By Veronica Mackey
Congratulations are in order for the Inglewood-based Team Dream Basketball Academy, gold medal winners in the California Games. The City of Inglewood honored the young champions July 16 at Rogers Park. They presented Mayor James Butts with a medal.
“We have a team of kids who never give up. They play their hardest when it’s necessary,” said Assistant Coach Barry Hargress.
The team, which practices at Rogers Park, and has been around for 2 years, is the 8th ranked team on the West Coast, and is AAU-sanctioned. It is headed by Coach Pookey Wigington, a Morningside High graduate and college hall-of-famer, from Seton Hall University in Washington, DC.
Sportsmanship isn’t the only skill Team Dream coaches are interested in developing.
“We will start a mentoring program. We’ll be working with the kids in math, English and life skills, with a group called Fathers Forever. They are great athletes, but they lack study habits. They’re not at level academically. We plan on changing that in Inglewood,” said Hargress, an alumni of Talladega College in Alabama
There are multiple categories for players based on age—one for 11 year-olds and one for kids who are 12. A team of 9 year-olds is starting for the next season. The winning division of 11 year-olds is Texas bound. They will join over 900 teams in Dallas later this month and play for the national championship.
Hargress, a 30-year Inglewood resident, said that he and Coach Wigington sought out other players around Southern California to form a diverse team. One of the players came from as far away as Porter Ranch. “We want them to experience different kids,” he said.