By Jessica EvansAugust 10, 2017
FORT SILL, Okla., Aug. 17, 2017 -- Anthony Redd is no stranger to the basketball court. He's been playing since he was a child, and his passion has carried him all the way through a successful 20 year Army career.
"Basketball gives a voice," said Redd. "No matter where I've been in my life, I've always seemed to find my way to the court. And on the court, I don't need to talk. The ball does that for me."
Along with that voice, the boost in self-confidence, and fine tuning his skills as a leader and a team-player, basketball now serves as Redd's single focus as he transitions from Solider to retiree.
Identifying the disconnect between basketball youth enthusiasts and their abilities to be noticed by scouts for universities, Redd has developed a program to bring military kids into the line of vision for schools. R. Game Elite Scouting Services helps to assist college coaches in recruitment of prospective student-athletes in Oklahoma.
"For every athlete who is offered a scholarship, there are hundreds more athletes who go unrecognized, yet whose talents deserve to be seen," said Redd.
Specifically, he believes those hundreds of athletes who aren't recognized are military youth constantly moving from post to post. Doing so can make it challenging to play basketball competitively and to be identified as a possible recruit for a college team.
"In the Army, we love acronyms. The acronym for what we're trying to do here is FEED. Literally, we're hoping to feed the sport, but broken into individual pieces, we're trying to Find (the players), Educate, Evaluate, and Develop," he said.
In part, Redd's mission to help the unrecognized get recognized, and help parents and players understand the college recruiting process.
"There's so much that parents don't understand about how it all works. The process has a small window and there are lots of little rules that many players don't know about. That's where we come in. We help them understand how to make the process work best for them," said Redd.
He recently signed on with SKIES Unlimited to host twice-weekly clinics at Rinehart Fitness Center for Fort Sill youth. Teams are broken down by gender and age. During these sessions, players work with Redd to improve their skills and help them become better basketball players. Each session lasts 75 to 90 minutes. The players also travel to tournaments once a month around the state of Oklahoma. Currently, there are two teams -- a group of high schoolers and a group of middle school players. Redd hopes to add more teams in the future.
Traveling around the state is useful for the team, he said.
"That helps us see what everyone else is doing and helps the kids by challenging them against players they've never seen."
Learning how to prepare for unknown competitors helps to refine the skills of these youth basketball players and may help land them a spot on a college team.
The current session is almost complete, with one final tournament scheduled for later this month. Redd is hopeful that during the next open call for teams, more players will explore this program. The next session will start early next year.
Parents who are interested can contact the SKIES Unlimited office here. The program is an Armywide division of Child and Youth Services, and it stands for "School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills" with the word "Unlimited" for the unlimited possibilities that this program provides children and youth.
SKIES Unlimited has four school systems: the schools of sports, arts, life skills, and academic skills.
Augelica Fleming helped work with Redd to take his vision into a reality.
"Coach Redd has been great. His passion for basketball is so clear, and we've had a lot of interest from parents about the program," she said.
For more information about Redd's program, contact the SKIES Instructional Program Specialist at 580-442-3488.