Building the HYPE

Building the HYPE

Veteran coach Vernon Wilson continues to help develop young talent through HYPE Sports Academy

Watching kids develop into better basketball players and quality human beings is a passion for Marion resident and HYPE Sports Academy executive director Vernon Wilson.

With over two decades of coaching experience and five years of experience in social work, Wilson enjoys watching his players grow up on and off the court.

“I’ve got a passion for helping kids in the community get exposure and get their skill level better,” Wilson said. “We (Hype Sports Academy) have a real passion for working with young people and counseling people. I’ve got a counseling background.

So, I use all of those skills that I learned in counseling and even the coaching skills that I’ve learned and put that all together… A lot of times sports is a motivator for kids to do good in school and keep them off the streets. So, we try to use basketball to keep them on the right track. ”

Wilson, who coached the Marion Junior High boys basketball team to four straight conference championships, currently works as the dean of students at Osceola School District and as the Osceola High School boys basketball coach. In his first year behind the reigns with the Osceola Seminoles, Wilson guided the squad to a 24-8 record and a top-seeding in the Arkansas Class 3A boys basketball state tournament and an Arkansas Coach of the Year nomination for Wilson before his team was upset by Drew Central (29-5) in the quarterfinal round 70-68.

While Wilson has enjoyed success coaching kids of all ages, his passion remains in teaching fundamentals to grade school children with his Hype Sports Academy.

“We work with kids from third grade on up,” Wilson said. “I’ve got a son in third grade. So, that age is real dear to my heart. We train girls and boys. We’ve had a few girls AAU teams. We’re about to start our fifth annual Hype summer league. Third and fourth grade teams and fifth and sixth grade teams will be playing every Thursday for the next seven weeks.”

But, basketball isn’t the only thing that players in the Hype Sports Academy will be learning out at the old Crawfordsville High School gym this summer, where the academy host it’s summer league games and training sessions.

“We’re just helping kids get better in basketball and teaching them Christian values,” Wilson said. “I do a lot of mentoring out there.”

Wilson believes his Christian faith has led him to all of the success that he’s enjoyed professionally and the happiness he cherishes in his personal life.

The head coach feels that sharing that faith with his players is paramount.

“We always have prayer and sometimes we even have bible study out there before we get started with practice,” Wilson said.

“We try to make that the main focus of the program, teaching kids about a close relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m very passionate about that as well…In my opinion, you can’t really have true success without having a relationship with Christ, without letting him lead and guide you in everything you do in life.”

Though HYPE summer league play starts today, it is not too late for players to sign up. Games for children in third through sixth grades are held weekly, every Thursday, in Crawfordsville.

To sign up or for more information about HYPE Sports Academy, follow the organization on Facebook or Twitter or look up the official website, www.hypesportsacademy. com. Wilson can also be reached directly at 901649-4979.

By Collins Peeples