Comets' Douglas does his part with pink shoes

For those in attendance at tonight's varsity boys basketball game in Central Point between Crater and South Medford, rest assured your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

Those ARE pink shoes on the feet of Crater junior Jordan Douglas, and, yes, he is trying to make a point.

In an effort to further cancer awareness, Douglas made the decision last summer to wear pink shoes when he played basketball. He's also been working with Providence Medical Center for a project he's calling "Hoops 4 Hope," where all proceeds he's raising through donations go to the hospital for use in assisting cancer patients.

"Cancer's all around and I just want people to notice it and know that people actually need support to go through it," says Douglas.

"I've been around it all my life," adds the 6-foot-1, 160-pound guard. "I've had relatives, aunts, uncles, school teachers — you name it — who've been dealing with it. My dad's mom (Lourie) got it and just being as close as I was with her, it just really affected me."

Douglas' main plan to raise funds for Providence is seeking sponsors to do a "pay-per-point" fundraiser for every basket he scores during the season for the Comets. He's sent out mailers seeking donations, with Valpak already on board and hopefully others following suit.

Douglas also plans to set up a table at other events, such as an upcoming car show, to create awareness for what he's doing and generate more donations.

The 16-year-old's goal right now is to build momentum for what he hopes will be a fruitful senior project.

"My plan was to start early and start making a path to go by for my senior year," he says. "and then when that happens, that's when I want everything to increase and raise as much money as possible."

Douglas didn't have to work too hard to sell the school and head coach John Parent on his plan to get the ball rolling this year. He'd like to wear the pink shoes in all his games, but it was decided to make the statement solely at home games to avoid potential pitfalls on the road.

"I thought it was a great idea," Parent says of Douglas' project. "We have a couple people that are affected by (cancer) that are within the family of our basketball team, and anything we can do for a cause that ails so many people, we thought that's something we should do."

There had to be some initial concern of Douglas separating himself from the team and becoming a distraction, but the junior says his coaches and teammates have been nothing but supportive and understand why he's doing what he's doing.

"Jordan's as good of a kid as you'll find," says Parent. "He's doing it for the right reasons and hasn't been a distraction at all. We've all rallied around him and supported him in this."

As for donning pink, Douglas says it's really paid off in creating a dialogue for those around him.

"I played in a summer league and decided to put them on and I had probably 20 parents come up to me and say they liked my shoes and ask why I was wearing them and then I'd explain everything," says Douglas. "Everybody likes it so far and if you can get people to talk about it, then that kinda opens the door (for more awareness)."

There have been some snickers when he's seen running around in pink, but Douglas doesn't care.

"I don't really care that boys aren't supposed to wear pink," he says. "I want to support something I think is right."

Those interested in helping Douglas raise funds for his Hoops 4 Hope project can contact him through his father Justin Douglas at Justin@printpal.com

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A REQUEST BY ST. MARY'S to move from Class 3A to independent status in football for the 2011-12 school year was recently approved by the Oregon School Activities Association.

The petition was made by St. Mary's following a 2010 season in which the Crusaders were forced to forfeit their final four games due to a shortage of healthy players. The football team dwindled from 20 to 12 players due to a rash of injuries during the season.

The move mirrors one made by the Crusaders in 2000 after they were forced to forfeit their final four games of that season when they were down to 10 players. St. Mary's adopted an independent schedule for two seasons to help avoid mismatches on the field and used that momentum to make a return to league play the following year.

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THE OSAA RANKINGS sub-committee rejected a December proposal by the 6A, 5A and 4A classifications to freeze the power rankings prior to each classification's "play-in" games.

The proposal included a request that changes be implemented in time for the winter and spring seasons this school year, but the recent decision assures that no change is imminent. The sub-committee plans on re-examining the issue following the winter and spring seasons when additional data will be reviewed.

The argument stemmed from a belief that the power rankings can be unfairly skewed by the play-in results and therefore alter the seeding for the OSAA playoff brackets.

That's what happened in football, when North Medford dropped six spots heading into the 32-team state playoff bracket after beating a winless Clackamas team for the second time in the season. The drop for the Black Tornado also had an affect on the final ranking of all but one of the four automatic qualifiers from the Southwest Conference, causing them to enter the playoffs at least one spot lower than they were heading into the play-in round.

One action the sub-committee did support was including the opponent's winning percentage for out of state opponents beginning next school year. This year, the only aspects factored into power rankings when it came to out of state opponents was whether the team won or lost and the location of the contest.

Other items that did not receive support were changing the percentage breakdown; changing the weight values for home, away or neutral contests; placing more statistical emphasis on league champions; and placing a reward on playing up a classification.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry

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