OAKLAND (KPIX 5) Not everyone can be a star athlete like Kevin Durant or Steph Curry. But that doesn’t mean a career in professional sports is out of reach, according to this week’s Jefferson Award winners.
High school graduate Nyle Rhinehart is no rookie when it comes to coding and analyzing data, thanks to a unique program that combines sports and technology.
“I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me through this program,” Rhinehart said.
It’s part of the Oakland-based nonprofit co-founded last year by Anwar McQueen and Alexis Musante, called Technology Exposure with Access to Mentoring, or TEAM for short.
“We’re onto something really transformational and powerful,” said McQueen.
McQueen and Musante train young people of color to use SportsCode, the same specialized software used by most teams in the NBA, WNBA, and in professional rugby and hockey.
Students learn to film the games, then use SportsCode to edit the film clips to track statistics and analyze patterns in the players’ and team’s performance.
Coaches use that information to adjust the game plan. So far, TEAM has reached more than 500 students through its free programs and mentorships.
“It’s really not so much about leveling the playing field,” said Musante. “It’s about creating the playing the field.”
High school students get referred to TEAM from schools and other nonprofits.
McQueen and Musante help students like Kelinde Secrease get ahead of the game in confidence and leadership.
“They’re very understanding and compassionate,” said Secrease. “They’re always trying to find ways to make it more comfortable for us to learn.”
“It’s really empowering to see the kids see the vision, takes us up on it, and see their growth,” said McQueen.
So for training young people in valuable skills that prepare them for professional sports jobs, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Alexis Musante and Anwar McQueen.