.pay it forward.
Founder of Diggs Basketball Classic and name sake of the Dynale Martin Scholarship Fund is the late Dynale Ramon Martin, affectionately called Diggs by those who knew and loved him. Dynale began playing and learning the fundamentals of basketball at a young age. He attended Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut, and was the star junior point guard. He was named most valuable player in 1991. His 21 points helps the Weaver Beavers beat rival high school Danbury, the number one team in Hartford Courants Coaches Poll, 79-76 for the CIAC Class LL title. Weaver had not won the title since 1971.
After his high school career, in 1992, Dynale continued on to play at St. Augustine College in North Carolina. He became a father a few years later and chose to put his basketball career on hold to be a father to his newborn daughter. Sadly, Dynale never returned to playing the game in an official capacity ever again.
“Keep pushing, don’t stop even when no one is around. If you stop, the only person you are cheating is yourself”, which is not only something Diggs is known for saying, but something he lived by.
Diggs had a natural love and understanding of the technical game of basketball. He began to help give kids an understanding of what the game was about also. In his late twenties, he married Tomeka Johnson and added two sons to their family; Jeremy and Trey. With his two sons, his step son Tommy and his daughter Shaquasha, the spark for basketball reignited and Dynale began to work with them on the fundamentals. He began as a volunteer assistant coach for the town league in West Hartford, Connecticut. He then applied for the open head freshman coach at Conard High School. Unfortunately, his health began to fail him and he would not be able to commit to such a position. Instead he focused on developing his sons, young family members and their friends on the fundamental skills so that they would have a stronger foundation as they moved up to play higher competition. He would pile the kids in his SUV along with a small grill and a cooler of gatorade. The grill and cooler came about when he noticed some of the kids hadn’t eaten all day do to family circumstances. That day forward, he would also commit to feeding the youngsters before and a snack after practice.
July 2014, he began his training program and started up an AAU team with the same kids he fostered a relationship with months earlier, which didn’t get very far as the financial commitment to the families was not fesible. By Summer 2014 Dynale and his wife Tomeka founded the Annual Diggs Basketball Classic. This one day event would give kids the one on one attention and spotlight they needed in order to improve their all-around game by strengthening their fundamentals. He rented a venue, purchased custom tshirts for the players, trophies and all the essentials needed to play a good old fashion game of basketball. He hired a few referees, recruited volunteer coaches and invited everyone in the town to come and cheer the kids on. Dynale was very proud of this. Click hereto see the smile on his face when we was presented the trophy of being ‘The Most Official Point Guard to come through Weaver High School”. That day he promised the youth in attendance that he would host this event every year for the rest of his life. That every child in the Greater Hartford area would wear a Diggs Classic tshirt or jersey and have a Diggs Classic trophy or medal in their rooms.
Dynale Martin lost his battle with Kidney Failure on January 26, 2015, a few months before the 2 annual Diggs Classic. His wife Tomeka was committed to the show going on so on August 2015 the 2 Annual Diggs Classics was bigger than the year before. October 2016 Tomeka and her children will host the 3 annual Diggs Classic and they anticipate this year to be larger. This event is funded 100% by the Dynale Martin Scholarship Fund. To make a donation click here. For details on sponsoring a team email [email protected]