The first thing you need to know is that the man behind this operation is one of western Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets. Coach Marvin Wright, now in his 10th year as founder and director of the Rise High AAU Youth Basketball Organization, has made it his life’s work to use basketball as a means to a successful end for young boys to become great young men.
|RISE HIGH PLAYERS AND COACHES (Courier Photos/J.L. Martello)
Secondly, and this should come as no surprise, he has built this nationally recognized operation with the “Best of the Best.” They include former Penn Hills star Chris Horne; City League legend David “Quick Draw” Strothers (why did they call him Quick Draw? Just check with all the great City league players he scored double figures on and they’ll tell you that they never saw the ball leave his hands); Assistant Director Dennis Boyce; along with some of the area’s greatest basketball minds in Chey Tyler, Director of Basketball Operations; Vince Natoli, Assistant Director; and Coach Toni Allen, former Allderdice star and wife of former Pitt great George Allen; plus former star players, Coach Cory Fulton, Quinzez Taylor and Reggie Tolliver.
This all volunteer organization and its coaches established early on a no-nonsense approach to the game. Get good grades, be a good person, do something to help others, work on your game and we’ll let you be a part of our program. Sounds easy enough?
Not as easy as you might think. Coach Wright will tell you life is tough and making this team is tough, but your efforts will only serve to make you a better person. Out of the 200 or more kids that try out, only 80 are lucky enough to make it.
In the end, the rewards are well worth it. If you attend the tryouts and meet the standards and are between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, or 4th thru 9th grade, you get to be a part of one of the state’s best run organizations who travel the country all summer long to locations such as New York, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia to compete against some of the nation’s best players.
The success of the program can be recognized through the likes of Lincoln Davis of Central Catholic, Dante Forte of Obama Pittsburgh, John LeGrande of North Catholic and Will Supowitz of Shadyside Academy.
But even more importantly, the reality of the quality of this program can be told from the parents. Bernard Mathis, of Homewood, has two sons on the squad, Malik and Hollis; Danielle Halloway, of Penn Hills, also has two sons aboard, Darrell and Devon; and Louis DeVito knows this is the best program for his two boys, Jonathan and Marc.
They all echo the same feeling that the Rise High program offers their kids the best opportunity to have a safe, well structured, highly organized, disciplined, fun and competitive environment. They are not only developing as student athletes, but also as quality people. And the last time I checked, that’s what it’s all about.
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