By Steven M. Glassman
Director of Sports Information
July 28, 2017
JENKINTOWN, PA—The Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund hosted the Fifth Annual Nathaniel M. Kirkland Basketball Tournament on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Manor College. Terrell was a point guard and played 40 games for the Blue Jays men's basketball team (2002-2004). This is the first year that this tournament was played at Manor College.
The Philadelphia native graduated from Manor in 2004 with an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts. Terrell later went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree from La Salle University in 2008. Terrell, who was a licensed relator in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and full-time RE/MAX Connection real estate agent in Marlton, New Jersey, was also the founder and president of the Nathaniel M. Kirkland Foundation. According to the Memorial Fund's brochure, "Terrell stressed the importance of financial literacy and personal development skills while serving as an inspiration for countless others. Terrell also provided pro bono credit counseling to hopeful first-time home buyers to help them improve their credit scores." Terrell L. Bruce died at the age of 33 on December 27, 2016, as the tragic victim of gun violence.
The Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund was founded by Terrell's fraternal twin brother Brandon S. Bruce, Esq., LL.M, who also graduated from La Salle University, but in 2005. Brandon stated that his decision to hold the annual tournament at Terrell's alma mater, Manor College, was a way to pay tribute to the special role the school served in Terrell's life: Terrell's experience at Manor College helped him become a more focused, disciplined student while also allowing him to achieve his dream of playing basketball at the collegiate level. Brandon went on to say, "I hope that the basketball tournament will raise awareness about both Nathaniel and Terrell, who are now forever connected, while also showing all those who experience a tragedy that good can come from even the worst situations if you have a positive attitude. I truly believe that beyond the dollars and cents of financial scholarships that I grant each year, the best way to honor my brothers is to live a life of selflessness by giving back to my community in their names."
According to the Memorial Fund's brochure: "The purpose of the Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund is to honor Terrell's great legacy of community service and academic excellence by continuing his charitable efforts and raising awareness about his life while encouraging others to live life the way he did; altruistically." The Memorial Fund supports numerous causes (e.g. "providing financial support and volunteer services to local animal shelters"), awards scholarships, hosts community events to help raise money.
The Memorial Fund hosted a one-day, single-elimination tournament at Manor College. The Nathaniel M. Kirkland Memorial Tournament was named after Brandon and Terrell's youngest brother. Nathaniel was a 2007 Central High School graduate and attended Dickinson College as an English major and Pre-Law student. This tournament also continues "Terrell L. Bruce's legacy and passion for basketball." It also raises money for the Nathaniel M. Kirkland Scholarship. According to the Memorial Fund's web site (https://www.terrelllbrucememorialfund.org/home.html), "Terrell started a basketball league in honor of Nate to bring the community together and raise awareness about Nate's life. The goal was to encourage others to perform community service while also serving as a means to financially support deserving Philadelphia scholars." Money was raised through registration and t-shirts. The tournament featured the mentors and mentees of "We Heard You," a Philadelphia based non-profit, Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund scholarship awardees, Tamia Santiago, recipient of the Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund Scholarship, and Isaiah Woodard, recipient of the Nathaniel M. Kirkland Scholarship, as well as a dance performance by the Science Leadership Academy at Beeber Cheerleaders directed by coach Sherria Mansell-Watts.
Altogether, the following six teams registered and participated for this tournament (in order by seed): 1. Team Poison, 2. TLB MEM FND All-Stars, 3. WHY Wildcats, 4. WHY Warriors, 5. WHY Wolves, and 6. WHY Wizards. The results of the tournament are as follows:
(4) Warriors 55, (5) Wolves 47
(6) Wizards 49, (3) Wildcats 42
(1) Team Poison 52, (4) Warriors 51
(2) TLB MEM FND All-Stars 44, (6) Wizards 36
(1) Team Poison 51, (2) TLB MEM FND All-Stars 45
Team Poison, led by scholarship recipients Isaiah Woodard and Tamia Santiago, was awarded a Championship Trophy and posed with Brandon and framed pictures of Nathaniel and Terrell and Terrell's #11 Manor College Basketball jersey.