This past spring, we ran our first-ever GET SPONSORED contest, offering head-to-toe team uniform gear to one team chosen randomly from hundreds of entrants. The Orlando Team Jayhawks were left holding the golden ticket, and we were very excited to see them play in person twice right here in Atlanta!
Now, just in time before the start of fall hoops, we're very excited to announce the winners of our Fall 2015 GET SPONSORED contest...
Miles Davis Magnet Academy is a Tier 1 elementary magnet school on the South side of Chicago, Illinois. With children ages K-8, the school houses approximately 300 students every year. The school has a rigorous academic focus, promoting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program across the student body.
Coach Emanuel Crosby is in his fourth year coaching basketball at MDMA. They typically have two squads: one for grades 5-6 and another for grades 7-8. He says that basketball is definitely the #1 sport for kids in the school, but they promote a multi-sport environment where kids play different sports in different seasons, including flag football, cross country, and track.
MDMA competes as part of the Chicago Public Schools league, with most of their opponents coming from neighboring parts of the city.
"I preach hard work and dedication," Coach Crosby explains his coaching philosophy. "I don't concern myself nearly as much with talent when building my team. Most important for me is that everyone works hard all the time."
Typically the team is in the gym 2-3 times a week during basketball season, but to be eligible to play, the students have to maintain academic performance and school attendance.
"We are in an area where many of the kids do not have school as their first priority," Coach Crosby says. "Sports gives these kids a sense of purpose, and we use this as a tool to keep them motivated and focused on their schoolwork. If they don't take care of business in the classroom, they can't play, and they know it."
Many of the Mustangs players look up to NBA stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry, but just this year, a former MDMA graduate will begin his freshman year as a member of the UMASS Minutemen basketball squad - Luwane Pipkins.
"It's amazing for a lot of these kids to see Luwane - someone who was in the same school with them when they were young - now playing at such a high level. It makes all their dreams seem that much more attainable, seeing someone come through those same doors and end up with a Division I scholarship."
Stay tuned for more info about the MDMA Mustangs this hoops season!