FAIRLESS HILLS – On the next to last day of 2014, Pennsbury was playing Philadelphia Public League rival Math, Civics and Sciences Charter in the Pete and Jameer Nelson Holiday Classic at Widener University.
Falcon basketball coaches asked then junior Rob Daly to guard Samir Doughty. For those of you not familiar with the 6-foot-4, 175-pound wingman who had been recruited by Saint John’s before electing to play for Virginia Commonwealth, Doughty was selected as a member of both first team All-State and first team All-Public League after averaging 17 points, six rebounds and three assists per game as a junior at MCS in 2013-14. During an impressive 500-point junior season, Doughty recorded five double-doubles as well as 27 double-figure scoring performances in 29 games. (1)
“Rob would run through a wall for us as a basketball staff and I would venture to say he would do anything asked of him by the football staff,” stated Pennsbury head coach Bill Coleman. “He would do anything that we asked of him and not complain.”
The leading scorer in the PPL, Doughty recorded 24 points in the game but Daly helped the Falcons rebound from a 1-point third quarter deficit to win 63-61.
“Last year, we asked him to guard Samir Doughty who is 6-4. Rob is 5-11 on a good day and he didn’t question it,” explained Coleman. “He just said ‘Coach, I’ll do it.’ We asked him to do those types of things a lot and he never complained.”
“I think that says a lot about him and his family.”
In basketball, Daly was honored with this year’s Fearless Falcon Award, given to the toughest defender on the hardwood. In football, he was distinguished with the Bob Trumbino Award, given for loyalty, performance and courage on the gridiron.
Recently committed to play football at Division III Ithaca, Rob was the recipient of First Team All-Suburban One League National Conference honors the past two seasons. He earned Third Team all-league honors this year in basketball.
It all explains why the Block family chose Daly as this year’s co-winner of the Rick & Chris Block Memorial Scholarship, now in its 23rd year.
“It definitely means a lot to me – to be honored in this way,” said Rob, “after all the two brothers did during their time at Pennsbury, not only in athletics but in the community as well.”
The Block Scholarship was established in 1995 by the Block family, of Lower Makefield, in honor of brothers Rick and Chris, both of whom were standout basketball players for the Falcons whose lives ended suddenly, tragically and prematurely.
To qualify for the award, athletes must have a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate a willingness to help others. For his part, Rob was a weekly instructor at Bucks County Challenger Football, an organization that instructs special needs kids on the nuances of the gridiron game.
“Being able to maintain his grades playing two sports and representing the school as he has over his career in high school, it’s a testament to his hard work and the type of student that he is.”
“And that’s what the Blocks were all about – they were excellent basketball players but they were very good students as well.”
Daly was also a team leader. Just ask Coleman.
“We went from the big three with Cameron (Jones), Mekhi (Bryant) and Derrick (Woods),” explained Coleman. “You fast forward a year and, really, it was just Rob and a bunch of new guys.”
“That could be a daunting task to a lot of people but Rob took it and displayed the type of leadership we were looking for.”
“He understood and was able to articulate to the guys what it takes to get to that level that we want to play at all the time.
The Block Scholarship was established in 1995 after Rick Block, a 1980 graduate of Pennsbury, was killed in a plane crash the year before. It was around that time that younger brother Chris helped organize an annual alumni basketball game which pitted former players against the current varsity team.
Then in 2005, Chris, a 1985 graduate and 2004 Pennsbury Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee, died in his sleep, the victim of Hypertrobic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).
With the passing of Chris at the much-too-young-to-die age of 38, the name of the scholarship was changed in 2006 to memorialize both brothers. The alumni game continued until 2009, when it was cancelled due to a late-season run by the Falcons that would have forced Pennsbury basketball boosters to choose between supporting the varsity team and attending the Block family’s event.
Past Block Memorial scholars include Amy Blazejewski, Courtney Kruscavage (2013), Jae Jackson (2013), Amie Eppolito, Zack Sibel, Jesse Krasna, Tom Marcinkowski, Sarah Thorn, Bradie Vaughan, Meghan McDavid (scholarship renamed), Brian Besecker, Lindsey Krasna, Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Matthew Kettles, Meghan Sweeney (first female), Kurt Bergmann, Jeff Piscadlo, Michael Collins, Mark Hentosh, John Maxey, and Jared Birnbaum (1995).
Also earning a portion of this year’s proceeds from the RCBM Scholarship were sisters Abbie and Katie Wick.
CREDITS: redstormsports.com: St. John’s Basketball Signs Philadelphia Native Samir Doughty, Nov. 19.2014
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter