For first-year Union High School boy’s basketball coach William Wright, a recent clinic for GRPS middle school students had multiple benefits.

“As a new coach in the district, I really wanted to find a way to get our younger scholar athletes engaged and excited about the game of basketball,” he said. “These middle schoolers who came out today will be entering high school soon, and they are the future of GRPS athletics. I wanted to create a space and opportunity to not only meet but have some fun and to let them know who we are.”

Mission accomplished.

In between stations, hands on his knees and catching his breath, Grayson Fellows, an eighth-grade scholar at CA Frost Environmental Science Middle High School, had a big smile on his face.

“To be able to go play basketball and have some fun on a Saturday morning when there’s nothing else to do, this is great,” he said. “I’m learning a few things and having a lot of fun. I love it.”

Hearing that kind of feedback, Wright nodded with approval.

“As coaches, we wanted to give them a little taste of the culture and environment that we are wanting to build here at Union,” he said. “I was definitely happy with the outcomes of today's clinic. Our main goal was to ensure that we created a fun environment and for everyone to feel welcomed and encouraged. We did a ton of drills today and everyone gave their best effort which is all we wanted to see today. They chose to show up and put in work.”

All told some 40 scholars took part in the two-hour clinic, held in the main gymnasium at Union High School.

The pace was fast throughout the morning as attendees moved through four different stations, each designed to teach them different skills and keep their energy levels high.

Enthusiastically assisting Wright were freshman coach On'Tre Little, Jr., junior varsity coach Ronnie Little and varsity assistant coach Marcus Moore as well as players Yoel Abraham, a senior, and Ja'Juan Nickens, a sophomore.

“It was important to have not only our staff there but also scholars who represent Union because it's that big piece of being a role model and giving back to those who are coming up behind you,” Wright said. “I want our young scholars to see what it's all about to be a Redhawk and there's no better way than to also include current high school Redhawks to help facilitate and be present with us.”

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Facebook: Grand Rapids Union RedHawks Boys Basketball