Starting a prep team is also a callback to what the organization did in its early days, Kaiser said. In more recent years, Athletes in Action has led summer tours or invited athletes to train at its complex. Years ago, it had fall touring teams that would play some of the top college teams in the nation.
“It’s cool to kind of reach back in its history a little bit,” Kaiser said, “and then also be on the cutting edge in terms of what’s new and fresh in the basketball world.”
Players on the prep academy team will have access to the dorms and dining facilities on the Xenia campus. They will take classes to prepare for the SAT and ACT, and the academy will teach a Bible-based leadership course.
John Green, who has spent the last 17 seasons coaching at the high school level in North Carolina, most recently at Wake Christian Acaemy in Raleigh, will lead the team. He’s working on building a roster and is currently accepting applications from unsigned seniors in the 2022 recruiting class.
“It’s kind of murky right now for parents and high school seniors with the transfer portal, the extra year of COVID,” Green said. “It’s challenging for parents right now trying to help their sons navigate these waters. We want to step in and help them with a gap year. It’s exciting. The things that we have planned to do with the academy, even outside of basketball, will be an incredible opportunity.”
Also helping with the team are James Bolin, director of the academy and player development, and Jared Miller, the head assistant coach.
The plan is to play a 30-game national schedule.
“Athletes in Action has been around for 50 years,” Green said, “and the basketball department specifically has such a network of connections throughout the college and professional landscape of basketball. The exposure that we’ll be able to provide the young men will be incredible. We’re going to play at a lot of different levels. We’re gonna play some NAIA schools, some other post-grad prep schools, some Division II, and then there are a number of Division I schools that have JV teams. So we’re gonna do that we’re gonna play a national schedule. COVID permitting, we’re going to take the guys on an international tour for a week or so at the end of at the end of their nine months.”