Former Arkansas Razorback and NBA veteran Ronnie Brewer Jr., University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletic Director Melvin Hines III, and Teki Hunt, director of 4-H Youth programs, served as speakers at the Youth Basketball League opening ceremony that was held this past Saturday at Belair Middle School.
This is the first official year of the league. The YBL will begin play on Thursday, and founders Brian Cal and Lucas Armstrong said they are proud to bring this to the City of Pine Bluff.
"We're trying to build a bridge between life skills and basketball," Cal said. "We want the kids to understand that it's not just about basketball and that they should be champions on and off of the court."
The league will consist of four different divisions. Each division, the age ranges, and the number of teams in each division are listed below:
- Tiny Tots, 5-6-year-old, four teams
- PB Boys, 7-9-year-old, six teams
- Middle Boys, 10-12-years-old, eight teams
- Big Boys, 13-17-year-old, nine teams
Cal gave thanks to Brewer, Hines III and Hunt. He spoke on the importance of being able to partner with 4-H and how it'll make it about more than just basketball.
"We would like to thank all of speakers, we're excited about the partnership with 4-H," he said. "We believe it connects a bridge that needs to be connected as far the kids in our community. Our slogan is building champions on and off of the court."