Scott’s All*Stars eighth-grade boys’ basketball team had a retreat last week to mentally and physically prepare for the this week’s Amateur Athletic Union Division I national tournament in Orlando.
During the retreat, which was July 2-4, the All*Stars focused on team-building activities “and continuing to treat each other like family,” said team founder and coach Marcus Scott IV. The team had two eight-hours-a-day practices and scrimmaged in Savannah against the Savannah Extreme.
“We were able to successfully defeat their eighth- and ninth-grade teams in back-to-back games, improving to 42-5 with 25 consecutive victories,” Scott said. “Our kids did an excellent job against a Savannah Extreme eighth-grade team that was previously unbeaten and an oversized ninth-grade team. They did this on the second day of the eight-hour practice. I wanted them to get used to playing tired, because we will be in Orlando for 10 days and their legs will be tired on the last few days.”
The All*Stars also heard from Dr. Leroy Zimmerman, former educator and president of the 100 Black Men, and his son, Rodney Zimmerman, who played for UCLA and the Detroit Pistons. They spoke about the importance of good leadership. Then, Rodney Zimmerman, who stands 6-foot-10, took them outside to show them different post moves.
The SAS eighth-graders were invited to this year’s national tourney, which starts Thursday. Scott said that only the top 110 teams in the country were invited for eighth grade.
“Just being on a top-100 team in the nation is a major accomplishment for our kids,” he said. “Only the top 15 teams from Georgia were invited.”
Scott added that he is excited about the level of competition the team will face this weekend. Many players the team will compete against one day will be in the NBA and/or play Division I basketball.
“I also feel we have a few kids that will play in NBA and will play Division I basketball,” he said. “However, we always stress the goal is to maintain your grades where you are academically eligible to play Division I basketball in college. Every year, the requirements for D-I basketball seem to increase. We let our kids know to not focus on the minimum requirements. Our motto is ‘Excellence is expected.’ I tell them good grades will lead them to a promising future, whether that is in the NBA or being a physician.”
Nationals run through July 20. Anyone wishing to donate can go to www.scottsallstars.com or call 912-655-4371.