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vol 10 issue 03

The United Christan Athletic Association

LANSING, MI - For both young kids and old goats the United Christian Athletic Association (UCAA) is the basketball league for those who claim they have “game”but need an opportunity to showcase their skills. The Association fields two levels of play at the Larry M. Trice Sr. Outreach Center, 2645 W. Holmes Rd. At one level are the weekend warriors – age 19 and up – comprise the men’s league. They suit up on Saturday for their competition. The second level is made up by the prep hoopsters. On Thursday night the 15 – 18 year-olds take the center court and get it on.

The Association provides an opportunity for some high school seniors to showcase their talents as they compete with a mix of students from greater Lansing area schools while gaining spiritual insight according to Association Commissioner, Richard “Dick the Hook” Allen, Sr. “We begin each game with a prayer being offered by a player from each team,” Allen said. “We spend a lot of time practicing, but we also deal with issues of maturity such as practicing patient and understanding. Developing the ability to listen during the heat of competition and to treat people with dignity and respect.”

Allen, who also serves as youth coach of the Triple A’s (African American Athletes) says athletics helps to develop well rounded people. “We do not allow any swearing or acting out. We are in the business of teaching young brothers to become men,” Allen declared. “They learn to work as a member of a team”

Allen says the Capital City area has a wealth of basketball talent, but the high school basketball programs can not accommodate all of the talented players. “There is a quality talent pool here,” Allen related. “I can pull 10 players from the Association and they can compete with most of the area high school teams.”

However, it is not just a question of talent, some of the players have growing up issues. Some of the players have problems that includes trouble with their grades. Whatever the issue the coaches work with the youth, according to Allen.

Youth UCAA participants must be enrolled in school. Players are required to provide the coach with a copy of their class schedule at the beginning of the season. Participants can not fail the high school program and come play in the league. But players can go from league to play back to the high school program.

A diversity group of teams comprise the league. The squads are: South Baptist, Our Savior Lutheran, The Triple A’s (African American Athletes), Union Baptist, Work for Christ, New Mount Calvary, Trinity AME and Pentecostal

The teams play a six game schedule and a seventh game opens the UCAA tournament The tournament champion and runner up receive a trophy. Also there is a trophy for the league champion and runner up and top sportsman. Allen says the UCAA competition is as good as any area high school contest. “Family and friends pack in to see the games,” he said.


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