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Brooklyn Center Brothers Share Basketball, Life Lessons
An emphasis on academics aids Brooklyn Center hoops
- Apr 13, 2018
- Apr 13, 2018
Aided by members from the Future Academic Ballers program, the Brooklyn Center boys basketball team earned the program’s first berth in the state tournament since 1983.
Lucas Patterson has been around the game of basketball for a majority of his life.
Patterson played at Cooper High School before beginning his collegiate career Augsburg College. Patterson went on to try out for the Minnesota Timberwolves before finding a home with the Minnesota Ripknees, an American Basketball Association team from 2006-2008.
Then, Patterson’s playing career came to an end after an ankle injury. Following his injury in 2008, Patterson knew he wanted to stay around the game of basketball.
When Patterson was trying to find out what his next step in life would be, he looked to his son, Lu’Cye, who was in second-grade at the time, for his solution.
Lu’Cye had shown signs of loving the game of basketball as much as his father, but Patterson wanted his son to succeed off the court, as well.
“I didn’t think the skills aspect of [basketball] would be the most important part,” Patterson said. “I thought training him as a basketball player with an IQ and the school component, as well as behavior and discipline, would be most important.
“I knew my kids would all have to be college-ready, so I wanted them to get to that early.”
Patterson teamed up with Armstrong grad Jason Johnsen, who went on to play for the University of Wisconsin, to form the Future Academic Ballers (FAB) program in 2009. F.A.B was designed to be a youth development program that would develop inner-city youth with the skills both on and off the court they needed to succeed in life.
“It’s more development, it’s more empowerment and leadership,” Patterson said. “I changed the narrative of what a regular traveling team looks like, creating a leadership program that tests IQ and what I think they should know at certain times.
“Our mantra is that you have to pay the FEE,” Patterson added. “The FEE is focus, energy and effort; focus with direction from the coaches, your best effort and positive energy.
“When you pay your FEE, we’re able to develop you and coach you, so that’s what we live by in the F.A.B. program and it works.”
Lu’Cye feels that being a part of the F.A.B. program has helped him immensely, especially off the court.
“I’ve been with F.A.B my whole life and I can’t get away from it, I live with it, so it has impacted me my whole life,” Lu’Cye said. “The way to act in school was big, we used to have progress reports that we would bring in school.”
Patterson found success with the FAB program, but, when it came time for his players to join a high school program and leave FAB, Patterson wanted to make sure his players would join a program that would put an emphasis on the lessons Patterson had been teaching in the FAB program. While not all FAB players stuck together, Cornell Richardson, the starting point guard at Osseo, Kerwin Walton, a sophomore forward at Hopkins, and Jarvis Wright, a forward for the Class 3A state tournament runner-up Columbia Heights squad, have all found success while playing for some of the top teams in the state.
Around the same time, Matthew McCollister took over as the head boys basketball coach at Brooklyn Center High School. After several conversations with McCollister, Patterson knew Brooklyn Center would be the best place for his players.
Lu’Cye, Patterson’s nephews Adreone Sprinkles and Amahn Decker, and fellow FAB players Qentrell Douglas and Rudwan Tahir made an impact on the varsity program rather quickly.
“We came to change the whole culture,” Patterson said. “We initially came in there with 12-14 guys from the FAB program and over the last three years we probably had 30 students transfer in because of the basketball program and academics.
“You don’t have to manage your grades, don’t have to worry about their behavior and discipline, we’re changing that behavior.”
On the court, the Centaurs began to show improvement almost instantly, while off the court Brooklyn Center put an increased emphasis on academics and the way its players carried themselves in public. Andrea Kemink, a teacher at Brooklyn Center High School, partnered with McCollister and Patterson to help hold the Centaurs accountable for their performance in the classroom.
“It’s just an extension of what we were working with them on in elementary and middle school,” Patterson said. “We just kept it going, with a few more added players.”
“Miss Kemink has come on board and she’s a great advocate for these guys.”
Now, three years into McCollister’s tenure at Brooklyn Center, the Centaurs have formed themselves into one of the best programs in Class 2A and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 1983.
“For me, I could have went anywhere, I have relationships everywhere,” Patterson said. “I could have went to Roosevelt with all this, but I chose Brooklyn Center because of the platform I saw and the relationship I created with [McCollister].
I saw an empty vessel that we could fill. I didn’t know it would be this quick, I didn’t know the guys could make it to state this soon, but I knew they would make some noise.”
Follow Chris Chesky on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris, or on Facebook at SunSportsStaff.
FAB players find success
at the varsity level
at the varsity level
20 players from FAB's 8th & 9th grade teams are making their mark at the high school level.
This unique group includes Ten Varsity Players, Five 8th Graders, and Five 9th Graders
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis FAB (Future Academic Ballers) has established itself as one of the top traveling programs in the country, and now its players are making their mark on the high-school level, too.
More than a dozen FAB players contributed to varsity basketball teams during the 2015-16 season at schools across the metro area.
They're all freshmen or eighth graders - an unprecedented feat for a traveling program in Minnesota high-school basketball. CONTINUED
FAB Players Ranked!
that I get a chance to be around this program