Area students assemble AAU basketball team of their own
Published 12:05 am Monday, May 26, 2014
NATCHEZ — This summer didn’t start off the way Jacquan Johnson planned it, but the 13-year-old didn’t take the negatives as a loss, but instead, he turned it into an entirely better situation.
Johnson and his friend, Devonta Castel were waiting on a call to find out when AAU basketball practice would start only to never hear the phone ring.
The two weren’t invited to play with the Mississippi Bobcats, which Johnson said he was looking forward to.
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But Johnson said he refused to sit at home all summer, so he and Castel got together and decided to form their own basketball team.
“I told him what if we get our own team together,” Johnson said. “He thought it was a good idea, and we started asking boys from our school (Morgantown Middle School) and the Martin gym recreation league to play.
“None of them ever played AAU basketball before.”
Once the duo persuaded 12 boys to join their potential team, they still needed one more person — a coach.
Johnson said he remembered seeing Dennis Davis Jr. coaching a team in the Martin recreational league earlier, and thought he would be a good fit for the team.
“He coached against us (in the Martin gym league), but he was a good coach and we just went up to him and asked him to coach us,” Johnson said.
Davis said his players had the talent, they just have to work on gelling as a unit.
“We have to become a cohesive unit first.” Davis said, “It’s all about discipline so everybody can fall in place.”
With a newly developed AAU team created by a pair of preteens, the Natchez Dream Team was born and it was evident they were new.
The team had no money, no uniforms and no sponsors, but they did have a determined group of children.
With the help of Davis and a few parents, the players put on a few fundraisers to get them on the court and playing against some competition.
They won, and they won again.
The Dream Team has played in two tournaments, and has won first place in each.
“We went to our first tournament in Hammond, La., and lost the first game, but we got ourselves together and beat that same team by 20 points in the championship,” Davis said. “Then we won the May Madness tournament here in Natchez.”
Next for the young team, is a tournament at Jackson State University in June, and they plan to host more fundraisers for the travel and lodging fees.
“We are going to do another carwash and maybe a barbecue to help get us to Jackson and pay for a hotel to stay in,” Davis said.
What Davis said they’re really looking for, is sponsors to help a group of young boys make their way from tournament to tournament and show the basketball world what they have.
Champ can be reached at 601-870-9910.