Bill Neal (right) looks over his team's draft list with his son, Brady during the Murfreesboro Basketball League draft held Dec. 6, 2012, at McFadden Community Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/J. Davis)
The 2012-2013 Murfreesboro Basketball Association draft has taken place and that is another signal that the new season is another step closer to tip-off.
“The draft is been a part of the Murfreesboro Parks and Rec youth basketball league for a number of years now,” said Thomas Laird, citywide athletic superintendent. “We started out doing the draft in the younger age groups and have progressed to other age groups over the years.
A player evaluation took place at SportsCom two weeks ago and the coaches gathered at McFadden Community Center to take part in the draft.
“Our staff put together all the information gathered at the evaluations for the coaches and they will use that to help make their selections, said Laird. “The draft is an exciting time for them and gives them a feel of big time basketball. We will have a coaching meeting later with motivational Michael Burt as the keynote speaker. From there, the coaches will call the team members and set up times for practice.”
Coaches poured over the statistics before their team was called to pick a player.
Bill Neal, the coach of the Celtics in the 11- to 12-year-old division, is a veteran of the Murfreesboro Basketball Association, which is more than 40 years old, was one of those coaches.
“I started coaching my son Brady when he was eight years old and just getting started in basketball,” said Neal who has been coaching in the league for a total of 20 years. “I followed him through the various age divisions until he started playing high school basketball. Now Brady and I are coaching together and coaching his son, my grandson.”
Teams will fan out throughout the city using various gyms to start practice this week before taking a time off due to Christmas break for area school systems.
“I love basketball and for some reason I am able to communicate with all different age groups,” said Neal, who added he took a break from coaching until his grandson became age eligible to play. “Some of these kids are in situations where they do not have any communication and I cannot sit on the sideline when I feel like I can help in that communication. That and my grandchildren keep me coming back to coach in this league.”
Another veteran coach is Ray Metcalf, the head coach of the Warriors, in the 13- to 15-year-old classification.
“I do not have any children playing but did coach my son when he came through the league. He is 23 years old now but I keep coming back because I love working with the kids,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf switched his interest to basketball over the years after a long time fan of football. He was never part of a high school team but did play in rec leagues growing up just like the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Murfreesboro Basketball League.
“I like being part of the kids life for a few weeks. Try to have a good positive influence on them and hopefully give them some direction in life and not just someone coaching them basketball,” Metcalf said. “It is nice to see them grow up in to fine young men and contribute to the community and think that I may have been part of that direction.”
Practice will resume after students return to classes in 2013 and the season will start in mid-January.
The season will consist of seven weeks with games being played on Friday nights and on Saturday. A tournament will conclude the season with most of the age divisions involved.
This league will consist of 104-teams and have close to 950 kids involved in all different ages and gender groups.