Rocklin basketball squad scores big in Las Vegas

Team places in top-16 at Main Event tournament
By: Staff Report
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Ken Gee’s dream of creating a nationally recognized basketball club is finally within reach. At The Main Event, a NCAA certified basketball tournament held annually in Las Vegas featuring 400 teams from around the country, one of his teams placed among the top-16. “It’s taken a while, but YBA (Rocklin-based Youth Basketball Academy) is finally being taken seriously. Not just in Sacramento, but around the country,” said Gee, a Rocklin resident and director of operations and founder of YBA. “We’ve got really talented players all around.” Constructed from a mixed bag of local high school stars, 17-and-under, from the likes of Whit-ney, Rocklin, Del Oro, Ponderosa and Cordova, YBA Black has emerged as a force to be reck-oned with on the court. Standouts include Del Oro’s hard-charging forward Spencer Butterfield, sharp-shooting guard Aaron Hendricks and post players Brad Waldow (Ponderosa, 6-foot-8) and Derek Knutty (Whitney, 6-7). Featuring more than 144 teams in the 17U bracket from around the country, The Main Event is considered to be one of the premiere tournaments for high school players during the summer. “I really love playing in tourneys like The Main Event,” Waldow said. “It’s one of the few tour-neys where I know the competition includes players who will end up playing for schools like Duke, Texas and USC.” Lots of college coaches have also taken notice of The Main Event. They’re often found sitting in the stands taking notes on hot recruits and finding talent. The tournament championship eluded YBA when they lost to a hot-shooting club team from Colorado. YBA beat teams from North Texas, San Antonio and Austin Texas earlier in the tour-nament. “If we’d won that game, we were two games away from the championship. That would have been nice,” coach Millard Haynes said. “I’m very proud of what these boys accomplished. Making it to the Sweet Sixteen at The Main Event is big.” The YBA club has been around for five years and it’s quickly moved on to the radar screen of coaches all around. Gee says the club’s goal is to not only provide the best basketball competi-tion for local players but it’s also to provide players with exposure to college coaches and schol-arship opportunities. “We got our first sponsor in (former Sacramento King) Tariq-Abdul-Wahad to help defray some of the cost,” Gee said. Wahad has been impressed with the YBA organization. “YBA and Ken Gee do things the right way and I am proud to be a partner for the summer tour-naments. I hope this relationship will continue to grow and help many kids along the way,” Wa-had said. This year saw three of the clubs senior players receive scholarship offers from colleges. College coaches have also expressed interest in several of the class of 2010 and 2011 players. “Winning is great,” Gee said. “But I really want the years of hard work these boys have put into basketball to pay off as much as possible.”