WRIGHTSVILLE, Ark. – A popular sport is helping some local youth achieve success in other areas of life.
The National High School Basketball Association (NHSBA) was launched in Arkansas and now helps kids across the country.
Martez Clark has a basketball scholarship to Williams Baptist and the talented player never even played ball in high school.
“It’s shell-shocking. Sometimes I still can’t believe it,” he says.
He learned to play through the NHSBA, a nonprofit that teaches basketball and life skills.
“It’s been a blessing and helped me humble myself and appreciate what I’ve got, even when I don’t have it and look at the big picture in life,” adds Martez.
NHSBA has a mentoring program that sets up young people for success.
“It helped me on and off the court, how to be a leader,” Martez explains.
The NHSBA’s chapters around the country give young people a big opportunity.
“We focus on kids who don’t play school ball,” says Deunte Copeland, CEO of the National High School Basketball Association.
And they recently received a big honor, a $10,000 grant from the NBA Players Association Foundation.
“It’s great that they recognize we’re doing great things with our kids through different chapters,” Copeland continues.
He says the money will be used to make an impact in young people’s lives.
“It’s for our time out program – basically focusing on mentoring and life skills,” says Copeland.
This isn’t the first time the NBA has reached out to the group. Two years ago, NBA star Chandler Parsons traveled to Arkansas to visit and play ball with kids in the program. It’s a moment they’ll never forget.
“These coaches are great. This whole organization is awesome,” Parsons said at the time.
They’re making a big impact for kids on and off the court.
“You learn a lot through basketball. You learn how to get along with people, teamwork, how to listen and focus on detail,” Copeland says.
“It makes us work harder – and not take anything for granted,” adds Martez.
Click here to learn more about the NHSBA.