Two local basketball players are giving back to our youth by using basketball as a platform to stay active and out of trouble.
Recently, we heard their story about how they used basketball to turn away from a life of crime. Now they’re hoping that spreads to kids who need help now.
Devan Douglas and Rich Hurt are two local professional basketball players who used the game of basketball to deter them from a life of crime, and both of them are giving back to the youth now to make sure they stay out of trouble as well.
Devan and Rich hit the court every day. Basketball is their passion, and they share that in their basketball camp for youth which they run through the Quad City United Basketball Team.
Devan Douglas and Rich Hurt are more than guys who teach kids the rules of the game and sportsmanship. They’re role models and messengers of hope for kids to stay on the right path and focus on their talent, not getting into trouble.
”We all have pretty busy schedules so when we don’t have anything to do in our schedule, we like to make time for the kids,” Devan said. “It’s just really trying to make an impact, make a difference really. For me it’s just like I’ll dunk. The kids really, really like that. They say, ‘Come on, I want to learn how to do that.’”
In the meantime, he shares memories and videos of playing basketball with rich, his longtime friend who is also his teammate on the Quad City United.
“There were games where I would have like five dunks in a game and the crowd would go wild,” Devan said. “There were games where he would just shoot and light it up consistently, like 12 threes, the crowd going crazy. That was probably one of our best basketball moments we can remember.”
Rich volunteered at a juvenile-detention center, and saw kids who needed encouragement and a role model with a can-do attitude to reassure them they could succeed.
”I used these socks right here,” Rich said. “They would drive all the kids crazy. They were like ‘Oh, Mr. Richard has the best socks!’ And I’m like it’s something cool, because these are the kids who are stealing cars and robbing people and stuff like that and for them to look at a pair of socks and go ‘Man, Mr. Richard is cool. I want to be like Mr. Richard.'”
The game of basketball gave Rich a metaphor for life.
“I just use basketball in real-life situations because they don’t get the real-life situations,” he said. “They don’t get another Black male figure in their life telling them ‘Look, man, I understand you think all these things are cool, but you guys think I’m cool, right?”
They’re like all other kids, who want to be cool. Rich helped them find themselves outside of a negative environment. Some of the kids who were angry and rebellious at first would start to see changes in part thanks to rich and his positive encouragement.
“There’s times I would organize camps or take them to tournaments just to get them outside of the facility,” Rich said.