Danville's Freshmore Basketball League Gives Hope to Aspiring Players
Danville, VA - There's a new basketball league in Danville. Freshmore League was put together to give teenage boys in the area a second chance.
The group already has about 80 players.
Edward Bennett, the league's founder, noticed there were more than 100 students trying out for only 15 available spots on high school basketball teams. He decided to create a basketball league where no one is turned away.
"When they heard about the program we had here, they came rolling through the doors," Bennett said.
"It came out to be that I didn't make the team, but I wasn't going to stop playing because I didn't make it, so I had another opportunity to play basketball so I came here," player Quashaun Mayo said.
The league is divided into six teams, and they play against each other every Saturday.
Even though it's not a high school team, coaches still keep strict rules for their players.
"We still have the basic rules as high school, we have, you've got to keep your grade up, you know you've got to do your homework, keep a certain average, and actually stay out of trouble," Bennett said.
"There's no coming up late for practice and everything so we want to hold them accountable, just like this is the junior varsity basketball team," Coach Ronta Harris said.
"It's teaching them how to know how to play basketball, teaching them to learn sportsmanship, to be team players," Bennett explained.
The coaches also use the league as a training ground. They credit a season with the Freshmore League in helping a player make their school's basketball team the next go-around.
"A lot of the kids have a lot of talent, they just need someone to take time and work with them, go back to developing skills, and help them make the team next year," Anthony Thomas said.
"Just because you don't make it the first time, don't mean you can keep on trying," Quenshaun Mayo said.
Coaches say they are halfway through the season and have already seen players developing their skills. They practice three times a week and the director said the plan to keep the program going next basketball season.