"WHERE NATIVE BASKETBALL HAPPENS"
Some of the top athletes in the history of the United States include Native American icons like Jim Thorpe, who was considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports. He won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football at the collegiate and professional levels and also played professional baseball and basketball.
Today, more modern native athletes inlcude Soboba Tribal member, 6 foot 8 inches Josepth Burton an All State basketball player who graduated from high school in 2009 and was awarded a basketball scholarship to play for Oregon State. He recently met with President Obama and high expectations within the native american community exist for this basketball phenom.
Reservation basketball or "Rez Ball" as the native community adoringly refers to its basketball, is a cauldron of talent just waiting to be discovered. But why has there not been more native ballers surfacing to the general population? For one thing, the handful of kids who actually have graduated high school (the dropout rate on reservations is 40.7 percent according to some estimates) let alone made it to college is dismal compared to the general population.
When it comes to basketball, native youth have played the game their whole lives but they have played in a hoops black hole since college coaches don't even look for them, let alone watch them. The situation is very similar to the kids in the inner city who who have to fight through things like poverty, alcoholism, drugs, disfunctional families and who often have to do it without the person who can funnel them to some topflight program.
Enter the All-Stars Basketball Club Teams & Academy. Founder and basketball club coach Jose Morales describes his experience in scouting out Arizona's Native American community as "a community that has long revered its basketball and whose high school games and tournaments draw hundreds and even thousands to support the obvious talent that is there for all to see in full display".
With this experience in mind, the All-Stars Basketball Club Teams & Academy is debuting with a mostly native AZ All-Stars team in this weekend's Southwest Showcase Tournament. The Southwest Showcasse tournament series is one of Arizona's top venues where the state's youth basketball community consolidates with the best club basketball that the area has to offer.
Debuting with the Arizona All-Stars -Native team are a talented group of players bringing and upgraded "Rez Ball" style of play in the likes of:
- Timothy Johnson - Deadly 3-point shooter, strong rebounder, penetrates "Lebron Style".
- Bear Mosley - Shot blocker extraordinaire, owns rebounds, 6' 2" at 14 yrs old and still growing.
- Josh Gooday - Passing ability that simply "wows" the crowd, hustles and strong dribbling skills.
- Joshua Primaeaux - A stopper on defense with a shooting range sure to deliver 3-pointers.
- Robert Loring - Smooth guard game all around allowing him to play both point and shooting guard
- Marco Morales - Talented point guard with excellent 3-point shooting skills and a playmaker.
- Jarred Gittens - Rebounding skills the likes of Dennis Rodman and a strong post game.
The plan for the All-Stars system is to help make a positive difference amongst America's youth to include celebrating the country's multi-cultural legacy and the All-Stars see the Native American community as a very important segment of America's multi-cultural heritage. With this focus, the All-Stars are confident that it will be sooner than later that the next Jim Thorpe and Joseph Burton will surface from the All-Stars Basketball Club Teams and Academy.