Basketball Wall Street: “The Under Armour Effect Part 2, Double Impact, Las Vegas”

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Basketball Wall Street: “The Under Armour Effect Part 2, Double Impact, Las Vegas”

In 1917, the Converse All-Star Basketball Shoe was introduced, the canvas and rubber sole shoe was ideal for playing basketball. Around 1932, Converse company salesman and former basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor’s name was added to the iconic high topped sneaker’s signature patch. This marked the beginning of the shoe company, basketball relationship, and the blueprint to a billion dollar industry. The Converse brand pioneered the shoe sponsorship in a sports market as the official shoe of the National Basketball Association (N.B.A) . In addition to being the Olympic Games and the U.S. Armored Forces official shoe, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in an N.B.A game wearing Chuck Taylor’s. People like Sonny Vaccaro and Howard Garfinkel, revolutionized the “Elite Camp” component, which dominated the game from the ground up. Subsequently, having their ABCD and 5-Star camps bank-rolled by companies like Adidas, Nike, Converse and Reebok.

Fast forward to 2019 and 2020, and we have an ever changing world of grassroots basketball. Where the dynamics have changed somewhat, but the concepts are still the same. Shoe companies are still in the fold and there are very few long stretches of normalcy or conformity. Under Armour has always been the new kid on the block, as a brand that has risen to the top in a short time, in comparison to the other front-running shoe companies. In any event, the new Under Armour Girl’s Grassroots Basketball League was launched in the spring of 2019, and the league was a huge success in it’s inaugural year and created a massive impact in the girl’s grassroots basketball world. The UAA-G will return in 2020 with a loaded line-up of quality travel club programs and prospects from across the country. The first stop for league play during the N.C.A.A. live viewing period is Pennsylvania, up in Spooky Nook. Then onto Indiana, at the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield. But the real surprise came when the UA decision makers choose to play the championship final in Las Vegas, N.V., July 23rd-25th at the Las Vegas Convention Center rather than the typical Atlanta, Georgia finish. The LVCC is a 32 million square foot facility with a AIPC Gold Certification by the International Association of Convention Centers. The AIPC evaluates every nook and cranny pertaining to convention centers world wide.

“I am extremely excited for Under Armour’s move to Las Vegas. This is my first year competing on the circuit. As the new Girls Director for New Heights, I am looking forward to my first year competing on the Under Armour circuit and direction the UA is moving in as it relates to the grassroots side of girls basketball. By moving to Las Vegas, the circuit itself will provide more opportunities for our girls to be seen by and/or exposed to schools on the West Coast. The UA circuit is still very new and has brought more exposure and attention to girls travel basketball over the past year. This move to Las Vegas will continue to allow the UA to create its own path and do what make sense to grow girls basketball at this level.” Said Dominique Nute, who is the new director of the New Heights Girl’s Basketball Division based out of Harlem, New York City, replacing longtime director Mervin “Rock” Rosa. “The UA experience really exceeded our expectations from operations to competition level. We are excited for the Las Vegas finale after seeing how amazing year one was in Atlanta.” Says Barry Bradford, director of Example Sports from Illinois, a program that was the 17 and under classification championship runner-up to FBC United. 

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The Under Armor Girl’s League impact continues with the addition of the Cincinnati Angels program after a long tenure with Adidas. Obtaining the faith based Angels was a big move for UA, they are one of the better travel clubs in the country. Celebrating their twentieth year of service in 2019, of providing a quality platform for student-athletes to develop into collegiate prospects and positive members of their community.  “It takes a special person to become an Angel as our players first program seeks individuals who are warriors on the court, resilient in the classroom, and servants to the community. Our long list of successful alumni is tribune to our coaching staff over the years that invested countless hours into our players growing their mind body and spirit. Our God had been faithful in delivering the right people to continue to elevate the program.” Veteran girl’s basketball coach Chris Arington is the program’s founder and director. Prospects wise, the Angles have: Alexia Mobley, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Reynoldsburg High School (OH). Mobley, has just recently made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Louisville. Add in, KK Bransford, an athletic 5-10 sophomore guard that was a member of the USA Basketball Under 16 team this past summer that won the FIBA Americas Gold Medal in Puerto Aysen, Chile. The Cincinnati native is a top 25 caliber prospect in the country attending Mount Notre Dame High School (OH).

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The UAA-G league has changed the script in girl’s grassroots basketball very quickly. The Finest Basketball Club from Atlanta, G.A., aka FBC United, won the first UAA-G championship and ran the table last season as the strongest 17 and under team in the country representing the UA Banner. They will look to defend their title this year in a very strong and balanced league. The balmy July weather in Vegas will set the stage for a great championship finale, teams like: Wisconsin Flight Elite; West Virginia Thunder; Arkansas Banshees;  Examples Sports (IL); Philadelphia Comets; Florida Girl’s Basketball; South Carolina 76ers; Minnesota Fury; IExcel (NY); New Heights (NY) ; Western Pennsylvania Bruins and all of the quality UAA-G league teams, families and friends will be able to take advantage of the unlimited amount of activities and experiences that Las Vegas have to offer.

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Under Armour girl’s basketball 2020 prospects that are in contention for a McDonald’s All-American Game selection:

Kamilla Cardoso 6-6-P-TN (Finest Basketball Club)
Sasha Goforth 6-0-G-AR (Arkansas Banshees)
Lexi Donarski 5-10-G-WI (Wisconsin Flight Elite)
Treasure Hunt 6-1-W-TN (Finest Basketball Club)
Olivia Cochran 6-2-F-GA (Finest Basketball Club)
Kateri Poole 5-9-G-NY (New Heights)
Leilani Kapinus 5-10-G-WI (Wisconsin Flight Elite)
Madison Hayes 5-11-G-TN (Finest Basketball Club)


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