DALLAS – Some of the area’s top boys and girls middle school basketball players from a variety of school districts across North Texas will showcase their skills Friday night at the Dallas Mavericks Youth Combine, presented by Scottish Rite Hospital.

Forty athletes from North Texas earned a coveted invite to the Mavs Basketball Elite Combine (20 boys, 20 girls) and the seventh and eighth graders will compete at the Lympo Practice Facility, the official practice court of the Dallas Mavericks.

The student-athletes were selected because of their athletic excellence, leadership and commitment to the game.

“It’s important for us to be in the gym with these kids because we bring NBA knowledge to youth basketball at the elite level,” said Brad Freeman, Dallas Mavericks Director of Youth Basketball (Elite). “We are excited that we can be a part of elite basketball because for the first time the NBA is allowing teams to work with elite-level youth players.”

The comprehensive program is one of the first of its kind in the NBA and is designed to improve the lives of players both on and off the court.

Last May, the Mavericks became the first NBA team to test student-athletes’ strength, endurance and on-court skills in a simulated environment that replicated the NBA Draft Combine.

Freeman said Friday’s program will focus on various areas like lateral quickness and explosion, skill development, the role academics plays in the athlete’s life, the importance of leadership and commitment, injury prevention and health and nutrition.

With the help of local high school basketball coaches and Mavs Basketball Academy staff on site, the student-athletes will record their scores on NBA Draft Combine drills that have been adjusted for the junior high age level.

Freeman added that representatives from Scottish Rite will take age specific measurements and agilities to help track their progress before they hit their development growth spurts.

The event will kick off with a special appearance from Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, and area high school basketball coaches will conduct the skills sessions.

There will also be parent and referee breakout gatherings to help them understand the dynamics of youth basketball in a modern era.

“Young players are risking their health, burnout, and other issues when they are pushed more than their bodies can handle,” Freeman told Mavs.com. “The elite players have the desire and drive to practice and play. But the parents need to be wise in how much they allow. Our goal is to give them information from the latest research and be a resource for them when they have questions.”

Over 13,000 student-athletes participated in a Mavs Basketball Academy program or event this past year. The Mavericks – along with the NBA and Jr. NBA – aim to work with other youth basketball programs and leagues to better develop, protect, and empower young players.

The Mavs Basketball Academy brings the excitement of the NBA to your community and is the No. 1 source for professional basketball training for every skill level of the game. Our basketball training organization is dedicated to helping athletes achieve basketball related goals by utilizing cutting-edge training techniques and a distinctive coaching style that stresses physical improvement, mental growth, and leadership necessary for long-term development and success.

The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA. The Jr. NBA includes a free, membership-based program for existing youth basketball leagues/organizations. The membership is to help encourage and support youth basketball participation and improve the overall youth basketball experience. The Jr. NBA aims to develop a lifelong passion for the game of basketball in boys and girls by teaching them the fundamentals of the sport while instilling core values including teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship.

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