Birmingham Basketball Academy to start community basketball leagues

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

There’s no doubting that football is the most prominent sport in the state and in Shelby County. Whether a Friday night or Saturday afternoon, it seems most sports fans in the area are at or watching a game of some kind.

While football might be the most-followed sport in the state, the Birmingham Basketball Academy is looking to grow the sport of basketball through the establishment of local community leagues — namely with a team in Montevallo.

“Our goal is to provide a competitive environment (and) a balanced league,” said Bill Ivey, the Director of the BBA.

The league, which seeks to provide a place for kids to learn how to play the game in a competitive but nurturing atmosphere, will have teams in Brent/Centreville, Thorsby and Montevallo, and is currently looking for one more town interested.

Ivey, who is a former high school and UAB women’s basketball coach, said the league was created out of necessity.

“We realized none of these communities had competitive, high-quality youth basketball programs,” he said. “It’s not fair to the kids to expect them to be competent middle and/or high school basketball players without a strong, competitive fundamental background in the sport.”

This season, the BBA seeks to establish the foundation in a few communities before expanding the idea, Ivey said.

Each community will have a team for first through sixth grades for both boys and girls, and teams will travel to play the other community squads.

Ivey said he, along with former Calera basketball coach Robert Burdette, feel their experience is what sets the league apart from other youth leagues.

“Robert and I are serious about creating orderly, high-quality basketball experiences in Central Alabama,” he said. “Between us, we have over 50 years of coaching and camp experience.”

The league will feature a tryout session, and volunteer coaches are encouraged to participate. Ivey said all coaches will go through background checks and will be invited to participate in coaching clinics by the BBA.

The leagues will have two games before the Christmas holiday, six following and a postseason tournament, Ivey said.

The cost to participate is $95, and includes a full uniform, T-shirt, two basketballs per team and a post-season pizza party.

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