Basketball academy teaches more then just hoops

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 08:21:38-05

It was a busy night at Morgan State University.  Five back to back games made up the first night of the Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy.  Teams from all over the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area brought their A-games.

"This is out of our league, so this is actually a good opportunity for us," said Dunbar High School Senior, Tremaine Tazewell.

For 400 student athletes with a passion for the game, this is a perfect opportunity. 

"I choose to work hard every day, I go to practice, make my team better and my teammates," said Theodora Roosevelt High School Junior Brandon Howell.

The basketball academy is the largest and most successful of its kind.  But the three day program isn't just about the on court experience.  In fact, 20 years ago the academy was started to make sure inner city athletes were also focusing on academics.  So along with the slam dunks comes SAT prep.

"There's more to life then basketball," BCPS Basketball Academy Co-Chair, Warren Hayman said.  "They have the potential to be what they want to be, if in fact they use the same skills on the court that they use in the classroom."

Before the games start, all of the players have a full day of academic workshops and cultural enrichment trips.  Organizers hope the experience of being on a college campus will open some of the athlete's eyes, and light a fire in them for their future.

"The student athletes are really leaders in their community, so if you give them skills besides basketball, they have a lot to carry back,” Hayman said.

And winning the games is pretty fun too.

"Dedicate yourself and have determination, and you'll make it," Howell said. 

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