While the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors were battling it out for the NBA Championship, the Mavericks Club Basketball teams were celebrating another successful season at the organization’s awards banquet at Lions Park. Spearheaded 12 years ago by local business owner Ryan Reed, Mavericks Athletics is continuing to grow. “We had 65 kids playing from Carpinteria from six teams, we took them all over the state to play basketball in the last four months,” explained Reed who began the program with a single team of eighth graders.
Today, the Mavericks have both boys and girls from grades three through 12, not only playing basketball but also participating in sports skills that include track and field and summer soccer camps as well. Reed anticipates more than 200 signees for this year’s camp which was started about five years ago. The program is not limited to just kids locally. “We got a kid from Bishop (Diego) who plays with us, we got a couple from Santa Barbara who play, a couple from Nordhoff actually in Ojai,” said Reed who was born and raised in Carpinteria.
The success of this year’s Carpinteria High School boys basketball team has helped to shine a spotlight on the sport locally. Lead by first-year coach Corey Adam (now headed to Santa Barbara) and a pair of seniors, Noah Nuño and Chris Ramirez, the Warriors made it all the way to the CIF Southern Section semifinals and the CIF State tournament. But a strong core of Mavericks players also contributed to the team’s success: recent CHS graduate Ali Hamadi and underclassmen Gabe Medel, Luke Nakasone, Ian Reed (Ryan’s son) and Jose Suarez were all a part of this year’s squad. Another member of the organization who took a year off from playing high school basketball, Justin Souza, is also expected to play for the school next season. In addition to the boys team, all of the members of this year’s Warriors girls team (a total of 15) also played basketball with the Mavericks.
Unlike other club teams, Reed’s focus isn’t solely on winning. “We kind of look for kids that can kind of use that help, that coaching,” explained the CHS alum. “It’s almost more of a positive- impact thing than it is to say: ‘hey, we’re going to make the best basketball players in the world.’” Every year the 501(c)3 nonprofit holds a “dribble drive fundraiser” where sixty some kids bounce basketballs through town to help bring in thousands of dollars.
About half the Mavericks play on scholarship, and because all of the coaches work on a volunteer basis, the cost of the program remains amazingly low. For $299 per season, kids receive jersey tops and shorts, sweatshirts, Under Armour apparel and a duffel bag. Membership includes a schedule with competition in seven different tournaments, traveling to areas like L.A., San Diego and Ventura. “I grew up really poor here in Carpinteria,” Reed said, “my big rule is that no one doesn’t play because they can’t afford it.”
The organization also has a strong vision for the future. Their main goal is to find their own place to play. “I think we’re going to build our own rec (recreation) center,” he explained. “We’re looking for a warehouse, somewhere that someone isn’t using, a greenhouse or somewhere we can throw gym floor down,” added the longtime coach who also played college basketball for Life Pacific College in Los Angeles. As the program continues to grow, the Mavericks may want to “think big” as far as choosing a permanent home.