Earlier this month, “06880” reported on the Connecticut Flame — an Under-17 AAU basketball team with players from Westport and inner cities that was raising funds for a Las Vegas tournament, where players would be seen by college coaches.
Westport member Dan Scanlan reports from Vegas:
Here we are, thanks to your generosity and support, in steamy Las Vegas. We’ve won 5 games, lost 1, and got our 1st team medal. The games are all played at the Convention Center, where they’ve set up 20 courts for teams from all over the country.
There’s some amazing b-ball talent here — guys who will someday play in the NBA. The guys on my team are all cool. Some have real potential. This trip might help them score a scholarship, with luck.
Dan is wearing #14. It’s the same number worn by Scott “Hoover” Wilder — his stepfather David Squires’ best friend from high school. Like Dan, Hoover was a Wrecker hoopster. A year after graduation he was paralyzed in an automobile accident. He died in 2008, but left a legion of friends — including Dan.
Thanks again for helping make this trip happen. I’m the little guy in the front row (3rd from left) with my hand on the basketball.
The Connecticut Flame is an intriguing AAU basketball team.
The Under-17 squad calls Stamford home. But players come from as far as the Bronx — as well as suburban towns like Westport and Ridgefield.
Of the 13 young athletes, 10 are inner-city. They’ve got little or no resources, and their parents don’t have the time to be as involved as they’d like.
But all the players have talent and fortitude. They’ve come together as a team, and gone far.
Now they hope to go even farther: Las Vegas.
Connecticut Flame player Dan Scanlan, in action for Staples earlier this year. (Photo by Elaine Rankowitz)
The Flame would like to participate in a national tournament later this month. The exposure to college coaches is crucial to some of the urban youngsters.
Of course, it takes money to get to Vegas — and stay there.
The Flame is gambling they’ll get it.
They’ve held fundraisers — bake sales, car washes, pancake breakfasts — but they’re still $5,000 shy. They need it by next week.
Coach Michael Halley has made it his mission to give his players the chance to strut their stuff in front of college coaches. Westport families are doing all they can to raise funds too.
No contribution is too small, Dave Squires — whose son Dan Scanlan is on the team — says. Checks may be made out to “Connecticut Flame,” and sent to: David Squires, PO Box 1059, Greens Farms, CT 06838. For further information, call Dave at 203-610-3359.
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