Meet the Southwest Louisiana Hoopers.
They are a group of young men ages 11 through 15 who will representing the tiny town of Elton, Louisiana on a world stage this year in the Inaugural Jr NBA World Championship Games. The Hoopers U14 team have secured a coveted bid to the South Regional Championship in Frisco, Texas which will be played Father’s Day Weekend- June 15- 17, 2018.
The winner of the South Regional Tournament will go on to play in the Jr NBA World Championship in ESPN World at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in mid August. This tournament will feature the winning teams from 8 regions around the United States and 8 international regional winners. The games will be televised internationally on Fox Sports and streamed online globally.
The Western And Southeast Regionals featured life skills sessions and sightings of current and retired NBA players. The regional tournaments will also be televised on FloSports which is aired on satellite services like Directv.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young men from rural Louisiana.
Crawfish farm in Elton
Elton is a small farming community located in the heart of SouthWest Louisiana. The population of Elton was approximately 1,200 at the 2000 Census. It is a town of crawfish farms and rice dryers. It is truly a place where you can see and feel the heartbeat of America.
This small town birthed and raised this young team. Playing together since most of them could walk and hold a basketball, the chemistry of this team is evident in their play. They are exciting to watch.
Sherman “Tre” Bellow, Jadon Ross and Derek Ross.
And talk about loyalty, this team has it. The team is loyal to the players from this town and the players are loyal to the team. All the boys on the team live in Elton. Their families are from Elton.
These boys have won the state championship for the Elton Little Dribblers organization four years in a row. They have placed and secured bids to the Primetime National Basketball Championships for the past three summers.
As their individual and collective success has grown, they have received offers and invitations to play on more “prestigious” organizations in larger cities. Players from all around want to be part of this team.
Three summers of SWLA Hooper Success
Despite the attractiveness of these offers, they remain loyal to their town and the team. And their loyalty and dedication paid off in not only a bid to the Jr NBA South Regional Championship, but also a bid the USA Basketball Midwest Championship at Pacers Fieldhouse in mid July. USA Basketball is the governing body for the US Olympic Basketball teams.
These tournaments bids are coveted and once in a lifetime opportunities for these boys. These are the tournaments that NBA players sons play in. These are the tournaments where scouts are present looking for the newest talent out there. The exposure and opportunity of these tournaments are priceless.
In a time when all the news your hear about young men, especially Black and Native youth is negative , it is imperative that these stories be told.
And did I mention their grades? These young men have a team average GPA of 3.5. They are on the high honor role. Some of them have been nominated as students of the year for their parish, and several have received the prestigious President’s Academic Achievement Award which honors students who maintain a 3.5 or above for the entire year. In addition, they receive the top awards for their individual classes and are also all active in their community through service projects.
The Hoopers are a multicultural team comprised of young men who are Black, white and Native Coushatta. This team is the hope for the future.
These young men can use your help. The Hoopers organization never charges a dime for these young men to play. They cover all expenses including travel, meals and tournament fees. Everything they do is from fundraising and donations. The PLAYERS do the fundraising. The parents help, but the work is done by the boys.
The community of Elton has limited capacity to help these young men. The teams from larger cities get donations from local industries, whereas the Hoopers options are severely limited.
And while the increase in prestige is exciting and enticing, it is also expensive. Right now, the boys have lost a sponsor who paid for the Nationals last year, which is a major blow. At the same time, they received these two superb offers to compete at a high level at these two major tournaments.
Their fundraising activities have included car washes, hot link and bbq hamburger sales, raffle tickets, hosting tournaments, and pork steak sale. This upcoming weekend, they will be at Coushatta’s Annual Pow Wow selling hot links and lemonade.
They also have a Go Fund Me page that deposits donations directly into their SWLA Hoopers account. Click on the link to make a donation. Any donation- large or small helps get these boys to these tournaments. If you can’t donate, please share their story to spread the word.
They were recently interviewed by ABC affiliate KPLC Lake Charles and look forward to seeing their story highlighted on the local television news.
You don’t want miss this. It’s gon be good!
Hard Work Pays Off