Natchez Recreation Department Youth Basketball League begins registration

Published 12:02 am Sunday, December 24, 2017


NATCHEZ — For Wilbert Whittley, there’s no sense in fixing something that isn’t broken.

For the past 17 years Whittley has led the City of Natchez Recreation Department Youth Basketball League, and he said it is still as strong as ever.

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“Everything in our program works. We are probably the oldest youth basketball program in the city,” he said. “Everybody gets the opportunity to play, and they really are good kids.”

Registration for this year’s league will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Margaret Martin Gymnasium.

League play is for girls and boys ages 4 to 12, and registration is $35 for the first child and $30 for each additional child in the same family.

Whittley said the organization usually averages anywhere from 150 to 300 players each year, and the benefits have yet to subside.

“We just want to make it fun because you want them to participate more,” he said. “At the end of the year, you can tell how much everyone has come together at our awards ceremony. There are so many smiling faces. Everything is worth it, to see all the work pay off.”

Whittley said the reason the program has been so successful is due to the way coaches nurture and provide for the children one-on-one.

“As long as you give them attention, they love it,” he said. “We don’t stress winning because you never know what kind of situation they are in. After it’s over, we might find a rocket scientist. You never know.”

The help, Whittley said, comes purely from volunteers.

“We are always looking for parents to coach,” he said. “Even some of the high school basketball players come out to coach, and that’s a great experience.”

Though things seem like smooth sailing from here, Whittley said he would have no problem tweaking the program if something were to go askew.

“If we see something that didn’t work last year, we always like to build on one year to the next,” he said. “You don’t want too many changes, though. We just want to make everything fun, not only for the kids but for the parents, too.”

The program is scheduled to run from Jan. 13 to March 31. For more information or additional questions, contact Whittley at 601-446-2762.