Natchez to add new AAU team

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2001

The basketball season may have just ended, but two Natchez men would like to extend the season well into the summer for some of the Natchez area’s top players.

Harrison Knight and Michael Calcote are currently working hard to get a 17-and-under AAU team for the area.

&uot;Bob Brown already has a 15-and-under team (Natchez Red Devils), but we want to put together another 12-player team,&uot; Knight said. &uot;We really think this will give these kids an opportunity to compete and improve their skills. Hopefully this will help develop leadership skills, sportsmanship and character in these young men.&uot;

AAU basketball has grown tremendously in the United States during the past 10 years. Tournaments are held throughout the country, and each year national champions are crowned in several age groups.

The vast majority of the top college players in the country spent their summers competing at the AAU level before taking their game to the next level.

&uot;This team will help our players get better for their upcoming high school seasons, and it will give them some exposure,&uot; Knight said. &uot;Most of the top players in the country play at the AAU level, and college coaches are always at these tournaments. In fact, that is how West Virginia discovered Jarrod West.&uot;

West was a star at Cathedral High School, who went on to lead WVU into the NCAA Sweet 16 as a senior.

&uot;We plan to have tryouts as soon as we get the paperwork back from AAU and we can secure a gym,&uot; Knight said.

Getting the right players and putting together a schedule are the least of the groups problems.

What the group really needs are additional sponsors to help with the travel costs.

If you would like to help, please contact Knight at 442-8500 or Calcote at 442-8778.

Already on board as sponsors are Callon Petroleum, Concordia Bank, Thomas O’Beirne, Dr. Jerry Iles, AmSouth Bank and Verona Sanders.

&uot;I would like to give special thanks to United Mississippi Bank, Natchez Community Hospital and Bob Brown for helping us get this thing started,&uot; Knight said.