Deprived US youths win scholarship through basketball

June 26th, 2011 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Miami, June 26 (IANS/EFE) An American organisation is helping underprivileged youths who play outstanding basketball attend university on sports scholarships.

The Miami All Stars is a non-profit institution that promotes basketball in Florida state with an emphasis on sportmanship, leadership, respect and positive mental attitude. It is financed by private donations and government subsidies.

Most of the underprivileged players are Hispanics who come from struggling single-parent families.

“Through sport we can integrate these boys so they can develop as basketball players and as human beings,” coach and director Carlos Alamilla said.

The organisation’s main goal is to teach the young men excel in basketball in order to win scholarships to college.

“The basketball programmes at some universities can lead to multimillion-dollar contracts,” Alamilla said.

“For universities, winning a championship brings in a lot of money; so they want the best players. That’s why these institutes of higher learning offer full scholarships, including registration fees and living expenses for the students,” he said.

“Basketball is the perfect solution for many young people from low-income families. It’s the key to getting out of that situation and being able to study,” Alamilla said.

Daniel Lopez, who plays with the Miami All Stars, says: “I wanted to play in other cities of the US and study in a good university at the same time.”

“My dream is to play in the NBA and be able to help my family,” he says.

Stephan Dimitrjevich, 19, has already won a scholarship at a university in New York after training with the team.

“I’m very grateful to Carlos and to the whole team for having helped prepare me as a person and as a basketball player,” he said.

–IANS/EFE
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