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Youth hoops squad hosting tryouts

A unique opportunity for youth basketball players in the area will present itself Saturday as the Down South Georgia Boys 16U team will be hosting tryouts for the upcoming season. The tryouts will begin at 3 p.m. at the Level Up Gym, located at 1191 Sarahlyn Lane in Statesboro.

While the squad aims to be a competitive team on the AAU scene, the program’s goal stems far beyond the court. The club, which is run and coached by former Dallas Cowboys player Casey Gamble.

“We want to provide an environment that is about more than just winning games,” DSGB representative Breyuna Shorter-Olayanju said. “A lot of kids dream about being professional players, but there is more to being professional than what you do on the court.”

In addition to coaching, Gamble emphasizes that kids in the program immerse themselves in lessons that will help them down the road, regardless of their ultimate career. By drilling players in public speaking and presentations alongside the rigors of practicing high-level basketball, Gamble hopes that his program will produce young men ready to excel athletically and in the business world.

“We want kids to be prepared for every opportunity they get,” Shorter-Olayanju said. “Whether that’s succeeding as a professional athlete or succeeding in another career, we want to make sure that they know what to expect and how to present themselves.”

Just as the club strives to mold players and young men that can contribute to their communities, it also welcomes support from local fans and businesses. While not the type of AAU squad that spans the entire country in high-priced showcases, there is still a considerable cost to run a travel team over the course of a season.

“We’re always appreciative of any support we get from the community,” Shorter-Olayanju said. “Cost can be a factor that excludes some people from playing and we don’t want that to be the case, so any help we can get from others is going to make a big difference for these kids.”

The cost of attending Saturday’s tryout is $20 per player. For more information, call 912-481-3325.