Youth basketball outreach grows
Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Rev. David Wade witnessed substantial growth this year in the second annual 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament that he organizes for the purpose of outreach.
The event featured 14 teams totaling 42 players, watched by what Wade estimated was approximately 100 people at the beginning on Saturday at the Robert W. Harrell Jr. Physical Health and Education Center on Bank Street. Last year, the tourney included eight teams.
Wade gave some details on why he puts on the competition, intended for boys and girls, ages 10-18.
Email newsletter signup
“I’m the youth pastor at East End Baptist Church, and so I think it was pretty much an opportunity to get, not only our youth, but the youth of the community to come together” to do something fun and exciting, Wade said.
It was born out of a simple question Wade was asked last year by East End’s pastor at the time, Mark Croston: “What can you do to reach out to the community?”
Wade got the idea of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament around March 2013 and realized he could tie it in nicely with college basketball’s March Madness. He had limited time to organize it, then, however.
“We didn’t really have much advertising,” he said.
So, with more opportunity to plan for the 2014 edition of the event, Wade said it was decided, “This time, we’ll do it a little different. We’ll do it a little bigger. We advertised it to all the high schools.”
King’s Fork High School had the best representation among the high schools, with multiple players from the 2013-14 squad.
Standout Bulldog from the 2012-13 season, Rod Parrett, won Most Valuable Player honors on Saturday after leading his team to four wins, including the tournament championship. Games lasted for 15 minutes or until one team scored 10 points.
Parrett’s team also included Kevon Randolph and Jonathan Holloway, a contributor on the hardwood for King’s Fork this past year.
Parrett came home last week for spring break from Louisburg College, where he has been playing this year, and he explained how he learned about the 3-on-3 competition.
“Jon Holloway, he had called me and told me about a few days before the tournament,” he said.
Parrett said it meant a lot to be able to play in the event and was glad to be part of Wade’s outreach.
Wade said John F. Kennedy Middle School and other middle and elementary schools were represented. Aside from East End Baptist Church, Gates of Heaven Church of God in Christ fielded multiple teams, including one that received medals for its heart. It featured players on the lower end of the age range who still had to take on the older teams.
One of those younger players, Kaeveion Carroll, said he enjoyed “just having fun, dribbling the ball and making shots.”
Wade and East End also partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia Suffolk Unit.
“We had two teams to come from there,” Wade said.
Unit director Reggie Carter said the organization became aware of the tournament a couple months in advance.
“Rev. Wade, he reached out to us,” Carter said. They got acclimated to each other, and Carter later added, “With the age group that he has and the age group that I have, it was just kind of a perfect match.”
Players on the Boys and Girls Club teams ranged in age from 11 to 15.
Carter said the Boys and Girls Club leadership thought the 3-on-3 tourney was something their kids would enjoy, “So we jumped right on it.”
While Carter did not get the opportunity to attend personally, he said a club representative who was there said he thought it went very well, and players from the club logged some wins.
Following the tournament, Wade and a team of older players called “Old School” played the winning three-man team plus two other young players in a 5-on-5 exhibition match. For the second year in a row, Old School won.