The Crusader

Unified Basketball teaches student athletes that anything is possible

Sarah Joseph, Contributing Writer

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Unified basketball is a sports team that pairs special education student athletes with partners to play together in competitive basketball games.

They play for three weeks during May with practices in between on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and compete against other teams in Orange County. The goal of Unified Basketball is to integrate special education students into a school atmosphere so they can develop skills and establish friendships beyond their classroom setting.

The team is coached by Mr. Verboys, who has been coaching varsity and junior varsity basketball for 18 years and coaching Unified Basketball for two years.

“I want them to get the confidence that they can do anything they put their minds to, that there are no limitations,” said Mr. Verboys. “If somebody says, ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘that’s not possible’, it is possible and you can do it. You just have to believe in yourself.”

Mr. Verboys loves all aspects of coaching.

“I totally enjoy getting to know these students… it’s a bond that will be there… and I look forward to having these kids for four years,” said Mr. Verboys.

A freshman athlete on the Unified team, Kaitlyn Schaffer, has been on the team for one year and joined the team simply because she liked it. One challenge that she faced in Unified Basketball was the mouse game, which was drill where one person pretends to be a mouse and the cats had to chase the mouse. The mouse dribbles the ball around the gym and the cats have to chase the mouse and steal the ball away from the mouse.

Freshman Jada Gilkes is one of the partners on the team that helps out the athletes. Her job is to teach the athletes different attacking and defending drills as well as how to shoot accurately.

“Helping them get a better understanding of the game and seeing them make a three, or block a shot, or steal the ball is honestly really amazing and really fun to watch and be part of,” said Gilkes.

One obstacle that she mentioned was getting people to fill the stands during their games.

“We have people show up, but it would be awesome for the gym to be filled,” said Gilkes.

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Unified Basketball teaches student athletes that anything is possible