The National Preparatory Association has further solidified its footprint in the Southern Ontario region with the announcement of Oakville Basketball Prep, an expansion academy well positioned to make a lasting impact in the basketball community.
With this addition, the NPA has expanded to 14 teams from coast-to-coast with the 2018-2019 season tip off set for mid-October.
“I was motivated to create, from scratch, an organization and team that believed in the philosophy of grassroots programming, that put stock in developing an inclusive and positive program,” stated Melvin Brown, founder of Oakville Basketball Prep.
“I am aware that the pressure of sports can take over the passion and I’ve seen academics be thrown to the side for athletic success. It is my responsibility to push forth my passion and vision in creating a program that supports students across the board – targeting academic skills, social responsibility, and athletic greatness all at once.”
Oakville Basketball Prep has partnered with White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville in order to provide their student athletes with the academic structure they need while keeping many of their players close to home.
“We are thrilled to have found a partner in White Oaks Secondary School that mirrors our passion for holistic development and pushes forth our students academically, athletically, and personally. We challenge our students to grow and learn as part of a community and are so excited to start our journey with White Oaks Secondary School.”
Promising to be a hands-on executive of his program, Brown can speak from experience when it comes to the different paths a basketball career can take. He currently ranks as the third all-time leading scorer at Benedictine High School, an all-boys college preparatory school in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Brown went on to play alongside future NBAer Ben Wallace at Cuyahoga Community College, earning himself a scholarship at North Carolina State. However, before he could set foot on a Division-1 campus, Brown sustained a knee injury that would lead to his third ACL surgery, eventually ending his playing career.
“Like many promising young athletes, my basketball aspirations were cut short due to something that was ultimately out of my control,” Brown explains. “It was a life lesson for me and one that helps me speak from experience when I tell up-and-coming players that they must be a well-rounded student athlete because the game can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.”
After a successful transition to the business world, Brown settled down in his wife’s home city of Oakville and was soon drawn back to his original passion of basketball helping launch two basketball academy programs in the Greater Toronto Area.
“My time with Mississauga Prep and GTA Prep have created unspeakable friendships and roots in Canadian basketball inspiring me to continue to move forward,” Brown continued.
“The NPA and our basketball program share the same philosophy; facilitating a well-rounded experience that will help these kids educationally, socially, and athletically. We are confident that this partnership with the league will to continue to elevate, inspire, and provide opportunities for our players.”
The team’s roster is quickly coming together with the help of up-and-coming coach Correece Downey who has strong relationships in basketball circles from Ontario all the way to the Maritimes. Downey, along with Brown are looking to make this program a contender in the National Preparatory Association for years to come.
“Our coaches, administration, and players alike have found like- minded individuals to drive forth our goals and to encourage well rounded development for these young players,” said Brown.
“This evolution of programming and structure includes finding a home with the NPA so that we can evolve and strengthen each other and the basketball community in Canada.”