New league aims to cultivate hoops talent

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Pictured, youth basketball players compete during a scrimmage held at halftime of a Waterloo High School varsity basketball game a couple of years ago. (Corey Saathoff photo)
Pictured, youth basketball players compete during a scrimmage held at halftime of a Waterloo High School varsity basketball game a couple of years ago. (Corey Saathoff photo)

A newly formed youth basketball league aims to develop talent in the sport for future success at the high school level.

The Waterloo Basketball Association is signing up youngsters in grades 2-5 for a winter slate of games. Registration is open now through Oct. 17 by emailing wba62298@gmail.com or calling 314-724-2212.

Walk-in registration will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Rogers Elementary.

“A lot of details are still in the works, as it depends on number of participants,” WBA President Nick DeVilder told the Republic-Times. “Our goal is to use Waterloo schools for games and the league is only for Waterloo youth, which includes SPPCS kids.”

DeVilder said the league was brought together through prior experience with the Moline Basketball League in his hometown.

“It proved to be invaluable for the development of skills for young kids,” he said. “My wife Kelly and I felt the community needed a youth basketball program based on feedback from parents regarding other non-Waterloo programs that were not run efficiently.”

In addition to DeVilders, other members of the WBA organization include Waterloo High School varsity basketball coach Dane Walter as vice president and Dan Theobald, Gary Schmidt, Mary Gardner and Jack DeVilder as board members.

The league is designed to teach basketball fundamentals to second and third graders and instill early offensive and defensive concepts to fourth and fifth graders.
Practices will begin in early November, with Saturday games to be played in December through mid-February.

“The program will allow kids to transition from fifth grade into the junior high when teams begin with improved skills,” Nick DeVilder explained. “We will instill a few offensive plays for the older kids that are run by the high school — a great way to begin the process of learning to play together prior to formal teams beginning for the school district.”

The WBA is an independently run non-for-profit youth program that is not part of Waterloo school district, the DeVilder stressed.

While the majority of games will be played in Waterloo, the league is also looking into offering games at nearby communities toward the latter part of the season.

The WBA may coordinate with the Fox Basketball League in St. Louis for some games, he added.

“They only play six regular season games before a tournament and we are targeting 10 games without a tournament,” Nick DeVilder said.

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