Playing with Wolves

NYA’s FAB (Future Academic Ballers) Team spent court time with Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves at Target Center.

Former basketball star gives back with an academic emphasis

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FAB players find success at the varsity level

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis FAB (Future Academic Ballers) has established itself as one of the top traveling programs in the country, and now its players are making their mark on the high-school level, too.

More than a dozen FAB players contributed to varsity basketball teams during the 2015-16 season at schools across the metro area.

And the best is yet to come.

They’re all freshmen or eighth graders – an unprecedented feat for a traveling program in Minnesota high-school basketball.

By implementing FAB’s core principles, these young players have earned the respect of their veteran teammates and have been trusted to make winning plays during varsity games.

Standouts include eighth-grade point guard Lu’Cye Patterson, who averaged more than 11 points per game for Brooklyn Center and emerged as one of the most productive players in his class en route to all-conference honorable mention honors in the Tri-Metro, which sent three teams to the state tournament.

Teammate and classmate Rudy Tahir started several games for the Centaurs and made a game-winning jumper in a road win over state-tournament participate Fridley.

Brooklyn Center freshman Adreone Sprinkles was called up from the junior varsity during the section tournament and flashed his potential by leading the team in scoring in all three of its playoff games.

Forward Myles Stute, who is every bit of 6-foot-5, was a rotation player at Benilde-St. Margaret’s – one of the top schools in Class 3A.

Cornell Richardson started the whole year for Maranatha as an 8th grader. Jalen Miller contributed to Cooper H.S. late success in the section while starting half the season as a freshman.

The list goes on and on.

Under program director Lucas Patterson and a bevy of coaches, Minneapolis FAB develops its players by teaching them basic basketball fundamentals and strategy through the F.E.E – focus, energy and effort.

Players are taught to “pay the F.E.E.” when they start in the program and are trained to apply those three values on and off the court with direction from teachers, parents and coaches.

On the court, FAB teaches its players essential skills and terminology so they’re ready for any game-time situation.

Off the court, FAB offers full-scale academic support to ensure excellence in the classroom. During the 2015-16 school year, 18 of FAB’s 22 high-school basketball players took advanced placement classes or were in AVID – a global nonprofit that helps students prepare for college.

In short, FAB recognizes the passion for basketball in Minneapolis and its surrounding communities and seeks to use the game as a vehicle for success in life. FAB is grossly disappointed with the individualism that the game can breed and seeks to return to the communality and brotherhood that originated with the creation of sport.

And the dozen-plus eighth and ninth graders who cracked varsity lineups this year are a reflection of those values.

–Sam Gordon