May 5, 1978 |
|Listed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Listed weight||162 lb (73 kg)|
|High school||Ferndale (Ferndale, Michigan)|
|Pro playing career||2001–2009|
|2002–2004||ALM Évreux Basket|
|2006||Dakota Wizards (CBA)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rashad Keith Phillips (born May 5, 1978) is an American former professional basketball player. In eight years playing professionally, Phillips competed in more than eight different countries for more than ten different teams. He is 5'10" tall, weighs 162 pounds and played the point guard position. Since retiring from basketball he has started and continues to run "Skills Unlimited", a training and mentoring program for children that uses basketball as a vehicle to help them overcome their obstacles.
Phillips, a native of the North Central section of Detroit, Michigan, grew up in a rough neighborhood. His father, Virgil, wanted to keep him off the streets, so he created a program called REACH (an acronym for religion, education, athletics, character and hope) where Rashad and others could go to play basketball and stay out of trouble. Later, when he was a senior at college, Phillips said, "I thank God every day for giving me a father who did the things he did for me... I've seen a lot of people fall victim to the streets, but that was never an option for me. I always had a gym to go to. What my father has done has saved so many lives."
In the fall of 1992, Rashad Phillips entered Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Michigan as a 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m) freshman. At first he was told he was too small to be a basketball player, but he quickly proved he could play despite his stature and ended up becoming one of the first four-year varsity starters in school history. By the time Phillips was a senior in 1995–96 he had only grown to 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m). Phillips, however, still averaged approximately 25 points, seven assists and four steals per game en route to being named Oakland County's best player. He was also invited to play in the Magic Roundball Classic, an annual all-star high school basketball game where the best players in the country are selected to participate. The game was held at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit and Phillips earned the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after out-performing Kobe Bryant. Bryant was the number one high school recruit at the time and would be a first round draft choice in the 1996 NBA Draft just three months later. Phillips' performance caused him to become a heavily-recruited prospect, but by then he had already committed to play at the University of Detroit Mercy.
Phillips stood at 5'8" when he entered college. He averaged 10.0 points per game in his first season and was named the Midwestern Collegiate Conference's (MCC) Newcomer of the Year. The Titans were conference regular season champions behind a 12–2 MCC record and earned a berth into the 1998 NCAA Tournament. After upsetting St. John's in the first round, Detroit lost in the round of 32 to a strong Purdue squad, ending their year with an overall record of 25–6.
During his sophomore season in 1998–99 he increased his average to 15.7 per game, which would be the first of three consecutive years in which he led Detroit in that category. The Titans repeated as regular season champions and also won the MCC Tournament, which gave them an automatic berth into the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Phillips played a big role in 12th-seeded Detroit's upset over 5th-seeded UCLA, 56–53, during the opening round game. Just like the season before when they scored a major upset to open the tournament, Detroit then found itself on the losing end in the round of 32, this time at the hands of 4th-seeded Ohio State. At the end of the 25–6 season, Phillips was named to the All-MCC First Team.
As a junior in 1999–2000, the Titans failed to qualify for any postseason tournaments since they only finished with a 20–12 (8–6 MCC) record. Phillips' scoring average, meanwhile, rose to a career-best 23.0 points per game while also finishing in the top 10 in the nation. His average led the Midwestern Collegiate Conference while his 735 total points is still the fourth-highest single season mark in school history. He repeated as both an All-MCC First Team selection as well as an All-Defensive Team selection. Phillips was named the MCC Men's Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the first Detroit Titan ever to be honored as the league's Newcomer of the Year and Player of the Year during his career.
In 2000–01, the Titans finished in second place in the MCC behind Butler with a 10–4 record. Phillips averaged 22.4 points per game, tops in the MCC, while leading the school a fourth place finish in the 2001 National Invitation Tournament – their highest-ever finish in a major postseason tournament. After losing to Alabama in the semifinals, Detroit then played Memphis for the NIT Third Place game but also fell short in that game, placing fourth. On the year, Phillips set still-standing single season school-records of 785 total points and a 91.6% accuracy from the free throw line. Additionally, he finished with the fourth-highest free throw percentage in all of NCAA Division I. Phillips also set many school top ten records that season, including a career-high 41 points against UW–Green Bay in January. The Midwestern Collegiate Conference honored him with a third consecutive All-MCC First Team selection as well as his second straight MCC Player of the Year award. He became just the third player ever to lead the conference in scoring multiple times and he ended his collegiate career with a still-standing Detroit record 2,319 points. His 348 three-pointers and 541 free throws both also top the program's record book.
Phillips garnered national acclaim for his season and career, not just conference awards. The Associated Press named him as an Honorable Mention All-America and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame presented him as the 2001 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner, given annually to the best Division I men's basketball player who is 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) or shorter. He was chosen to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) after the school year ended. The PIT is composed of the top 64 recently graduated basketball players in the country and is an opportunity to showcase their talent heading into the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft. At the 49th installment of the tournament, Phillips earned MVP honors after averaging 21.3 points and 5.3 assists per game in three games played.
Professional and later life
Despite his prolific college career, no NBA teams were willing to take a chance on the undersized guard in that year's draft, so he went unselected (years later, Kobe Bryant would claim that Rashad Phillips was "[t]he best player never drafted"). Then in November, the NBA Development League began its inaugural season and held its first draft on November 1. The upstart league chose from a pool of players who were not under contract with any professional team at the time and had all competed collegiately in the United States at some point.
The Mobile Revelers selected Phillips in the first round (7th overall) in the 2001 NBDL Draft. He played the entire first season in NBDL history with the Revelers while appearing in 53 total games (including 27 starts). He averaged 12.5 points and 3.7 assists as Mobile finished with a 30–26 record, good for fourth place in the eight-team league. The Revelers lost in the playoffs, two games to one in a best-of-three format, to the North Charleston Lowgators.
For the next seven years, Phillips became somewhat of journeyman. He played in over eight leagues, both domestically and internationally, and rarely stayed with one team for more than a season. His stops included leagues in Australia, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Three different times he was his league's scoring champion and once was its MVP.
In 2009 Phillips retired from playing professional basketball. Since then he has been active in mentoring youth to help them prepare to achieve their goals. He says he would like to expand his Skills Unlimited training and franchise it so that he can reach more kids across the country.
- "Rashad Phillips D-League Stats". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Malavolti, Jon (August 17, 2011). "Rashad Phillips Returns to Teach Basketball, Life Skills". CandGnews.com. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Schecter, B. J. (January 31, 2000). "A Titan, Even At 5'10". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "About Rashad Phillips". Rashad Phillips Skills Unlimited. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Fracassa, Hawke (November 22, 2010). "'No. 3' Is in The Rafters: U-D Mercy Honored Star Point Guard, Ferndale Grad Rashad Phillips, Friday Night". patch.com. Ferndale Patch. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "Ferndale Graduate Rashad Phillips to have Basketball Number Retired by U-D Mercy". Daily Tribune. November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "2010–11 Detroit Titan's Men's Basketball Media Guide". DetroitTitans.com. University of Detroit Mercy. 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- ESPN Editors (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: Random House, Inc. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
- "Wizards Sign Guard Rashad Phillips". Continental Basketball Association news. Our Sports Central. February 20, 2006. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "National Basketball Development League Announces Inaugural Draft Results". NBDL Enterprises, LLC. November 1, 2001. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- "2001–02 Mobile Revelers Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 6, 2011.