Maryland’s Finest Boys Basketball Team Making A Difference In Brevard
By Giles Malone // July 15, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – For Maryland’s Finest, AAU Under 11 boys basketball team, cleaning up at the AAU National Championship here in Brevard County, by winning the trophy is just not enough.
They all decided to clean up the beach while they were here on the Space Coast in an effort to learn about how humans impact the beach and the environment.
“The parents of all the kids got together and decided that it was good for the kids to give back while they were traveling on these fantastic trips.” said Leah Turner, wife of head coach Steve Turner.
“All the parents want to instill in the kids how fortunate they are that they get to travel and stay in wonderful hotels and eat out etc. and they wanted to teach the kids to give back off the court. It’s not all about just winning on the court it’s about winning off the court as well.”
Maryland’s Finest are the defending national champions, after winning the under 10 championship last year in Lexington Kentucky. This year the boys travelled to the Space Coast to defend the national championship in the under 11 bracket.
The boys are from public and private schools in the Washington D.C area and have traveled to Brevard County with a group of around 50 people to have fun, play basketball and learn about how humans impact the environment.
Brian Bobbitt of Keep Brevard Beautiful was on hand at Lori Wilson Park today to teach the boys about the environment and how trash can be a problem for the wildlife. While gathered under the Kelly Slater Pavilion, Bobbitt specifically taught the children about how see turtles can be harmed by trash left on the beach.
Keep Brevard Beautiful supplied trash bags, plastic gloves and the boys went to work. As competitive as the boys are, they soon began to have fun and compete for who could pick up the most trash.
“This is so much fun”, said Wisdom Rogers, one of the bright young stars on the team. Wisdom’s brother is an internationally known professional basketball player, who has traveled the world playing basketball.
Connie Alden of Space Coast Sports Promotions, the company that is organizing the under 11 boys national championship tournament, was the leader who came up with the idea for the boys to do the beach cleanup.
“This is such a great group of kids and what better way to help our area than to do a beach cleanup” said Alden.
“The Maryland’s Finest boys basketball group is such a shining example of how these teams can win both on and off the court,” said Alden.
The team hopes to be here all the way through Sunday after the championship game on Saturday. As defending national champions their expectations are high, but they also understand they have to work hard and perform well in the tournament.
Coach Turner, who is also the head coach at one of the best high school basketball teams in the country, Gonzaga College high school in Washington DC, has been training the kids hard, with two practices a week, in getting ready for this big tournament.
Whether Maryland’s Finest wins another championship this year, they are all winners because they have all come to Brevard County to make a difference.