On April 12, I had the opportunity to cover the 3rd Annual YRU All-Star Experience. This event took place at St.Marcellinus S.S. in the Mississauga area. The event displayed the top boys and girl's freshman and sophomore prospect, day 1 started off with a special presentation brought to you by YRU. The presentation was aided to support the selected student-athletes and parents with imperative information pertaining to NCAA eligibility, SAT prep tips, and student-athlete development. YRU brought in 4 guest speakers who had the chance to interact with their Student-Athletes to shed some light on these defining topics.
The first speaker was Joe Corapi, a former Penn State athlete and current SAT Math tutor. Joe aims to put kids in the best possible shape for the SAT, for those who may be unaware of that, it's a required test student-athletes must take in order to qualify for an NCAA scholarship. Joe broke down some criteria of the SAT and gave some insight on the expectations of the test. Joe's Student-Athlete experience has shaped the way he teaches in today's time and he uses his unique knowledge to contribute to the future crop of Student-Athletes.
Secondly, we had a Lawyer by the name of T.J. Gogna share his knowledge on financial security and investments. T.J. has gained several experiences working within the sports and entertainment field. Through his experiences he witnessed various professional athletes lose their earnings due to poor financial decisions. He strives to share to education our student-athletes to make great financial decisions , and to investment a percentage of their earnings. He encourages student-athletes to keep their circle small, limit their expenses, and keep great influences around.
Our third speaker was a former Big 10 competitor Micaella Riche, she looked to share her insights on building effective habits to become a successful student-athlete. She stressed the importance of holistic development, which is an integral part of her athletic development. Micaella is a National Women's scout for North-pole Hoops ( NPH), she just completed her first professional basketball season in Greece. Micaella had an illustrious collegiate career that started at the University of Minnesota, where she played basketball for 4 years. She was fortunate enough to receive an athletic scholarship that got her to complete a bachelors degree in Kinesiology. After the completion of her undergraduate studies, Micaella obtained an academic scholarship to pursue a master's degree at Kansas State University. During her time at Kansas State Micaella was a graduate assistant where she coached the women's team for 3 years. Micaella epitomizes the i "Student-Athlete", she utilized the opportunity granted through sports to get a solid education at little to no cost. It's good to see her give back to the younger female prospects coming up.
Last but not least, we had TDSB Educator and entrepreneur Jason Faulkner.Jason has a defining story that was quite inspiring to the youth; he started playing basketball in the neighbourhood from a young age. He attended Martingrove C.I. where he was fortunate enough to receive some NCAA Division I offers; however Jason challenge was passing the SAT. In the face of adversity Jason continued to persevere which is a test of his character. After his shortcomings on the SAT, Jason ended up passing the ACT. Opportunity came knocking for Jason at the right time, which resulted him to sign to Bradley University, he played 4 years and completed his undergraduate studies. Upon his teaching career Jason launched the "Spread Love" clothing line, his purpose with solely upon giving back to the community. During the completion of teacher's college he decided to start his teaching career. Over his athletic tenure Jason learned valuable life lessons that he looks to instil in the youth. It is no secret that Jason has made his mark thus far, he attributes his success to the by-product of his work ethic.
In conclusion to our special presentation, The President and Co-Founder of YRU had some words of wisdom that they wanted to share with their Student-Athletes, it's a sight to see so much positive energy filled within an environment, which had a profound impact on the audience.
Day 2 of the 3rd Annual YRU All-Star Experience kicked off with a skill clinic. The Camp participants filled the gym with tenacity, discipline, and hard work. All participants completed several fundamental based drills, which included: ball handling, conditioning, shooting, and passing. The clinic concluded with 5 on 5 scrimmages. Thanks to all the kids who decided to join a good environment to get better. Everything that was taught in this camp the kids can work on in the company of their on gym.
The 1st game of the YRU All-Star Experience was the girls Freshman/Sophomore showcase game. Team Black led by Shayeann Day squared off against Aaliyah Edwards & Team Red. The players definitely set the tone for the audience, the crowd applauded both teams efforts as they competed ferociously. Team Red got out to a great start fueled by their strong defensive efforts, but with the help from Shayeaan and her stellar scoring performance brought Team Black back within reach. After a hard fought second half it was the dominance of Aaliyah Edwards who stole the show and guided her team to a 73-59 victory. Aaliyah poured in 22 points and was named the game's MVP. Shayeann Day also received MVP honours with a game-high 27 points, Team Red took game 1 of the YRU All-Star Experience.
The last game of the night was the boy’s Freshman/Sophomore game, #1 prospect Elijah Fisher and his squad looked to make a statement. Team Red got off to a good start; they went into the break with a 16-point advantage. In the 2nd half Team Black went on a 12-3 run charged by the stellar play of Mikkel Tyne, which brought them back within reach. Mikkel Tyne picked up a majority of the scoring load for Team Black putting them in a position to get the W. The game went down to wire with 18.4 seconds left in regulation Mikkel Tyne got a tough bucket to fall. Team Red then answered back with a bucket of their own. With 5 seconds left to play Mikkel assisted to Evykynn Panton for game winning bucket. Team Black took the win 78-77. Game MVP went to Mikkel Tyne of Team Black and Jahsmar Olembe from Team Red. This concludes the 3rd Annual YRU All-star Experience; we appreciate all those who contributed to the event and to all the students-athletes who put their time and efforts into making this possible. The Youth Are US, point, blank, period!
In it’s third year president Antwi aimed to provide each student-athlete with a unique experience, athletically as well as academically. Back in 2016 Antwi hosted the inaugural All-Star Experience that had a profound imprint on the Toronto community. Since the 1st YRU event, we’re witnessed exponential growth with the YRU program. Antwi and his team have contributed to the lives of several student-athletes, aiming their focus on accomplishing great life aspirations.
Event: 3rd Annual YRU All-Star Experience
Special thanks Slam Magazine, Noir ET Noire, Adidas, Diamond & Diamond Lawyers,
Public Speakers: Clive Williams, Antwi Atuahene, T.J. , Gonga, Joe Corapi, Micaella Riche, Jason Faulkner
Photography: Charlie Lindsay (@doncharleone) , Tristan Forbes (@tris416), Mariam Konate (@candidmk) , Pukharaj Bassan (@pvkhrajs)
Video By: Tatiyanna Williams (@_msclvssy)