Central Ohio Programs Join Forces

As reported in an earlier article," Summer Basketball Programs Target Younger Players ," elite summer basketball programs in Ohio, such as Cleveland Basketball Club, All-Ohio, and Queen City Prophets, are looking to expand their programs by merging with younger teams and organizations

Just this week, Team Reebok, a young Columbus-based basketball program with teams ranging in age from 6th - 8th grade, recently joined Jerry Watson's All-Ohio program. 

Team Reebok formed last year when Ohio Sports Plus, a basketball-oriented facility, opened for business in Central Ohio.  This past summer, Team Reebok sent teams in three different age groups to the AAU Nationals. In fact, the 7th grade team finished 11th in the Division II AAU Nationals.

According to Rob Grooms, founder of Team Reebok and Capital All-Stars, by joining with All-Ohio, his players get an opportunity at greater exposure.  Rob describes the merger between Team Reebok and All-Ohio as a "win-win" situation. "I will work with the kids from 4th thru the 8th grades and Jerry will handle the high school kids," says Grooms. The benefits to All-Ohio are numerous.  Grooms will serve as the director of youth programs for All-Ohio, will develop tournaments for younger players, and will help revitalize the struggling Nike League.

With respect to the timing of their partnership, Grooms indicated that he was initially approached by All-Ohio and the Late Bruce Howard about 5 years ago and asked to join the organization.  As a coach in the Nike League, Grooms formed a solid relationship with Watson.  "Now that my players are nearing high school, they need to be with an organization like All-Ohio who can get them in the big time tournaments and camps like the Nike Peach Jam and the Nike Camp."  Nike can get them exposure with college coaches," says Grooms.   Grooms indicated that he made up his mind to join All-Ohio after he observed the recent success of the Slam-N-Jam Hoop Challenge, and saw for himself the number of college coaches and scouts that were present.  "There were kids from all over the state playing in front of college coaches," Grooms said.

Not only is this merger good for All-Ohio and Team Reebok, but young Central Ohio basketball players will benefit from more frequent and competitive tournaments, and more competitive leagues.  Don't be surprised if you read about more mergers between now and the 2004 summer season.

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