On March 20, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, Assistant Coach Ime Udoka, and several other staff of the San Antonio Spurs dropped into the Edgewood High School basketball court. They were awaited by an eager group of middle school basketball players: the Spurs Youth Basketball League. After a barrage of of high fives and loud chants the young b-ballers were split into five groups to run through training exercises guided by none other than Murray and the pros themselves.
The groups ran through shooting, passing drills, footwork, ball handling, and dexterity drills. Children ran through each drill with assistant coaches in five minute intervals. At a glance it seemed chaotic as players ran back and forth at the guidance of the coaches.
A closer look, showed these young players ran through each obstacle with bracing confidence. The coaches held nothing back in return and moved them with a purpose through each practice and encouraging each player along the way. Murray floated from station to station offering his advice to players, and even conducting one-on-one ball handling maneuvers.
“The Spurs Youth Basketball league is in its 20th season, and it was started by Coach Pop. Their real goal was to give kids a safe place to play. To stay off the streets, and stay out of trouble,” Black and Silver Give Back Senior Fundraising Coordinator Amanda Fite told La Prensa. “It’s exciting that we get to present these opportunities to these youth players. [They are] once in a lifetime opportunities that they probably wouldn’t have any other way.”
After the coaching session was finished, a group photo op was held for the proud parents of the ball players. Murray, fresh off a stellar performance against the Golden State Warriors, stayed after his coaches had been dismissed to sign posters for each Spurs Basketball Youth League member. A memento of the day they were drilled, and put to the test by professional NBA players, and coaches.
“Part of it too is to let them (Youth League members) know that people care,” Fite said. “One day it could be them playing on the Spurs basketball court or in a NBA court, or in college. Just to know that these players were once kids as well. It gives them something to aspire to.”
For the last 28 years, Silver and Black Gives Back has been the nonprofit partner of the Spurs. The nonprofit focuses on encouraging the youth to make responsible choices and pushes them to think about their future. With the partnering of the San Antonio Spurs the Silver and Black Gives Back has been changing the lives of youth since 1988, and has no intention on going back on its message of education through service, and sports.