book, “High School Basketball on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: A Shore Hoops History,” is out now. In it, Northam traces the history of the sport on this slice of the Delmarva Peninsula back to a game between the old high schools in Denton and Greensboro in 1914, all the way up to recent Stephen Decatur product Keve Aluma helping Virginia Tech win an ACC championship this past March.
Northam published the book through Amazon, and it was a culmination of two years’ worth of research through the pandemic and more than 60 interviews with players, coaches, fans and contributors to the sport on the Shore.
Among those interviewed in the book are longtime Wi-Hi boys basketball coach Butch Waller, former Pocomoke coach David Byrd, former Colonel Richardson coach Merrill Morgan, and Andre Collins – a Crisfield native who won a national championship with the Maryland Terrapins in 2002. Northam also caught up with Mardela standout Tia Jackson, who guided Iowa to a Final Four and is now a coach at Duke.
Using interviews and extensive research, the book also tells stories about Gail Tatterson Gladding, Kelley Gibson, Grayson Hurley, Albert Mouring, Sherron Mills, Allen Miller, Brenda Jones, Levi Fontaine and Carlton Dotson. Also included are chapters on state champions, like the 1999 Parkside girls and the 2003 James M. Bennett boys.
Jeff Pearlman, a New York Times bestselling author of non-fiction sports books such as “Showtime,” and “Sweetness,” wrote of Northam’s work: “There’s something genuinely beautiful in the pairing of a passionate journalist and the topic he’s meant to write. Mitchell Northam’s love for basketball and Maryland’s Eastern Shore shines throughout this doggedly researched ode to sport. Bravo.”
Northam grew up on the Eastern Shore in Federalsburg and graduated from Colonel Richardson in 2010. After leaving the Daily Times in 2017, he went on to work for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel and NCAA.com He’s now a digital editor at WUNC, the NPR affiliate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The book is available on Amazon and in a few local independent bookstores, such as Flying Cloud Booksellers in Easton, and Sundial Books in Chincoteague.