With a 6-1 record, the Academy at Palumbo boys basketball team sits near the top of the Public League National Conference, and according to coach Frank Schneider, there are two players who led them there.
“As captains, you can point to them and say this is how you do it,” Schneider said about both Ibrahim Kane and Tymirr Farlar. “They always encourage guys and offer advice.”
The boys’ talent on the court clearly speaks for itself. After all, Kane’s a two-time MVP at North Jersey’s Skyline Basketball Tournament and he’s got a Division II offer from Bloomfield (New Jersey) to show for it. Farlar? He’s a two-year captain averaging 10 points and four assists a game who’s shooting 85% from the free throw line. But neither is a ball hog.
“We’re very unselfish,” said Kane after Palumbo’s first in-conference loss of the season, a 63-53 home defeat to Roxborough Thursday afternoon. “We’re always trying to get an extra hand open and we like to share the ball.”
“This team is focused on team basketball,” he said. “We play for each other.”
But what really sets Kane and Farlar apart is their leadership off the court.
“These two kids lead us on and off the floor,” said Schneider.
Both kids take the lead in study hall before practice and take their academics seriously. Farlar boasts a 3.75 GPA at Palumbo and Kane a 3.76.
“Academics is definitely important,” said Kane. “Academics comes first before anything and if you don’t have the books you can’t step on the court.”
“We’re student-athletes,” said Farlar. “But ‘student’ comes before ‘athletes.’ We take that very seriously. We also believe that the books translate into the court.”
Farlar said sometimes it’s difficult to juggle basketball in school, but with Schneider’s preaching of time management skills, they learn to make it work.
“Any student athlete has to be incredibly strong in time management,” said Schneider. “We are very strict about creating practice plans and try to prescribe as much as we can in terms of scheduling for the week to help the boys with their time management.”
Schneider said that every Monday his players have to text him a screenshot of their grades so they can come up with an “action plan” for how to improve. Sometimes, a player may request more time in study hall.
“If a player wants to take extra time in study hall, we let them do that,” he said. “They’re excellent at time management.
In addition to their school work, the team devotes time to giving back to the community. Earlier in the season, the boys spent time volunteering to help feed the homeless at Hub of Hope in Center City.
“We like to do community service every year as much as we can,” said Kane.
Schneider also noted that Kane and Farlar are close friends on and off the court, and their appreciation for each other sets an example for the team as well.
“They’ve been friends for a while,” said Schneider, “and I think that bond has contributed to the family atmosphere in the locker room.”