‘It can get real expensive’: Coach seeks help for Loris AAU travel basketball team
LORIS, S.C. (WMBF) - Shooting threes is the easy part for this AAU travel basketball team out of Loris, but coming up with the money to pay for their travels is not always a slam dunk.
Head coach Terrence Hardee has been coaching the players on Destined for Greatness since they were in the third grade.
“We actually had kids that couldn’t even catch a basketball when we first started playing, and now it’s amazing what they’re able to do on the basketball court,” said Hardee.
Even after a long day at work, Hardee says he always enjoys coming to coach the team.
“Coming here seeing these guys, seeing them develop and seeing them grow. This is our sanctuary. We love it here with these kids,” said Hardee.
However, he said it isn’t always easy for the program funded by donations because costs for travel and tournaments start adding up.
“We wanted to try to beef up our competition and play more competitive teams, so when we started doing that it started to get a little more expensive. Most of these kids here on this team come from single-parent homes, and it’s a struggle for the parents,” said Hardee.
That’s especially true for Rickar Bellamy, a single mother of four, who has twin boys Khalil and Khalid on the team. She drops the boys off and heads straight to work.
“Being a single parent is not for the weak, especially raising twin boys. I have literally been buying sports equipment since the age of three, not one set but two,” said Bellamy.
However, Bellamy said those two sets of equipment always come along with a smile, making it all worth it.
“I see them on the court and the field, and it makes me so proud. I’m their biggest fan. The joy as a mother watching them play the sport that they love the most. It’s just a good feeling to watch my boys play hard at what they love,” said Bellamy.
Hardee set up a PayPal for the team and started asking businesses around town for help.
“We’re trying to do all we can to keep this program together, keep these kids together and we need funding. A lot of local businesses have contributed and kind of helped us along the way to give us funding for uniforms, travel and make expenses a little bit cheaper and that just goes to show what kind of community Loris is,” said Hardee.
The tiny boys that started out in third grade are now all freshmen at Loris High School.
The team is coming off a hot season ranking as high as third in the state for AAU travel basketball.
Hardee said no donation is too small for the team he has seen grow together over the years.
“Whatever they’re gonna do in life, whatever they’re going to do in their years of playing high school ball, they’re gonna have to do it together, and I think that’s been a big part of what they’ve been able to accomplish so far,” said Hardee.
Hardee said he hopes one day the team can have all their expenses paid for.
“A child that wants to play basketball during the summer can do it without having to go into mama and daddy’s bill money is basically what we’re trying to do,” said Hardee.
The team tries to attend two tournaments each month.
D4G heads to Greenville on Saturday, February 25 to play in its first tournament of the season.
If you would like to help out you can donate to the team’s PayPal by clicking here.
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