Albany basketball showcase brings out young talent

Teams huddle before the game discussing  rules of the tournament
Teams huddle before the game discussing rules of the tournament(WALB)
Published: Sep. 11, 2022 at 9:40 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -The Good Life City showcased its talent Sunday evening in a blacktop basketball tournament.

Two separate gyms at Monroe High School housed the games. One had adults (over 18) and the other had games for the boys and girls teams. The games were 30 minutes long and were one period.

Albany 229ers anxiously wait to get into the game.
Albany 229ers anxiously wait to get into the game.(WALB)

“We’re doing it for the community, just bring us all together and play a game that we all love, ”Gian Kerlegon, one of the basketball players, said.

These types of events keep are what Kerlegon said keeps his mind off of what’s going on in his life and feeds his competitive spirit.

“People think Albany is violent. It’s just good seeing everyone getting together and just have peace. And doing what we love,” Elijah Rivers, a 8th grade ball player, said.

He said there’s nothing like competition with your friends. He wants to get more of these opportunities.

“We have a lot of courts, they’re just not open all week, so I feel like there should be a couple more courts that can be open,” Rivers said.

Steven Belk, the new Albany Parks and Recreation Director, helped organize the event and said more events like the showcase are what Albany residents want.

“These kids are coming out an hour, even two hours before it starts. These kids have been practicing since 9am and wearing their jersey all day. You can see the need and want of this type of thing in Albany,” Belk said.

Belk is from Albany, but spent time in New York. He saw the handball and basketball culture there. Now he wants to bring it to the Good Life City.

He said it doesn’t matter the population difference, Albany can still foster the same type of environment. Belk wants to get kids off the streets and into gyms. He said to expect events like this with different sports like pickle ball, handball and flag football.

For parents, it’s about getting their kids active and to showcase their skills in front of coaches before the school’s basketball season starts.

“Instead of playing video games, they are here at this event add with the community. I think it’s a great event,” Quanona Crittenden, one parent, said.

The next showcase is planned for two weeks from now.