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So when Williams finishes his macabre roll call, there are 24 names -- 24 friends from around the treacherous section of Newark locals call "The Jungle. Then Isaiah Williams, arguably the most important player on a college basketball team poised to become a darling of March Madness, imagines what would happen if his younger brother, Kevin, ends up on that list. He wrestles the thought because Kevin Williams, a year younger, has fought the pull of the streets for years.

And it was just 14 months ago when Isaiah, a well-traveled, 6-foot-7 junior guard on the verge of stardom and a professional career, walked away from Iona without telling anyone because his brother was in the middle of the trouble. Isaiah was willing to risk his ticket out of The Jungle -- willing to throw his own life away -- to save Kevin's. Williams eventually returned to Iona and has helped the Gaels to a record this season and a No. His girlfriend, coaches and teammates say Isaiah spontaneously bursts into tears. And he checks each phone message and text like a man dreading the worst.

And will he have to return home to save Kevin again?


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The mostly two-story apartment clusters have metal bars on windows and front doors. The Jungle gets its name from an open area in the back of the complex, where tall oaks rise between the buildings, creating the aura of an urban jungle. The 2-story apartment complex is referred to as "The Jungle" because of the large oak trees and violence that occurs in the area. On a recent morning, Kevin Williams shows visitors the neighborhood where he and Isaiah grew up.

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A man loiters on a stoop in the degree chill. Kevin explains the man is keeping lookout for police or rivals. Sirens dominate what should be a quiet morning. Although Isaiah, Kevin and the police veteran say the Jungle is controlled by the Grape Street Crips street gang, there are frequent clashes over territory. Charlezetta lived in apartment 39B on Mercer Street with her mother, three sons and a daughter until moving three blocks away six years ago.

Isaiah was the man of the house, the family's protector, and says his dad was never around. He shared a bed with Kevin until they were 11, and Charlezetta dressed them identically as if they were twins. And always, Charlezetta tried to keep her boys inside. She bought them a mini-hoop to play in their room and shelled out money for every video game system.

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But Isaiah still would play basketball all day at the Mercer Street courts on the corner of Springfield Avenue, coming home with hands black as coal from dribbling. Death was a frequent interruption. In January , a man who taught Isaiah how to play basketball -- "Smooch," whose real name was Samir Wilkins -- was stabbed to death in a Manhattan nightclub. In July , another mentor -- "P-Roc," whose real name was Darnel Slaughter -- was shot to death in a car parked on Broome Street , a block from Isaiah's home.

Around the same time, Isaiah says, he survived three shootings. The first was outside the JFK rec center two blocks from The Jungle, when a car drove by and fired into a crowd. The second followed a fight between Isaiah's friends and neighborhood rivals.

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The third came when Isaiah was in a car that ended up in a rival neighborhood and was sprayed with 10 shots. Somehow, nobody was hurt in the shootings. It could be your mother, your grandmother.


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  8. If they want to kill somebody, they're just going to shoot the crowd and just keep going. These are the same streets Kevin has battled off and on for so many years.

    Isaiah, whom everyone in the neighborhood still calls "Ockee," says he always steered clear of selling drugs or pledging allegiance to a gang. But Kevin admits being drawn in. I liked wearing bright colors. I liked to stand out. But you know you gotta look over your back, that's not good.

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    He played junior varsity that year and expected to start on the varsity team as a sophomore. When that didn't happen, he stopped going to school. He says he played basketball all day at the courts on Springfield Avenue, confused and lost. Nobody can make me go to school. After about three months, he knew he had to change. The odyssey that followed sent him through the murky underworld of basketball. He resurfaced as a senior in at Shabazz High, playing only the final 11 games of the season, but helping the team win the Group 2 state championship. Isaiah flourished in Florida, averaging 17 points and 8.

    He also earned his associate's degree in the arts.


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    After eight schools in five states, Isaiah Williams was a Division 1 scholarship player. It didn't take long for him to almost give it all back. The Jungle was a virtual war zone. In January, a teenager was shot and killed on the block of Court Street, according to police. Five months later, a counselor at Speedway Avenue School and another adult were killed on Mercer Street.

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    Browne, July 14, Gateway to the Mountains. Town of Thurmont Settled 10 Frederick Road. Organized Maryland image. Click for full size. Hammond Brown, and Frank L. Bentz, who gathered for a weekend of fishing at the Catoctin Recreation Area above Thurmont, it was just the name of a bird. The jungle cock name solely refers to the neck feather of the Indian Jungle Fowl now endangered , whose colorful feathers are sought by anglers for fly-tying.

    In the early days of the BOJC, members wore a single jungle cock feather in their hats to let others know they were part of the organization. Those few men who gathered in the s decided to create an organization whose purpose was to share angling with youth in order to carry forward the love of the sport. The first annual camp fire was officially held there in the spring of The organization hosted participants this year.