Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Land O'Lakes offers new recreational basketball league

Andrew Wiechert, 8, drives down the court on a breakaway during his team’s victory on Thursday, the first night of games of the Tampa Bay Rain-Orlando Magic Basketball League season at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Complex.

DAVID RICE | Special to the Times

Andrew Wiechert, 8, drives down the court on a breakaway during his team’s victory on Thursday, the first night of games of the Tampa Bay Rain-Orlando Magic Basketball League season at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Complex.

LAND O'LAKES — A partnership between the Tampa Bay Rain and the Orlando Magic has brought a popular new youth basketball program to the Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex.

The Tampa Bay Rain-Orlando Magic Youth League has 140 participants, a number organizers expect to increase in the spring if the county approves the program full time. The league is for players ages 7 to 16.

"We worked it out with the recreation center for this effort and I want to see how this first attempt to run the league goes and then take it to the county and see if they'll let me make it a county program," said league organizer Michael Davis. "It's a win-win for the complex, for us and for the kids and their families. I know if I do another league in the spring it'll be bigger because we won't be competing with football."

Davis moved to Land O'Lakes from Virginia six years ago and wasn't impressed with the recreational basketball offerings. With the help of his brother, Stephen Davis, owner of the Tampa Bay Rain, and representatives from the Magic, Davis was able to create a league that offers more than just on-the-court experience.

"We want this to be memorable for them," Davis said. "They get a Magic jersey, tickets to a Rain game and a Magic game as well as quality instruction from everyone, whether it comes from the referees or the coaches. It's all volunteer coaches, but we give them a curriculum that they need to go over in the practices that teaches not just how to understand things like floor spacing and ball movement, but the philosophy behind them as well."

Parents have taken a keen interest in the league, showing up in large numbers to support the kids and see the progression along the way.

"After just a couple of practices the kids really love it and are responding to the coaching," said Erin Senior, a mother of two players in the league. "The skills and the teamwork that they are learning is really great for the kids. No one is hogging the ball."

Having just moved to Land O'Lakes from Texas, Doug Charlton signed up his 9-year-old son for the league, not knowing what to expect. He has been delighted by what he's seen after just one game.

"This is our first experience with any sort of league in Florida and I have to say that it's really nice," Charlton said. "The organization is great and the coaches are teaching things that seem to be getting the best out of the kids."

>>fast facts

Full for the fall, but plans for spring

The Tampa Bay Rain-Orlando Magic Youth League is full for the fall, but organizers hope to offer a spring league at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex. Cost is $75 for an eight-game season, and includes a shirt, tickets to a Magic game and a Tampa Bay Rain game. For information call Michael Davis at (813) 802-9163 or the recreation center at (813) 929-1220.

Land O'Lakes offers new recreational basketball league 09/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 28, 2012 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  3. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  4. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.