Jr. NBA Skills Challenge offers chance to play for trip to NYC

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Selma Police Athletic League (PAL) is hosting the Jr. NBA Skills Challenge for the second year in a row on Saturday, Feb. 10 in the Selma High gymnasium at 10 a.m.

Boys and girls, ages 13 and under, can participate for free and compete for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to New York City.

The first, second and third place finishers in each age group will advance to the regional competition in Atlanta. The winners of the regional skills challenge will earn the trip to New York, according to PAL coach Willie Collins.

Collins, along with the other coaches and volunteers at the PAL center, work on basketball fundamentals with the children who come and practice in their gym.

“We work on the fundamentals of basketball,” Collins said. “We are also working on shooting and dribbling because that is what they’re going to be rated on in the Jr. NBA shootout. We’re working on that to try and get them ready for Saturday.”

Anywhere between 15 to 30 children practice at the PAL center on any given day, according to Collins.

Throughout the year, the PAL center runs different programs for local children and provides them with a safe place to play basketball when school is out.

“So far, we’ve had a really good turnout trying to get ready for the shootout,” Collins said. “They’re very excited about participating in the tournament, and it’s very competitive.”

Last year, PAL took the local skills challenge winners to the regional competition in North Carolina.

Even though no one from Selma advanced to the finals, it was still a great trip for the kids who competed.

“We did pretty well,” he said. “They got a chance to mingle with other kids in their age groups, they went on tours through the historic part of the city and they really enjoyed it.”

According to Collins, the kids from Selma competed well last year. The kids are excited and have been preparing for the challenge again this year. He encourages anyone ages 13 and under to come out on Saturday to compete.

“It’s free,” he said. “You don’t have to pay anything in order to participate.”