With the help of Kadiri’s 15 points, the motivated Colts routed Roosevelt, 76-56, the third time Coolidge has beaten its rival this season. The win earned Coolidge a spot in Monday night’s inaugural DCSAA title game against Ballou at Verizon Center, and on Sunday, Kadiri was already searching for a trigger to get up for the last game of his high school career. The new DCSAA tournament replaced the Abe Pollin City Title Game and features public, private and charter schools from the District.
Finding motivational devices has been key for the 6-foot-8 center this winter. In DCIAA play he keyed in on players who have talked trash to him on the AAU circuit. At a tournament in Hawaii in December, after Coolidge met perennial powerhouse Findlay Prep, he reminded himself that he had just played against highly touted prospect Chris Wood, who is headed to UNLV next year. That was likely the toughest matchup of the year for Kadiri (he scored just six points in the game) and a litmus test for where he was with his game, and where he wanted to be by the postseason. “David, he’s always hyped for anybody,” Coolidge guard Trayvaughn Newell said. “He’s had a big impact. . . he’s brought intensity for us.”
The noticeable difference in Kadiri’s game is a new and polished cache of post moves, said Jerry McFarland, who coaches Kadiri’s Virginia Assault AAU team and also assists Coach Vaughn Jones at Coolidge. Before his senior season, Kadiri was prone to improvising on the block — maybe bull-rushing to the basket on one possession, or shooting an unpolished hook on another. Over the summer, Kadiri said, he was in the gym every day shooting hundreds of hook shots and up-and-under layups, and working to improve his footwork and pivots. His aim: to develop an identity on the offensive end.
“I think he’s always been a player that’s played with energy,” McFarland said. “He didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in his footwork. And he put a lot of time in the gym in terms of improving his footwork.”
Kadiri had an epiphany of sorts in a DCIAA semifinal matchup against Wilson center Wolde Jordon, one of the more talented and physical big men in the city. After receiving the ball in the post, Kadiri backed Jordan down and spun for a “Hakeem Olajuwon-type hook shot” that earned a whistle and resulted in a three-point play.