'Boro basketball league ready for play

'Boro basketball league ready for play

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'Boro basketball league ready for play

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MURFREESBORO

The 2012-2013 Murfreesboro Basketball Association draft was recently held, pointing to the fast-approaching season.

“The draft has been a part of the Murfreesboro Parks and Rec. youth basketball league for a number of years now,” said Thomas Laird, athletic superintendent for the City of Murfreesboro. “We started out doing the draft in the younger age groups and have progressed to other age groups over the years.”

A player evaluation took place at SportsCom two weeks ago and the coaches gathered at McFadden Community Center to take part in the draft.

“Our staff put together all the information gathered at the evaluations for the coaches, and they will use that to help make their selections,” Laird said. “The draft is an exciting time for them and gives them a feel of big-time basketball. We will have a coaching meeting later with Michael Burt as the keynote motivational speaker. From there, the coaches will call the team members and set up times for practice.”

Coaches poured over the statistics before their team was called to pick a player. Bill Neal, the coach of the Celtics in the 11-12 year old division and an MBA veteran, was one of those coaches.

“I started coaching my son Brady when he was eight years and just getting started in basketball,” said Neal, who has been coaching in the league for about 20 years. “I followed him through the various age divisions until he started playing high school basketball. Now Brady and I are coaching together and coaching his son, my grandson.”

Teams will fan out throughout the city using various gyms to start practice this week before taking time off due to Christmas break for area school systems.

“I love basketball and for some reason I am able to communicate with all different age groups,” said Neal, who added that he took a break from coaching until his grandson became age eligible to play. “Some of these kids are in situations where they do not have any communication, and I cannot sit on the sideline when I feel like I can help in that communication.

“That and my grandchildren keep me coming back to coach in this league.”

Another MBA veteran is Ray Metcalf, the head coach of the Warriors in the 13-15 year old classification.

“I do not have any children playing but did coach my son when he came through the league,” Metcalf said. “He is 23 years old now, but I keep coming back because I love working with the kids.”

Metcalf switched his interest to basketball over the years after being a long-time fan of football. He was never part of a high school team but did play in leagues similiar to the MBA while growing up.

“I like being part of the kids’ lives for a few weeks. I try to have a good positive influence on them and hopefully give them some direction in life and not just someone coaching them basketball,” Metcalf said. “It is nice to see them grow up into fine young men and contribute to the community and think that I may have been part of that direction.”

Practice will resume after students return to classes in 2013, and the season will start in mid-January.

The season will consist of seven weeks with games played on Friday nights and Saturday. A tournament will cap the season with most of the age divisions involved.

The Murfreesboro league, which is more than 40 years old, will consist of 104 teams and nearly 950 boys and girls in all ages.

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