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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA hoops league wraps up

    Coaches Demetrious Wood, far left, and Cleveland Miles III look on as two players collide in the final seconds of an ASUA youth basketball league tournament yesterday afternoon.
    Coaches Demetrious Wood, far left, and Cleveland Miles III look on as two players collide in the final seconds of an ASUA youth basketball league tournament yesterday afternoon.

    McKale Center has seen its fair share of great players over the years, but yesterday it housed a different set of basketball champions.

    Hundreds of kids got the chance to play basketball in McKale yesterday for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s youth basketball league’s Championship Day.

    Families proudly watched the playoff and championship games from the stands, armed with cameras and video recorders.

    “”Playing in McKale Center is like gold,”” said fifth-grader Kareem Elfealah, whose team, the Ballers, won the championship for the younger bracket.

    His teammate, Andres Gomez, agreed.

    “”Playing at the McKale Center is for legends,”” Gomez said.

    This is the 12th year ASUA has put on the free basketball league, said John Chapman, ASUA director of community development.

    More than 500 elementary and middle school students participated in this year’s league, up from 120 participants last year, Chapman said.

    The league targets “”at-risk”” youth, from fourth- to eighth-graders, and offers basketball and cheerleading programs, said Cassiopeia Sonn, ASUA administrative vice president.

    “”All the coaches, referees and scorekeepers are UA students,”” Sonn said. “”It’s entirely student-run. We want the students on campus to get the kids interested in higher education.””

    Daniel Rock, a basketball coach, said this was his first year participating in the program and that he’d love to come back next year.

    “”My team is the Electric Eels,”” said Rock, a journalism sophomore. “”A couple of the kids came up with the name.””

    Cleveland Miles III, who coaches the Baby Bulls with ASUA Sen. Ryan Montana Erickson, said the team’s motto is “”each one teach one”” because everybody teaches and learns from somebody else.

    “”It’s about more than winning,”” said Miles, a business management senior. “”It’s about learning to respect each other and be individuals. Winning is a by-product of that.””

    Ruben Palma said before the playoffs he hoped his son’s team, the Baby Bulls, would win the championship. They went into the playoffs with an undefeated record and took second place on Championship Day, losing in overtime to the Ballers.

    Palma said the coaches were great at teaching kids the fundamentals of basketball, and that his son, Vinny, plans to play in the league next year.

    “”The coaches have been wonderful,”” Palma said, “”They do basic training with the kids, dribbling and passing.””

    Erickson, a public management and policy junior, said the league is a great way for the university to have a positive impact on the community.

    “”The kids are great,”” Erickson said. “”All of them have a good attitude, none of them complain and they all pass to each other. They just want to have a good time.””

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