Knicks Honor Packer Senior for Leadership and Perseverance
Posted 04/07/2014 11:21AM

Peter DeBusschere (center), son of the late Knicks star Dave DeBusschere, presents the 2013-14 Dave DeBusschere Award to Bay Shore senior Carly Cox (left) and Packer senior and boys’ varsity basketball team captain Pharoah Sutton-Jackson ’14 (right).

Knicks Honor Packer Senior for Leadership and Perseverance

Dave Debusschere Award presented annually to two students who have “excelled in the classroom, on the basketball court, and in the community”

Packer senior Pharoah Sutton-Jackson ’14 is one of two area students honored by the New York Knicks with the 2013-14 Dave Debusschere Award. Pharoah and Bay Shore senior Carly Cox received the honor at midcourt in Madison Square Garden during a game between the Knicks and the visiting Utah Jazz on Friday, March 7, 2014. A statement released by the Knicks noted: “Both students excelled in the classroom, on the basketball court, and in the community, and have exemplified the same heroic characteristics that . . . DeBusschere carried throughout his life.”

The Knicks’ statement continued: “Pharoah epitomizes what it means to be a scholar athlete and leader amongst his peers. He is the President of the Packer Collegiate Institute Student Council and the founder of the school’s Sports Debate Club. Pharoah serves as a youth counselor for Camp Schodack in Albany, NY and a facilitator for the Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS), an organization dedicated to increasing the knowledge, awareness, and respect for different cultures. With his commitment to the community, tenacity on the court, and focus on academics, Pharoah is prepared to attend college this fall to pursue a degree in Philosophy and Pre-Law.”

After a season-ending knee injury in 2012-13, Pharoah persevered through the rehabilitation process, returning as a captain of the varsity basketball team in 2013-14, only to have that season cut short due to another injury. Both times, he said, he was inspired to return by the desire to help his team and by the words one of his favorite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius: “Nothing ever happens to a man that he is not equipped by nature to endure. Someone else experiences the same difficulty you have faced.”

Pharoah was told he could invite three people to accompany him to Madison Square Garden to receive the award. He chose his father, Rance Huff P’14; the surgeon who got him back on the court twice, Dr. Geoffrey Phillips; and Packer’s varsity boys’ basketball coach, George Boutis, who supported him through the rehabilitation processes.

“The essence of this award is about leadership and courage,” said Coach Boutis. “Pharoah embodied these qualities both on and off the court in how he played the game, his role as team captain, and how he handled coming back from two knee injuries.”

Pharoah said he was honored to be associated with a name like Dave DeBusschere. “As a player in the ‘70s, he was known for his toughness and leadership,” he said. “Those are qualities that I would like to attribute to myself.”

At mid-court in Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2014: (left to right) Dr. Geoffrey Phillips, Packer Boys Varsity Basketball Coach George Boutis, former Knicks star Larry Johnson, Debusschere-Awardee Pharoah Sutton-Jackson ’14, and Pharoah’s dad, Rance Huff P’14.

Photos on this page courtesy of the New York Knicks and the Madison Square Garden Company