BCPS Basketball Academy Celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary

December 29, 2015

Baltimore, MD- “I did not think the Academy would still be thriving 20 years later,” said Coach Bob Wade, former men’s college basketball head coach for the University of Maryland (1986–1989). “I say that because the concept of the Basketball Academy was different and unique.”

Now in its 20th Year, the Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) Basketball Academy is the area’s sole opportunity to expose inner city middle and high school students to a college campus environment through sports, education, mentoring, developmental programs, and by example. The Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) Basketball Academy is the largest and most-successful program of its kind.

In 1995, Coach Bob Wade called upon former Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Walter Amprey and recommended that Baltimore City Schools start a tournament of its own with an academic component. The intention of the program was to provide a unique opportunity for Baltimore City youth to be engaged and build new relationships within the community.

Dr. Warren Hayman, the Interim Coordinator of Urban Educational Leadership at Morgan State University, was called upon to shape the academic program. According to Dr. Hayman, “The passion came from the realization that the other tournaments were exploiting the student athletes’ talents for personal gain and there was no benefit to the students or to the community.” As a career educator who has served in a variety of roles including a public school superintendent, college dean and as an Education Policy Fellow at the United States Department of Education, Dr. Hayman is the academy’s expert in shaping the annual curriculum.

The BCPS Basketball Academy’s goal is to make a memorable impact on student athletes and encourage them to pursue a higher education. Morgan State University (MSU) opens its doors to the program once again, allowing for nearly 600 students to participate in three separate components: academics, cultural enrichment and athletics. “The most important educational need for student athletes is improved performance on the college admissions exams and social skill development. The academic, cultural enrichment and service learning components of the Academy are designed to address these needs,” said Dr. Hayman.

The Basketball Academy’s success could be attributed to its scale and uniqueness. “Unique, because it involves academics and workshops that the student-athletes had to participate in and fulfill, prior to competing in the basketball component of the Academy,” said Coach Wade. Essentially, the Academy relies on the Coaches and their student-athletes embracing the academic concept and forging stronger relationships within the community. The relationships help secure the academy’s longevity and the student-athlete’s commitment to excellence through Basketball.

Today, Dr. Hayman and Coach Wade have plenty to boast about. To date, more than 10,600 students have participated in the Academy, and over $130,000 worth of scholarships have been distributed to worthy young people in our area. Even in its 20th year, over 200 academy graduates are currently playing college basketball. Current and former NBA Players from the Baltimore area include, but are not limited to, Carmello Anthony, Will Barton, Kim English, Muggsy Bogues, Reggie Williams and many more.

In 2016, the Basketball Academy will run from Thursday, January 14th – Saturday, January 16th at MSU in Baltimore, MD. During the earlier hours of the day, participants either attend workshops on Campus, or take part in cultural enrichment activities such as trips to Reginald F. Lewis Museum or the Great Blacks in Wax Museum. The workshops cover college admissions orientation, SAT prep, discussions on relevant social issues, bullying and the significance of social media in today’s society.  In the later part of the afternoon, the participants may compete in or watch the day’s scheduled basketball team match-ups.

Each year approximately 7,000 students, families & fans all gather to attend the Academy’s events. Tickets are $10 per day; children under five years old are admitted free. Advanced tickets can be purchased at participating schools or by calling (443) 552-3510. Tickets can also be purchased at the box office an hour before the first game of the day.

If you would like to support the Academy but are unable to attend the event, you may contribute a tax-deductible donation, become a Basketball Academy sponsor (various levels available), purchase tickets in support of the academic and athletic achievement of our youth or purchase a ticket to send a youth to the games.

20th Anniversary Recognition Agenda (Tentative)
In honor of its 20th Anniversary, the Academy will be distinguishing key participants and organizers who have made a significant impact on the Academy through the years. On the 2nd day of the Academy, during halftime of the 6:45pm game, those who have participated annually will be acknowledged; John Swann, Marian Tutt, Herman “Tree” Harried and George Petrides.
On Saturday, January 16th, during halftime of the 5:30pm game, we will pay tribute to the following deceased individuals: Ray Short, Daryl Kennon, Bill Spivy (Referee), Dr. Walter Amprey, Sherron Bogues, Justin Fields and K-Swift.

Although the Basketball Academy is thriving today, none of its success would be possible without the original sponsors of the program. At the end of the 5:30pm game, the following community leaders will be recognized for forging the path for the program to begin and/or continue under their leadership: Kurt Schmoke, Former Mayor at a time when the event was still called the Mayor’s Academy, Dr. Walter Amprey (deceased), Former Superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. Tony Marchione, Former Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, Lonnie Carr, Past National Vice President of the 100 Black Men of Maryland, Veda Tucker, First secretary & manager of the Academy, Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Former County Executive of Baltimore County, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Dr. Calvin Burnett, Former President of Coppin State University, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks and Fila, a Corporate Sponsor.

During Elected Officials Night, the Academy will recognize elected officials that have supported the Academy over the years: City Council President Jack Young, Delegate Nathaniel Oaks, Senator Nathaniel McFadden, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. More information regarding the date and time of Elected Officials Night is forthcoming.

Game Schedule

Thursday, January 14, 2016
3:00 pm Poly vs. Milford Mill (Girls)
4:15 pm Western vs. Bell (G)
5:30 pm Dunbar vs. Theodore Roosevelt (Boys)
6:45 pm Friends vs. Woodlawn (B)
8:00 pm Randallstown vs. Edmondson (B)

Friday, January 15, 2016
3:00 pm City College vs. Western Tech (G)
4:15 pm Edmondson vs. Milford Mill (B)
5:30 pm City College vs. Randallstown (B)
6:45 pm Lake Clifton vs. Thomas Stone (B)
8:00 pm Riverdale Baptist vs. Wesleyan Christian (B)
9:15 pm Patterson vs. IMHOTEP (B) presented by Under Armour

Saturday, January 16, 2016
10:00am Milford Mill vs. Western (G)
11:15am Western Tech vs. Poly (G)
12:30pm Bell vs. City College (G)
1:45pm   Milford Mill vs. Friends (B)
3:00pm   Thomas Stone vs. Dunbar (B)
4:15pm   Theodore Roosevelt vs. City College (B)
5:30pm   IMHOTEP vs. Riverdale Baptist (B)
6:45pm   Woodlawn vs. Lake Clifton (B)
8:00pm   Wesleyan Christian vs. Patterson (B) presented by Under Armour

Press Inquiries: info@bballacademy.com



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