YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In Youngstown Saturday afternoon, a new basketball group officially began its season at the YMCA called the Respect League.
The organization is for men ages 19 to 25, and their goal is to recruit up to 200 players.
There are currently 18 teams playing as the league looks to grow. The teams are sponsored by local businesses and organizations.
They will have an eight-game regular season, followed by a series of playoff games and a championship.
The Respect League was started by Randy Nuby. He says the league will help mentor people as they enter adulthood.
“I coached in high school basketball when I retired, and so I decided to do something for the older kids. I chose the age group 19 to 25 because they are fresh out of high school. They need guidance, they need direction and they need mentorship,” Nuby said.
The league has partnered with other local organizations, providing different training opportunities to help players grow.
“I’m really impressed. All of the guys turned up for training today. We got everything set up,” Nuby said. “It’s mandatory training. We have to do half an hour of training on job skills, life skills, domestic violence. If you’re getting your G.E.D., you can get your G.E.D., anger management, drugs and alcohol and job skills.”
The league’s purpose is more than playing basketball. It’s goal is to keep young men off the streets, providing them with a safe place to play the sport.
Players say they are grateful for the opportunity to play basketball every weekend as well as meet new friends.
“Just get a little more work, you know, meet new people, you know, grow basketball,” said Trae Wilks, a forward on one of the teams.
“I like to play basketball, and it’s just something to do to occupy my time so I won’t be getting in trouble and all of that,” said Aaron Clinkscale, a point guard.
The Respect League is looking to expand, too. There are plans for girls and youth leagues later this year.
They are looking for donations of game snacks and drinks. You can contact the Youngstown YMCA at (330) 744-8411 to join.