Basketball in Milton Keynes is still on the up, and as well as offering opportunities for youngsters to play the game, the city’s club is set to enter a senior team into a regional league next season.
Milton Keynes Basketball Club has entered a team to compete in England Basketball Division Four in 2013-14, but only after an action-packed summer of activities across the city.
The team will be called the MK Mustangs and will largely be made up of teenagers who have come to the fore through the club’s impressive work in the community.
The club, formed last year, has been actively involved in promoting basketball in city schools through the ‘Hoops 4 Life’ programme and has also launched a summer initiative for the school holidays.
Aimed at players from the age of seven to 17, the club will be organising free basketball sessions every day during the school break at many outdoor courts around the city.
The Hoops 4 Life strategy is to use sport as a vehicle for learning, through the use of elite players and coaches to demonstrate how basketball can be a life changing game.
And the club’s ‘Boys 2 Men’ project has just been piloted at Milton Keynes Academy, with a huge success rate. A group of Year 8 students were included in an eight-week programme of basketball skills and drills, plus mentoring session with elite players over breakfast.
The pupils involved have benefitted from an increase in self confidence and worth, which has shown a reduction in poor behaviour – and even an improvement in academic results. The programme is set to start in other schools from September.
With the formation of the senior MK Mustangs, players now have an end goal to work to, and trials to join the club’s youth ranks are being held at MK Academy, Leadenhall on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm for current Year 8 pupils and below, and at the same time on Wednesdays for current Year 9 students and above.
Meanwhile young players continue to represent the city far and wide. Harry Turner is currently on a month long trip to Lithuania, Jordan Spencer is representing Great Britain U20s in Romania, and Chris Tawiah (pictured above) has been awarded a full scholarship to the Frank Phillips College in Texas.