Usually a prominent AAU basketball program can boast of 1 or 2 kids accepting scholarships from a major college or a University sometime during or at the conclusion of a basketball season. So, when an inner city AAU organization is positioned to help deliver 10 or more kids Division I NCAA scholarships by the end of this 2005/2006 season, you have to step back and acknowledge the magnitude of that accomplishment.
The AAU organization at the cusp of this miraculous feat, is the Baltimore Stars Coalition. According to the organization president Duane Davis, the Baltimore Stars Coalition is a non-profit organization geared toward helping young men achieve higher learning opportunities at colleges and universities; by raising their level of consciousness about excelling academically, while building character and providing positive social and cultural experiences under the auspices of basketball.
Eight years ago Gary Brooks, a local attorney and O’neal Carter, a Baltimore business man in advertising, took the necessary steps to put the utopian Baltimore youth basketball dream team together. This required that the Eastside and Westside feuds be set aside so that Baltimore could prevail. In years past this was an unthinkable request. Ultimately, the Baltimore Stars were forged from an alliance of recreation centers where the Madison Square Inner City Youth Program, John E Howard and Bentalou recreation centers were the foundation.
The initial goal was to better compete in the AAU National Champion games by putting together six highly competitive boys basketball teams to represent Baltimore City and the State of Maryland at the ages of 9 through 14. Today, through fund raising and some donations, the organization fields ten or more teams from the ages of 8 to 17 that travel all over the country to participate in many basketball tournaments including the AAU Nationals. The Baltimore Stars quickly became one of the AAU’s most successful programs by fielding more top finishing teams in the AAU nationals from ages 8 to 17.
The national exposure of the Baltimore kids competing at the highest level for the last 7 years is beginning to pay off for the parents and young men who stayed committed to the program. Now the former 9, 10 and 11 year old Baltimore Star baby ball players are entertaining offers to display their skills for some great colleges and universities. Even though, when a NCAA school awards a scholarship it must be renewed annually; the scholarship usually represents 4 to 5 years of free education in exchange for athletic services. Many of these schools tuition are greater than $20,000 annually.
Thus one can speculate that the Baltimore Stars will be responsible for dividing up nearly a million dollars of opportunity.