Teaching our youth succeed in life is what living in your purpose is all about. Former NBA player, Joel Barkers, launched a basketball academy where he teaches youth about the fundamentals in basketball.
Joel Barkers is a former Division 1 college and professional basketball player. He started his College Career at the University of Hartford and spent his senior Season at Central Missouri State. As a sophomore, Barkers was 1 of only 10 players in the country to average a double-double and he ranked top ten in the nation in rebounding.
In high school Barkers graduated from the power house high School, Mt Zion Christian Academy, the same school as Tracy McGrady, Amare Stoudemire, Jarret Jack and Brandon Rush. Barkers also spent one season at the historic DeMatha Catholic. Barkers' professional playing career has stops in Greece, Germany, London England, Cheshire England, China, NBDL and the NBA's Denver Nuggets "SL, TC".
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Barkers. Check out the interview below:
Growing up and still to this day who are you inspirations? How did the impact your life?
Growing up my inspirations have always been my mother. My dad passed when I was young, so she’s been a single mother of 3 and worked numerous jobs to keep us sheltered and food on the table. She instilled the hard work in me and made me want to succeed for her!
What influenced you to pursue a basketball career after college going un-drafted in the NBA draft?
Growing up I just had a very deep passion for basketball and I knew I was really good! If it wasn’t for a few things that happened in high school, I probably would have been drafted straight out of college.
After having your professional basketball career, what inspired you to create You Reach I Teach Basketball Academy?
My love for the game inspired me to create the academy. I wanted to help kids go where I’ve been and beyond! I have a passion for teaching the game and I love to see kids succeed.
Can you explain to us what your academy does and the ultimate goal of the foundation?
We run basketball camps, clinics, after school programs and also do personal training. We are more like mentors to these kids/big brothers who help kids along their journey in life and athletics.
What are some skills and traits that you teach that go beyond the hardwood?
We teach hard work, teamwork and manners, as well as a lot of other things that will help them become successful young men and women.
Who are some of your sponsors and partners of the You Reach I Teach Basketball Academy?
We don’t have sponsors. It is solely funded by Joel Barkers and Mamadi Diane.
What upcoming events, camps or showcases should we be looking forward to?
This summer we have 5 weeks of camp that will be held at Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Any words of wisdom or advice you would like to offer this millennial generation?
Inch by inch, life’s a cinch yard by yard it’s really hard. This means in life you have to move at a steady pace that your comfortable with while also giving 100 percent. If you try to do too much and have too much on your plate, well that’s where things could get complicated for you!
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Evan Wheeler hails from Camden, NJ. Most know him as Huey X, which is his selected born again name. It was selected by his love of Huey P Newton and Malcolm X who he follows for their beliefs and looks up to as his mentors. Huey is a well educated brother by the standards of college, as well as being a self taught activist and revolutionary through his experiences in life. He also thinks of himself as an entrepreneur being involved in so many different fields that include: poetry, writing, youth advocacy, business development, investing, and production. He is, “Always looking to advance the culture & legacy ".