Pictured at left is Todd County senior, Kelsie Herman. At far right is one of the Swallow brothers from Rapid City Central. These athletes and many more will converge in Rapid City next weekend for the Inaugural AAU All-Native, National Championships.
By Rich Winter
Just over a week until the AAU Basketball, All-Native National Championships take place in Rapid City, South Dakota. What’s very cool: AAU basketball hosts two National Basketball Championships…(an AAU National tournament), AND this new (All-Native National Championship) in Rapid City.
“Supporting this first-ever All-Native National Championship program is a no-brainer for the AAU,” said AAU President/CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy. “This first venture into an All-Native National championship will become a standard to showcase athletes from across the country and provide an opportunity to play on the biggest of stages.”
This tournament happening in South Dakota came about last fall when Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram traveled to Cleveland Ohio. Bertram, who met with AAU board members during the organization's national convention in October, said in a statement that the newly-founded tournament will bring a "legitimate opportunity" for Native athletes to play in a national championship, adding it should also provide further opportunities for athletes who wish to continue their post-secondary education.
A lot in that statement!
A legitimate opportunity for Native athletes to play for a National Championship.
Provide further opportunities for athletes who wish to continue their post-secondary education.
Caught up with Sacred Hoops coach Amanda Carlow last week who talked about some of the All-Native teams that participated in a tournament in Omaha. Last year, Sacred Hoops had four girls teams and when they went to tournaments in Omaha, Denver and even Minneapolis, they were the only All-Native teams in the building.
This year, Sacred Hoops has 12, All-Native teams that went to that tournament in Omaha. While there were a few Native American athletes in Omaha, Sacred Hoops is still the only organization that sets up All-Native teams to give the kids every opportunity afforded to others.
Those 12 teams will be in Rapid City competing for National Championships!
As you can imagine, this tournament is expected to grow and one day turn into a gathering site for Native American basketball players across the country. With more teams comes more college coaches, again, all with the intent of opening doors for those who wish to pursue post-secondary education.
Cannot wait to get in the gym at Rapid City Central next weekend and check out all the teams, the players the coaches and the fans who came to Rapid City….Gonna be some battles, gonna be some dunks and some overall WICKED play.
The Sacred Hoops Media Dept. will be there to catch all the action, the post-game interviews as we shed light on some of the best Native American BALLERS in the United States.