Land of the Lay-Ups
Hold court at one of these basketball programs.
Backyard Sports (Purchase and New Rochelle)
Team Players: Kids ages 4 to 16, all levels. Winning Strategy: An excellent program for children with special needs. And, it offers scholarships. Slam Dunk: Pick-up games on weekends for teens. Game Face: Founded and is still run by Scarsdale dad Danny Bernstein. Stats: (914) 304-4052. Programs are held at SUNY Purchase and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New Rochelle. Cost: $350-$450 (depending on age) for a 10-week session.
White Plains Family YMCA
Team Players: Kids ages 11 to 18. Winning Strategy: A financial-aid program. Slam Dunk: These guys invented the game, literally. In 1891, James Naismith, instructor at the YMCA Training College in Springfield, Massachusetts, created basketball as an indoor sport to keep his athletes healthy during the winter. What started with a peach basket nailed to a post is now one of the most popular sports in the world. Stats: (914) 949-8030. Cost: $75-$150 (depending on age) for a six- to eight-week session.
Hooperstown (Mount Vernon)
Team Players: Kids 6 to 17. Game Plan: A 20,000-square-foot, air-conditioned, state-of-the-art indoor training facility. Winning Strategy: Year-round group and individual basketball training, in-house leagues and AAU tournaments, recreational programs for all ability levels, birthday parties, and school-break and summer camps. Slam Dunk: Has hosted clinics by Coach Bob Hurley, Sr., NBA star Ben Gordon, and retired New York Yankee Tommy John. Game Face: Rashamel Jones, one of the program’s directors, is a member of the UCONN National Championship team Stats: (914) 667-DUNK (3865). Cost: $40 per class or $120 for a four-class session for junior and advanced hoopers.
Team Players: Boys in first to fourth grades and girls in first to fifth grades. Game Plan: Provides instruction, competitive games, and positive social interaction for kids from different schools in the Westchester Jewish community. Winning Strategy: JBL coaches are varsity or junior varsity players from local high schools, and referees teach skills in addition to officiating. Slam Dunk: Originally created for Orthodox Jews in the basement of a New Rochelle synagogue, it now serves all denominations, and all games are still played on Sundays to accommodate players who observe the Sabbath. Stats: (914) 637-7568. Programs are held at the Solomon Schechter Upper School in Hartsdale. Cost: $255 for a 10- to 12-week session.
Note: Many towns offer youth basketball programs through their recreational departments.