by Michael Clark for CantonCharge.com
The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour, the NBA’s youth basketball participation program for boys and girls ages 6-14, tipped off its expanded efforts with the inaugural Jr. NBA Week.
The Jr. NBA teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.
All 30 NBA teams participated in Jr. NBA Week by hosting youth basketball events in their communities and during their open practices. The NBA and Under Armour hosted national launch events in Baltimore, Lexington, Ky., New York, Phoenix and San Antonio, featuring current and former NBA and WNBA players. In total, more than 100 events were held during Jr. NBA Week.
“This weeklong celebration of our game’s youngest participants is the perfect way to tip off our expanded Jr. NBA efforts,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “And I look forward to working with the Jr. NBA Leadership Council to support these programs together with our teams, our partners and the youth basketball community.”
The YMCA of Central Stark County and the Charge have partnered up this season through the Jr. Charge Program.
On November 19th, the Canton Charge kicked off its Jr. NBA campaign at the Lake Community YMCA. 256 children from grades 3 through 6 are included in the Jr. Charge program from the Lake YMCA. That night, Charge players put on two different clinics with 85 participants from the girls program at the Y.
Head Coach Jordi Fernandez oversaw both clinics with help from his entire coaching staff, as well as players such as Michael Dunigan, Quinn Cook, Kevin Olekaibe, D.J. Stephens, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Juvonte Reddic, JerShon Cobb, and Michael Stockton.
Participants were put through drills that taught key fundamentals in all areas of the game. Coach Fernandez stressed the importance of communication and selflessness to the participants, two key principles he preaches to his players on the Wine and Gold.
“The camp was very well organized,” Rob Dent, Sports Director at the Lake Community YMCA, said. “The Charge players were really good with the kids.”
“I was really impressed with Coach Fernandez,” added Dent. “He was very involved and you could tell how invested he was into the camp.”
All participants from the Lake YMCA will be attending “Cavs Night” with the Canton Charge on December 19th as the Charge take on rival Erie Bayhawks.
The Charge are also hosting “YMCA Night” on March 11th, where the remaining Stark County branches will attend. That night, the Finals of the YMCA’s free-throw contest will take place on the court prior to tip off versus the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
On Wednesday, December 2nd, Michael Stockton, JerShon Cobb, Kevin Olekaibe and Juvonte Reddic joined our friends from Empower Sports for a game of basketball at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Empower Sports uses sports and exercise to enrich the lives of athletes of diverse challenges and promote kindness, character, and service. Empower Sports’ vision is that ALL athletes with special needs and at-risk youth would have access to meaningful sports and exercise programs so that no one is ever left out.
Kevin Olekaibe and Michael Stockton captained their team against teammates Juvonte Reddic and JerShon Cobb. After 40 minutes of fast-paced action, the teams joined each other in a pizza party as well as a meet-and-greet with the Charge players.