HoopsHype.com Articles

Pure Vanilla
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti / August 12, 2005

Kevin Drew
Kevin Drew.

Soul Man is the world's leading prison basketball journalist. He also writes for Don Diva, Elemental, Vice and Slam.
If you want the 411 on convicts, street legends, prison gangs, the mafia and life in the belly of the beast, check out gorillaconvict.com/blog
Check out Soul Man's first book Prison Stories and watch out for Prison Basketball, out in March 2007.
You can e-mail him at info@gorillaconvict.com.

The kid is nice. He's a streetballer. He got all the tricks. Ain't no vanilla to his game. It’s all straight razzle-dazzle. You would think the kid is from the city. He's a youngster. Barely 21. Balling in the belly of the beast. And dude can soar too. He's got hops, handles, can shoot the trey and throw it down. He goes 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs. and besides all that... Did I tell you he's white?

"My first time balling in prison was fucked up. I was in my county and mafuckas wouldn't pick me up," Kevin Drew, the white guy with all the street game says. "They didn't know I could play."

But they learned.

"I sat out the first six games of the season until I finally got the chance to ball and the first game I started I scored 57 points. I hit 15 threes. I was like 15-for-17 and I caught a dunk. After that, everyone tried to pick me up. I even got some money offers."

That is how it goes when you can ball in prison. And when your skin is such a light color, that’s a plus because all the brothers will be underestimating your game. But Young Kev got a handle on what the games are about.

"It's all about winning and going hard," he says. "I hate to lose in anything I do, so if I lose I want to know I went as hard as I could."

Besides playing hard, the kid has a lot of flash to his game. What city dudes call playground flavor.

"My game is definitely flashy," Kevin says. "I'm a shooting guard. My MO has got to be my handle, my jump shot and my hops. I will dunk it in your face. What makes my game so special is the fact that I'm white and people, just off appearances, wouldn't expect me to hit someone with a double crossover, make him fall over and go to the rack and bang on someone. But it happens."

About his hoops history Kevin says, "I played AAU ball for Tyrone Dale when I was young. In high school I only played one year because of my grades."

But he must have been studying the And1 tapes religiously because he got all the moves down. And unlike a lot of Hot Sauce wannabes, he can pull the moves off in a serious game.

"I definitely have that flair," Kevin says. "I draw the crowd automatically because I'm a white boy and sometimes I find myself playing for them. My handle is crazy, so I usually give the crowd want they want."

Kevin will have prisoners jumping out of their seats with his one-handed crossover, behind-the-back moves, reverses and thunderous dunks.

"I don't rec every day because free rec is garbage for real," Kevin says. "If someone new comes in that can ball, I gotta show him what it's hitting for, but I usually just sit back until game time."

And dudes on the pound are dying to see Kevin play. But the games are rough.

"People definitely go hard in prison. A lot more contact, but dudes who can ball don't hurt you. It’s that mafucka that weighs 280 solid muscle that don't know how to play that hurts you," Kevin says.

"Dudes get in their feelings over a hard foul or if you try to show them up too much. You can't avoid it when it happens because if something is gonna pop off, it's gonna pop off. You just gotta be ready. Cause you definitely can't take no L's on the court in front of the whole jail. Cause then the vultures will come and get you. So your best bet is just don't worry about it until it happens and be ready."

"It was a dream of mine until I couldn't play in high school," Kevin says when asked about pro basketball. "When I I started hustling, it was over. I never thought about longevity. I wanted the quick money. I think I could have went somewhere with dedication."

When he hits the street in 2006, he might be able to show some dedication. He's only doing 47 months for his first charge ever. Hopefully with his skills on the court, he can end up with something. And1 should be a possibility. I know the kid could dog The Professor. Call him Pure Vanilla.

He's not just flashy, but also clutch. Like any good player, Kevin wants the ball when it's crunch time.

“When the game is on the line, the rock needs to be in my hands because I am so versatile. I can either drive or pull up at any given time. No one can handle me one-on-one in the open court.”

And with that confidence and his game, Kevin will probably hook up with some streetball tour because for real he doesn’t want to end up back inside.

Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti, federal prison number 18205-083, is housed at FCI Loretto. Previously he resided at FCI Fairton, FCI Fort Dix, FCI Beckley and FCI Manchester. He has been a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com since 2003

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