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Jamelle Jelks works with kids in the Tiny Tots program at the Tallassee Recreation Center

Rec basketball league planned

By Michael Butler

While youth football, baseball and wrestling programs have flourished in Tallassee, youth basketball has been absent over the past few years. The Tallassee Recreation Department is looking to change that.

According to Tallassee Recreation Director Rick Golden, the biggest issue has been a lack of facilities. "At the rec center we can't have more than 50 people in there due to the building code. We've got one bathroom for females with one toilet."

Tallassee City Schools Superintendent Wade Shipman said that the Southside Middle School Gymnasium can be utilized.

"I think it will come to fruition. There's enough support," Shipman said. "We want this to feed our middle school and high school programs. I'm an ex-basketball coach. There's a lot of skills you can't teach overnight. It takes years to progress."

Tallassee High School boys basketball coach Keiven Mixson agrees.

"We're taking small steps here to build a program," Mixson said. "Teaching the fundamentals is very important. It's very crucial for the program in Tallassee. In basketball, there are some things you have to learn early or it's going to be too late."

Upward Basketball filled a void for youth in recent years. Prior to Upward, the Tallassee Recreation Department ran its own league. Games were played at Southside. The department still offers "Tiny Tots" for pre-school children, but elementary school age kids must travel to other communities to participate in basketball leagues.

"We have to have volunteers," Golden noted. "The reason Upward went away is they couldn't get volunteers, coaches and people to help clean up."

Forms will be distributed at local schools to measure interest. Forms will also be available at the recreation center. Expectations are to start the season in January. Tiny Tots registration is ongoing for four- to six-year-olds. Call 334-283-4726 for more information.

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