Texan Mike Jones created a project in his Self Expression and Leadership Program which fulfilled his desire to make a difference with local basketball teams in his community. The project brought together two high schools together to rebuild the facilities of the less affluent school, as well as hold a basketball skills clinic featuring college and professional players. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram covered the story.
Mansfield, James Madison players team up
by Tracy Shurley
Basketball players from Mansfield High School and Dallas’ James Madison High School learned the value of teamwork off the court Saturday during a renovation project involving the players and community volunteers.
After hours of sanding, painting and building, the cramped locker rooms at the nearly 100-year-old James Madison were in much better shape. Organizers also hope that both teams’ players made a few new friends.
"We’re always looking for things for our guys to get inovlved in and see the bigger picture," said Richie Alfred, Mansfield’s head varsity basketball coach. "This was just a really good opportunity."
About 79 percent of the students at James Madison, which is near Fair Park, were categorized as low income by the state last year; 14 percent of Mansfield students were classified as low income.
The renovation project, called Basketball United, was started by Mike Jones, an ESPN account executive who graduated from Mansfield. Last fall, he went looking for a community project in south Dallas as part of a leadership course. he happened upon a basketball scrimmage at james Madison and talked with school officials and parents about what was needed.
Redoing the cramped, carpeted locker rooms with space-saving cabinets, new paint and electronics emerged as a manageable project. Former college and professional basketball players also volunteered for a skills clinic that ran Saturday.
Many of the materials were donated, Jones said. Organizers also raised $3,000. The Dallas school district replaced the carpet with tile.
Madison parent Winfred Moore said the project sends a valuable message of caring to young men with heart and talent. Madison is ranked No. 1 in 3A boys basketball in Texas.
Corey Anderson, a Mansfield team captain, said he enjoyed sharing the court.
"They’re a cool bunch of kids," Anderson said.