By Alan Suriel
For some people basketball is just a sport to play when they’re bored. For others, basketball is a sport in which they give up everything. They give up your social life. They give up television. They give up rest and relaxation. For those people, basketball is life.
Every so often, a person who is committed to the sport finds a group of players with the same passion. Those guys become teammates. They then find a man who has been around the block for a few decades. That man has played the game. That man has taught the game. Those teammates call that man “Coach”.
East-West University is far from a big-time basketball program. As a matter of fact, they aren’t even affiliated with the NCAA. It is an independent program that uses basketball to better their players on and off the court.
However, what they didn’t expect was for the players to form a brotherhood, not only on the court, but away from it as well.
“These guys are like brothers,” said Carl Moore, who is a sophomore forward at East-West. “Outside of school we hang-out. I’d give the shirt off my back for them.”
Head Coach Tommie Posley has gotten his players to buy into his culture. Players who failed to get recruited by other schools are now excelling at East-West.
Posley says that success on the court starts with trust.
“I always tell them to just trust each other,” Posley said. “This whole thing started with trust. When I recruited them, they put their trust in me, and I put my trust in them. Together we can build something great at the end of the day if we just have trust.”
One reason why this East-West University team is so close is because they have enormous amount of respect for one another.
“I’m a freshman, but these guys still treat me like I’m one of the leaders,” said Stevlon Warren, who is the starting point guard. “They listen to what I have to say. These guys have never told me to shut up and they’ve always showed me respect.”
Basketball is what makes these guys whole. Without it, their lives don’t have the same purpose. It’s not because they can’t pursue another dream. It’s because this is what they love.
“If I wasn’t playing basketball at East-West, I would probably be coaching kids,” said Bryan Asberry, who is in his first year at the school. “I want to give back to the kids. It would be cool to show them what I’ve learned throughout the years.”
However, to Posley, this program is much bigger than just wins and losses. He wants his players to build long friendships, and successful futures.
“I want these guys to be ready for their career after basketball,” Posley said. “Having them in the gym is a way to keep them focused and out of the streets. Basketball is just a way for them to be more disciplined.”
Earlier this year, 12 individuals were brought in to be a part of a team. Through good times and bad times these same dozen players stuck together. They’re all bonded by an orange ball. Today, those 12 individuals are one brotherhood.