More basketball teams to be pursued in Bell Co.

Published 9:02 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

Playing sports at school can foster many positive qualities within a child such as regular physical activity, a respect for teamwork and cooperation as well as a sense of camaraderie.

But behind the scenes of school sports there are questions and issues to be hashed out by the coaches and administration that many people would not think about.

Many of these issues were a main focal point of the Sept. 19 Bell County School Board meeting.

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Coach Frankie Smith addressed the board regarding the possibility of a district basketball team that would include the middle school grades.

Smith stated in his opening address that the best way to help develop relationships with middle school programs would be to develop a middle school basketball team.

Multiple clinics were held at multiple Bell County schools where the turn-out was positive.

“When our basketball players walk into Bell County high schools as a freshman, they’ve never been part of a Bobcat basketball team. If we can have a middle school team where our kids are playing together-now they’re developing some Bobcat pride,” said Smith.

Board Chairman Doug Ramsey expressed that he is “a middle school person” and he can’t see denying Smith’s request because so many other middle school sports teams have been integrated into the system already, and that basketball is one of the few left.

The logistics of forming such a team were soon brought to the fore-out by the board. Questions on what grades would be included to maximize participation and give the children a fair shot were raised.

Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam raised the question on there being a separate seventh-grade team and eighth-grade team and asked Smith what he felt like would be the best option.

Smith agreed to whatever structure the board could agree on, and expressed that he simply wants to see the kids playing together.

Board member Larry Elliot raised concerns about creating “an all-star team,” due to some kids not being able to make the team and thus creating upset.

Smith stated that one of his concerns with not pursuing the creation of a middle school Bobcat basketball teams is that the talent would be scouted by the AAU, and thus taken away from Bell County.

Gilliam noted that there would be more of an opportunity for children to participate if separate seventh- and eighth-grade teams were established and recommended the board make a motion to approve. They unanimously agreed.