The Maryland Elite Summer League varsity and junior varsity high school basketball celebrated a completion of a third successful season culminating with an All-star game July 31, a credit to founder coach David McCloud.
The league had been run under a different name by various groups including the Montgomery County Recreation Department. McCloud said when he came to the position the league only had a few teams competing and experienced a host of difficulties and mismanagement.
McCloud said his motivation came from the desire to deliver correct game information to teams and fans and to ensure teams wouldn’t have to compete in uncomfortable conditions.
“The biggest thing with summer league and why we started was because Montgomery County was having issues and dropping the ball as far as setting up the varsity summer leagues during the year where gyms were often non-secure or times were wrong or (without) proper staffing or referees,” McCloud said.
“Sometimes teams did not get information in terms of where to play the games,” McCloud said. “And so at that point we were able to come in and running the league where coaches and fans were able to know that games were held in a central location and in air conditioned gyms that weren’t overly hot and uncomfortable and quality basketball was being able to be played.”
In the first season under McCloud the Maryland Elite had six varsity teams and six junior varsity teams and enjoyed success. This past season there were more than 20 teams competing, including the induction of the powerhouse Oakdale Bears from the far away local of Frederick, Md. The Maryland Elite is considered one of the best in the area.
Prior to coaching, McCloud was in the D.C. government as a corrections and security officer. The former Morgan State University basketball standout was given an opportunity to coach. McCloud said that at the time, the idea of coaching high school students was “intimidating.” But he eventually signed on to coach the Coyotes.
McCloud said part of the reason he kept on with the Coyotes program after consultation with Marshall and others was because he was no longer intimidated.
“…getting the hang of it,” said McCloud in response to why he chose to accept the position.
Before transforming the Maryland Elite, McCloud underwent a journey composed of difference making and fueled by perseverance.
McCloud grew up very close to his mom, Rita Mae Belmear. He was a self-professed “momma’s boy” and said his mother was the ultimate supporter of him and his endeavors.
Belmear was the carpool parent who attended virtually every basketball game that McCloud played in from a young age through the final game his senior year for the Montgomery Blair Blazers. This pattern continued through college at Morgan State University and then at Clarksburg High School, where McCloud was the junior varsity head coach.
Belmear had wanted to see her son become a varsity head coach, specifically a Montgomery County public high school head coach. However she developed Alzheimer’s disease before McCloud would become a varsity head coach and her mental alertness deteriorated.
His wife, Dale McCloud, a Montgomery County social worker, and David raise their family in partnership and share parenthood together.
McCloud and his wife have three elementary school age sons, Shakeel, 12, Shakur, 11, and Shahid, 8. There’s also Aahkir Spivey, a legal guardian son not yet legally adopted. All four are former foster kids.
In addition, Kaos Williams, a 19-year-old at Alleghany Community College, became the McCloud’s first adopted son. Williams was playing for McCloud’s junior varsity team and AAU team a few years ago. Williams, who holds the state of Maryland record for high jump at 10 feet, started living with the McCloud’s at age 13.
At the time, Williams’ grandmother had been having difficulties caring for her him, so the McCloud’s stepped in and brought Williams into their life and home.
After certification process, foster care training and paperwork, Williams legally came to the McClouds as a son and no longer a foster kid. The four sons would follow William’s example.
Completing the McCloud family are McCloud’s two daughters: Christina Young and Tiesha Norris.
McCloud’s difference making goes deeper than his household. McCloud, through his AAU organization also named Maryland Elite, helps under privileged kids and foster kids with almost any basketball related matter.
McCloud and his assistant and cohort, Bob Marshall run the organization. They share the mentality that there is always a child in need-- it is just a matter of getting such a kid a hand.
“He’s a former police officer, former correction officer,” said Marshall. “I think he looks at these kids and says you know if I can do something, for these kids, that will maybe keep them from ending up with somebody like me. As a police officer where I have to be involved in their lives if I can do something, to get them away from that path, that’s the best thing I can do.”
McCloud’s difference making can be traced to just about his whole life. He considered his step father to be his father growing up. However, his step-dad died when McCloud was a senior in high school. It sent shockwaves through his family and left a big role for McCloud.
McCloud’s older brother has had a mental disability since developing a debilitating virus as a baby. Thus, the younger McCloud has always been looking out and making a difference in his older brother’s life.
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