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Basketball clinic encouraging positive behavior among students

2/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

WEST AKRON — School-age children are being invited to have fun while learning about the dangers of violence in the annual Shoot Basketball Not People Free Basketball Clinic Feb. 17 at Buchtel Community Learning Center, located at 1040 Copley Road.

This second annual event, presented in collaboration with DJ Mr. King, the Kenmore Youth Basketball League, Essentials Basketball Academy, MKU Athletics and the Young Black Professionals Coalition (YBPC), is part of a national campaign started by Garry Mills, according to YBPC Vice President Steve King, who is also DJ Mr. King.

“This event offers kids a fun activity in a safe environment, where the focus will be on the positive things they can do,” said King. “At the same time, we will take time to explore decision-making and bullying and other underlying causes that may lead to gun violence in the hopes that we can help them learn to make decisions that deter violence.”

The national campaign, organized by Shoot Baskets Not People Inc., which is a nonprofit organization started in Philadelphia, provides a basketball program that aims to reduce gun-related violence and encourages physical activity and sportsmanlike conduct on and off the basketball court, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

King explained the goal of the free basketball clinic event in Akron is to provide more than 200 school-age youths with an opportunity to explore basketball in a positive manner while educating them on the dangers of violence in their community. In addition to having fun playing basketball, students will have the opportunity to interact with peers and community mentors in a positive environment, he added.

The Akron event will offer an Elementary Clinic for students in prekindergarten through sixth grade from 8 a.m. to noon, and a Middle and High School Clinic for seventh- through 12th-graders from 1 to 5 p.m. The clinic is open to both boys and girls and is being offered on a day when students do not have school due to Presidents’ Day.

King said skills development and some competitive fun games will be included in the clinics.

Also planned are motivational speakers, a free lunch and T-shirts for participants.

This year, the speaker will be former University of Akron (UA) guard Alex Abreu, who will speak to youths about making good decisions both on and off the basketball court. Abreu, 22, was a leading scorer and helped lead UA to a 24-5 record and the MAC regular season championship in 2012 before being arrested in 2013 and charged with a third-degree felony for trafficking in marijuana, according to King. Abreu pled guilty to trafficking in marijuana and received probation, according to records with the Summit County Clerk of Courts.

“Abreu was removed from the team and lost a wonderful opportunity all because he made a bad decision,” said King. “Hearing it from ‘the horse’s mouth’ will make more of an impact on the kids.”

King added other speakers are planned.

Registration for this event is open until Feb. 10, but registration will close at 200. Parents can register their children at sbnp2014.eventbrite.com.

For more information about the event, call King at 330-701-8327 or Garry Mills at 267-320-2643.

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