Late Night Hoops gets kids on hardwood, out of trouble - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Late Night Hoops gets kids on hardwood, out of trouble

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The crime spike in Chattanooga continues to be a hot topic. Some city leaders are looking for ways to fight problem, and others are hoping to stop the problem before it starts.

With most crime happening at night, a local organization is giving kids a safe place to follow their dreams after hours.

On to the hard wood and out of trouble. That's the goal at Chattanooga's Late Night Hoops, where nearly 300 boys and girls from around the city come to learn more than just basketball.

One team of seventh and eighth graders have been playing together on the Chattanooga Elite team for a few years now. They travel to tournaments and stay involved with the game locally.

"So it can make us better and stuff. So we can better ourselves," said Chattanooga Elite Navy 7th Grade team captain William Ball.

Ball and his teammates have plans to go to college and play in the NBA. They're getting there one basket at a time thanks to the positive influence of their coaches.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure they keep their grades up. I want each one of these to get the same opportunity that I got. I went to college playing on a basketball scholarship," said coach Leroy Alexander Jr.

Late Night Hoops' organizer said good grades are the focus of the many teams that participate.

"The thing I love about this program is the kids that are academically ineligible come play this, enjoy it, and it motivates them to become academically eligible to play for their school the next year," said Late Night Hoops coordinator Richard West.

Late Night Hoops has games happening every Friday and Saturday night from 6:00 until after midnight during the summer.

"It keeps me involved with something, and I'm not busy doing stuff that's bad," said Chattanooga Elite Navy 7th Grade team player Michael Little.

The Chattanooga Elite Navy 7th Grade team has a 3.4 GPA collectively.

Late Night Hoops has been helping kids in Chattanooga for 13 years now, and it's turned out great players like Johnny Taylor.

If you'd like to learn more about the program, just call 423-643-6055.

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