A group focused on teaching young people the fundamentals of basketball is using the sport to help develop their skills inside the classroom.
The Basketball Universe Academy was started by Garces graduate four years ago and his dream of sharing his passion for the game with other young people continues in a new building in southwest Bakersfield.
Since getting a basketball for Christmas, Jeremiah Castro, 7, has grown to love basketball even more.
“It’s fun to me and my dad wanted me to sign up because I just wanted to play basketball,” he said.
Castro is just one of many young athletes learning a lot of new skills at the Bakersfield Universe Academy.
“I’m learning to shoot, dribble and passing,” said Castro.
Castro is just one of many young athletes learning a lot of new skills at the BUA, which is helping preparing young people for a brighter future.
"I play basketball just for fun and I like playing it because its fun and I want to be a basketball player when I grow up," said Marco Rodriguez, 7, of Bakersfield.
Basketball player and Bakersfield native Kyle Shiloh started BUA.
"He wanted to help kids play basketball," said father Ken Shiloh, who helps manage the center.
Shiloh plays basketball overseas and his parents now run the center, giving students more than a lesson on the game.
"I think they learn discipline. They learn how to socialize with each other and that can transform to the classroom. I mean, you have to be listening to a coach to do something, you know you're listening, you're looking,” he said.
4th grader Isabella Ortiz says she benefits from the program.
"You have fun with your friends," said Ortiz.
Ortiz comes to the center twice a week and doesn't get discourage being the only girl running down the court and scoring every chance she gets.
Before the Basketball Universe Academy parents say they had to drive to bigger cities like Los Angeles just so their kids can get training and improve on their strength and conditioning.
The program's new center has a league where K- 6th graders compete every weekend.