When the Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy was founded in 1997, originally named the Mayor's Basketball Academy, the goal was to put academics and athletics together in a three-day package of classroom learning and quality play on the court.
The 20th BCPS Basketball Academy is set to run Thursday through Saturday at Morgan State University with a full slate of boys and girls basketball games each day and much more behind the scenes.
In addition to the games — 20 are slated with 21 boys and girls teams participating — the three-day program offers academics, cultural enrichment and service learning to middle school and high school student athletes, along with parents, coaches, teachers and school administrators. Classes provide help on college admissions, social media, SAT preparations and hit other areas. The student-athletes also will take field trips to Great Blacks in Wax Museum and Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
"The idea is to give the students athletes an opportunity to get more familiar with the entrance exam for college and also give them a heads-up on other areas such as social media, drug abuse and gang awareness. We feel these things are not covered in the classroom on a regular basis and we want to take advantage of the opportunity with the academy," said Dr. Warren Hayman, co-chairperson of the Academy with founder and former BCPS Coordinator of Athletics Bob Wade.
"We recognize that student athletes are leaders in their schools and our idea is that things they get from the three days at the academy, they can then transfer them to the other students in their schools."
More than 10,000 student-athletes have been part of the Academy since its debut in 1997.
Patterson senior guard Dequan Jones, who is still weighing his college options with Goucher topping his list, is looking forward to his third year participating at the academy.
"It's fun," he said. "We get to experience going to school on a college campus and it's cool. Some of the classes to teach you deal with the SAT tests and how to get through it. They give tips that have really helped me out."
Rivals on the court, the students-athletes from the different schools also have a chance to bond off of it.
"It's not just about the athletic portion of it, but the camaraderie of going to class with the other teams, everybody taking in that valuable information that's provided by the instructors," City coach Daryl Wade said. "I think it carries on back to the community that we're just different schools but all the same people and it helps these kids move forward with their college careers, whether it's playing ball or just being a student."
The 20th annual Basketball Academy, featuring many of the area's top boys and girls basketball teams, will take place Thursday-Saturday at Morgan State University. Tickets are $10 for each day with children under 5 admitted free. For more information, go to http://bballacademy.com/. Here's a look at the daily schedule:
No. 14 Poly vs. Milford Mill, 3 p.m.
No. 8 Western vs. Bell, 4:15 p.m.
Dunbar vs. Theodore Roosevelt, 5:30 p.m.
Friends vs. Woodlawn, 6:45 p.m.
Randallstown vs. Edmondson, 8 p.m.
City vs. Western Tech, 3 p.m.
Edmondson vs. Milford Mill, 4:15 p.m.
No. 12 City vs. Randallstown, 5:30 p.m.
No. 6 Lake Clifton vs. Thomas Stone, 6:45 p.m.
Riverdale Baptist vs. Wesleyan Christian, 8 p.m.
No. 13 Patterson vs. IMHOTEP, 9:15 p.m.
Milford Mill vs. No. 8 Western, 10 a.m.
Western Tech vs. No. 14 Poly, 11:15 a.m.
Bell vs. City, 12:30 p.m.
Milford Mill vs. Friends, 1:45 p.m.
Thomas Stone vs. Dunbar, 3 p.m.
Theodore Roosevelt vs. No. 12 City, 4:15 p.m.
IMHOTEP vs. Riverdale Baptist, 5:30 p.m.
Woodlawn vs. No. 6 Lake Clifton, 6:45 p.m.
Wesleyan Christian vs. No. 13 Patterson, 8 p.m.