Basketball Wall Street: “A Sense of Quality, Sports City U”

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Basketball Wall Street:”A Sense of Quality, Sports City U”

The Ohio based Sports City U girls grassroots basketball program started out in 2008 with legendary West Virginia shooting coach Jimmy Clayton as the head coach. The present director and head coach of the club is Bryce McKey. McKey is a hardworking and focused coach whose goals are to properly cultivate student-athletes into top tier collegiate prospects. “We ultimately want to prepare our players to be successful on and off the court. Our largest on court goal is to teach players how to compete. We look to teach them how to compete against a common goal (another team),how to compete against each other for playing time, and how to compete against themselves to be the best they can be. If a player goes to college never having to compete for playing time…that may make for a very difficult freshman year. We want them to be the most prepared freshman at their University of choice. We also want to build a team in which players will build lifelong friendships and memories.”
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The organization has been very successful as a travel club, in seven years every prospect has received a scholarship to attend a division one school. This years team consists of Team USA U16 Gold Medalist Zia Cooke, a dynamic 5’9″ junior point-guard from Toledo, Ohio. Michigan recruit 6-foot-2 senior standout forward Naz Hillmon. Clever guard Taylor Mikesell a 5’9″ senior committed to Maryland. 5-foot-10 Abby Prohaska is a senior guard with a strong skill-set who has made a verbal pledge to attend Notre Dame. Athletic 6-foot senior wing Jamir Houston is headed to South Beach to play for coach Katie Meier and the University of Miami. The club is also filled with many other top tier prospects.”We believe that if we do what we’re supposed to do, when we are supposed to do it, winning with take care of itself. We do not play in many if any non-exposure tournaments. We did not play a single game in May or June this year. We would rather use our time to practice, train and prepare for exposure periods. We also practice at an incredibly. Most people think we have the best players and the rest takes care of itself. Our players don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for the amount of work they put in on their own.”
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The SCU program has been very successful, many other travel clubs do not have nearly the same success. Coach McKey has a concrete method to being a quality organization. “While I don’t think any organization trying to help kids are failing, I think there are many reasons why clubs could do better or perform at a higher level. I think the first is that people prioritize winning over other things rather than the process of what it takes to win. We live in an age where everyone looks for the quick fix and that is not a way to sustain success. I also believe there are a great deal of egos in the grassroots game which can get in the way of the ultimate goal of preparing players to compete and be the best they can be. It is also difficult to truly put in the time to do things the right way (planning, executing etc..) It is hard to find good people as mentors for these kids. We are fortunate to have Cindy Martin, a former D1 and D2 head coach on our staff who not only has a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience but is also a mother and great role model. I think that is really important. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.”
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The Sports City U program has never been sponsored by Nike, Adidas, Under Amour or any company. The organization relies on their coaching and organization skills and has never subscribed to needing a sponsor to be a relevant, successful club. “For some sponsorship is a great thing, for us it has never been a priority.We have always been a club that goes where it makes the most sense for our team to play in that period in time rather than have our schedule dictated by a shoe company. It doesn’t change the quality of the team that we have because we don’t play in a “league”. For other programs, the shoe company is their major selling point which helps those programs attract top players who want to wear Nike etc. I think there are very good teams in each of the circuits, we simply aren’t interested in flying all over the country when what we have done is a proven model. We also don’t believe that it has a large effect on exposure, as coaches are going to come where the players are whether they are wearing Jordan uniforms or cotton T-Shirts.”

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