Local coach promotes Leadership through Basketball
Kamau Wilkins says there is a huge interest in competitive youth basketball in the Rochester area. The problem is, for many, participation in a year-round program can be cost-prohibitive.
Wilkins now hopes a new type of program will create opportunities for young athletes to improve their skills, on and off the court.
Leadership Through Basketball was created this past winter as a way for students at John Adams Middle School to stay involved in organized basketball. Wilkins, who coaches youth hoops, says the goal is to provide an affordable alternative so his players can continue to compete.
“A lot of my kids — a lot of kids in Rochester — don’t have access to a thousand dollars to cover the costs [of a travel basketball program],” said Wilkins. “So, they don’t get to play.”
In addition to playing ball together, Wilkins is encouraging his players to get involved in the community. Soon, for example, they will visit a community garden to learn about sustainable agriculture.
“Basketball is really important,” he said. “But it’s also about life skills. We really want to make sure we’re creating community leaders.”
On June 19, a pair of local businesses are teaming up to support Leadership Through Basketball. Little Thistle Brewing and Casablanca Creative Cuisine will host a fundraiser on the Casablanca patio in Barlow Plaza from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be food, beverages and live entertainment. Tickets are $10 and are available at both businesses’ booths at Thursdays Downtown.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.