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Youth basketball program contributes to school’s success

Dec 08, 2016 02:52PM, Published by Greg James, Categories: Sports, Today

The Copper Hills youth basketball program has been existence for five years. (Copper Hills Youth Basketball)

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By Greg James |

The Copper Hills Grizzlies advanced to the state championship game last season. Their recent success is directly correlated to the team’s youth program and its progress.

Under the direction of Grizzlies head coach Andrew Blanchard and his assistant Brian Allfrey, Copper Hills enters its fifth season of the Grizzlies youth basketball program and the Salt Lake Bantam basketball league.

“We really like doing our own thing and are not really looking for the spotlight,” Allfrey said. “Successful schools like Bingham, Davis and Lone Peak have been doing this sort of thing for years. It is more important than ever to work with the kids and keep them in the boundaries. This season we have a sixth-grade team and two eighth-grade teams.”

The Grizzlies coaching staff works with the players, and parents are recruited to help organize the teams. This season Troy Taylor, a former West Jordan High School backcourt player with a history as a great youth baseball and basketball coach, is coaching the sixth-grade team.

“Troy is a phenomenal coach,” Allfrey said. “In some situations, it is hard to find good coaches that want to put in the time. We really work with the kids and they learn our system.” 

The players are taught the terminology and exposed to the defenses and offense that is used on the Copper Hills High School team.

“I think this is a great program,” Taylor said. “I can see the depth in the age groups as they get to high school now.” 

The eighth-grade green team will be coached by Keenan Madsen, and Allfrey will coach the blue team. They begin playing games in December. The teams are part of the county superleague and play in the bantam league on Saturdays.

The youth program has extended into a year-long job for the Grizzlies coaching staff. The bantams will play a fall league, winter league and often join summer tournaments. 

“This is all about the kids,” Allfrey said. “We figure that if they learn the same sets every year then they can get better at playing in the system. Every year I see a player that has worked hard and moves into a better position. I have seen them progress and make the high school team. The group of seniors at Copper Hills are the first group to start in our program.” 

More information can be found at the program’s website    

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