RISE Basketball School – Developing Basketball's Next Generation

Basketball is my life, and I feel it's my duty to share it.

When I first started playing basketball, I was just a kid. I knew that I enjoyed shooting around and getting into pickup games. It was fun to me, even though I didn't fully understand where it could take me. My junior year of high school, basketball meant even more to me, though: that year, I grew to 6 foot 10 inches. Colleges scouted me after that, and little by little, I realized that there were opportunities beyond the fun. There were opportunities to change my life through basketball. If I kept working, kept practicing, and kept growing as a player, I could make something of my game.

My senior year, I was a 3-star recruit. Everything was going perfectly. I had signed my letter of intent to play at Cal State Long Beach the following year – when I tore my ACL. It was one of the last games I was ever going to play in high school, and it seemed like all my dreams had come crashing down. I enrolled at Cal State Long Beach after graduation, but I couldn't play because of my injury. That was devastating. I was not going to let it hold me back, though.

Once I had healed, I enrolled at Arizona Western Junior College, where I played one season and got back into my groove. I felt confident again after that season and my sophomore year, I transferred into Prairie View A&M, a Division 1 program and an HBCU just outside the city of Houston. During the next three seasons, I helped our team at PVAMU reach back-to-back Southwestern Atlantic Conference Championship games. Going into my senior year, the SWAC named me the preseason Defensive player of the year. After finishing my playing career at PVAMU and graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, I went on to play professionally in leagues worldwide, joining teams in Mexico, Malta, and China.

My Reason to RISE

This is why I have started RISE Basketball School. I do it for the kids: the ones who, like me, simply love the game of basketball and sense that there are opportunities in playing it. Because of the adversity I have faced, I feel that it's my duty to guide and mentor student-athletes. Since making Albuquerque my home almost three years ago, I have done that – and on a large scale.

Close to 1,000 New Mexico basketball student-athletes have participated in a RISE Basketball School event or service, taking a closer look at their skills, their mindsets, and their resiliency. It has been my honor to become a part of this community and to do everything that I can to inspire and motivate youth basketball players. To date, the Albuquerque Public School District & a local ABQ church has graciously allowed us to play in their facilities. The pandemic has, unfortunately, made it clear that there are limitations and drawbacks to this model. Most importantly, my athletes, the basketball community of New Mexico, and I have been stuck dealing with very limited gym space & weather, playing outdoors for the most part – sometimes in temperatures as cold as 36 degrees.

Making a Change

I know that, my athletes, the basketball community of New Mexico, and I can do better in our own basketball facility. I have already conducted extensive research into what it will take to make that happen, scouting locations and figuring out the financial details of a lease. Although I have saved up much of my own money to cover these expenses and secured an investor to help with materials and supplies, I need help putting together funding for the initial lease payment, security deposit, shooting machines, construction fees, decoration costs, and other tasks. I want to include basketball players from across the state in this project, which means that I need to get it right now.

This is where I could use some help.

My Fundraising Goal

Right now, I am turning to you for help raising $8,024. That is not the exact amount of money that I need to sign my lease. Instead, it is a tribute to the late great Kobe Bryant, the basketball player who has inspired me to open a facility of my own. If I raise anything over that goal, all the better: I will use those funds to make RISE Basketball School even more inclusive and effective. These funds are going to benefit not only the players on my team but players all across our state.

At the facility, there will be a full basketball court for daily pick-up games, open gym, & our signature RISE 3on3 tournaments. Being a basketball skills training facility, we will also include multiple wall-mounted hoops for those players looking to improve their shooting % using the latest technology to track your shot. We will also have a place where players and parents can hang out during practices, trainings, and events. This will be a basketball training facility for the next generation. 

To say thanks to everyone who makes a contribution to this campaign, I am offering some exclusive rewards, including limited-edition RISE-branded gear and a spot in the RISE Hall of Fame.

Contribute now and support New Mexico youth basketball!

Risks & Challenges

RISE Basketball School is already going strong. There is no doubt that I am going to continue on with it. The only challenge at the moment is our facilities situation. Once I can solve this, I believe that RISE Basketball School will make an even greater impact. You can also count on me to remain transparent throughout this process, providing regular updates about all of the progress that I am making.

One More Way to Help

In addition to making a monetary contribution to this campaign, you can show your support for me and RISE Basketball School by sharing a link to the campaign page on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platforms you use. The more people are aware of RISE, the smoother this transition will go. Anyone you know in the Albuquerque community, make sure they are aware of what is going on.

I appreciate all of your support. Thank you.

Rewards : All supporters of the RISE Basketball School Facility fundraiser will be personally updated on the effect of their contribution is making. In addition, the greater New Mexico community can stay updated via our social media platforms. 

Thank you! Every contribution helps. 

How about a gift card? You or anyone else can redeem this gift card for $30 in services through RISE Basketball School. 

Let everyone know you did your part – by strutting around in this New Mexico RISE Basketball t-shirt. 

Get your name in the RISE Basketball Hall of School. At this level, you will appear in the "Bronze Medal" section on the Hall of Fame Wall at the new facility.

Get your name in the RISE Basketball Hall of School. At this level, you will appear in the "Silver Medal" section on the Hall of Fame Wall at the new facility. 
Get your name in the RISE Basketball Hall of School. At this level, you will appear in the "Gold Medal" section on the Hall of Fame Wall at the new facility.