When it comes to grassroots basketball in the New Bedford area, there’s one program that’s a slam dunk for any girl.
Whether she is trying the sport out for the first time, or interested in sharpening her skills while working with the area’s best coaches and trainers, Baystate Elite has an option for your prospective hooper.
Richard Emken started Baystate Elite three years ago when he couldn’t find a local girls-only team for his daughter, who hadn’t enjoyed her time playing on co-ed teams. Emken’s first team featured just eight players, but it has since grown to include hundreds of girls representing 20 cities and towns across Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“I had a mother tell me that she tried different sports and activities for her daughter previously and it wasn’t until she started playing basketball that she stuck with any of them,” Emken said. “She said that when her daughter asked for a basketball and Jayson Tatum jersey for Christmas, she knew she was hooked.”
What elevates Baystate Elite is its roster of talented, qualified coaches, including New Bedford High girls coach Jordan Pina, Bishop Stang girls coach Julie Letourneau and Lex Barros, a member of the Cabo Verde National Team, as well as Emken, Mark Jardin, Steve Ptaskensi, Sean Floyd and John Silva. Trainers include Brian Rudolph and Marcus Wills, both former Division I players and New Bedford High standouts, as well as highly respected local strength and conditioning trainer Nick Correa, who works with numerous Division I athletes across multiple sports.
Whether you’re a novice looking to try the sport out, or a committed baller looking to take your game to the next level, Baystate Elite offers numerous ways to improve.
Clinics, which last 60-90 minutes, are offered at various parks and gyms in the area and are often free to attend. Some teach basic fundamentals, while others focus on advanced skills training. Search for and “Like” Baystate Elite on Facebook or Baystate Elite’s online calendar to keep up to date on upcoming clinics. This month, free clinics will be held Aug. 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 23 and 25. In addition, a point guard clinic hosted by St. Andrew’s girls coach Christina Batastini from Aug. 16-19. Cost is $225 for the four-day camp or $60 a day.
Baystate Elite also offers grassroots travel teams that play in leagues and tournaments across the state. Teams are offered during the winter, spring, summer and fall and girls can play as many seasons as they like, or all of them. Tryouts for the upcoming Fall Season will be held Aug. 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 at locations in Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Westport, Acushnet and Tiverton, Rhode Island. Visit www.BaystateElite.com for exact times and locations.
In addition to clinics and teams, Baystate Elite is now offering a new 3-on-3 instructional league for girls in kindergarten through second grade.
“Our main goal is that there is always something being offered throughout the year for any girl who wants to play,” Emken said.
So whether your daughter wants to pursue her passion in basketball or is simply looking to try a new activity, Baystate Elite is the right program to nurture a joy for the game while teaching fundamentals and important skills.
For more information, call Richard Emken at 508-525-0179 or email him at BAYSTATEBASKETBALL@GMAIL.COM.