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Morgan Hill
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September 22, 2020

MC-Elite offers basketball clinics for Morgan Hill

Marquis Crawford got an opportunity through basketball to receive an education, and he is reaching out to the Morgan Hill community to do the same.
“I really want to change the culture of basketball in the area,” Crawford said. “Change the culture of basketball to where it’s a higher quality and people are more willing to play too.”
In particular, he wants to change people’s enthusiasm for the game where if Sobrato hosts an open gym, there aren’t only seven people in the gym, six of which are on the basketball team. Crawford wants to see open gyms where players can have a pick up 5-on-5 game.
In March he started MC-Elite, a basketball skills clinic for players ages 8 and older.
Crawford is a former Sobrato basketball player who went on to play for Academy of Art University’s NCAA Division II program on a full scholarship, starting in 18 games as a freshman. His senior year he transferred to Sacramento County’s William Jessup University, where he helped the Warriors to an appearance in the California Pacific Conference Tournament Championship.
Through MC-Elite, Crawford is hoping to give local athletes the skills to excel in basketball so they can possibly get noticed out of high school and move on to college.
“If we’re able to build up this area and programs, it attract more scholarship opportunities,” said Anthoni Baldini, who run public relations for MC-Elite. “So kids who just want to have a better education — they know they’re not going to go pro — can. I mean, a scholarship is huge.”
There of course is no guarantee that everyone will get a scholarship, but they want to offer players a better chance at being able to play at a level that will get them noticed in high school, whether it be at a Division I program or the lower Division II or III programs as well.
Crawford’s goal is to help bring more fundamentals of the game to Morgan Hill, so players are no longer just picking it up as they go, but rather getting structured instruction.
“If you walk in the gym and see somebody doing behind the back passes and all kinds of crazy stuff, that’s what you think the norm is for basketball,” Crawford said.
Classes are three days a week at the Morgan Hill Rec Center on Tennant Avenue, going Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. MC-Elite also offers private sessions for one-on-one work.
Crawford works the clinics with his father Lawrence, who also coached at Sobrato among other schools, including San Jose City College and San Jose State University.
Lawrence said the goal of MC-Elite is to help supplement high school programs and to help direct children just learning the game in the right path.
“One of the complaints about USA basketball is that out players no rely a lot on athleticism as opposed to fundamental skills,” Lawrence said. “What we’re doing, I think, is we’re penetrating at a grass roots level. We’re teaching youngsters how to play the game correctly, so that as they grow and develop and go to higher levels, it gives them an opportunity to succeed.”
Lawrence said because high schools have limited windows to teach players and often that teaching is more focused on the team, it is important for athletes to branch out if they want to get better.
He said athletes also have Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball that help them work in the off season, but he said that is usually just tournaments and not any real practice that help develop skills.
The basketball training classes offer small group lessons for players ages 8 on up. Depending on the age of the participants, MC-Elite will work to mold a class to match the skills the students are trying to master.
To begin, Crawford said he will offer young students the basic fundamentals from dribbling and footwork to how to shoot and pass.
For older athletes — junior high to high school aged — they will focus on more advanced concepts, including how to read defenses.
“As you become more advanced, then we start switching over to concepts and appropriate times to start executing different things — how to read a defense, for example,” Lawrence said.
And for people who are no longer in school, but want to keep playing basketball as a way to stay in shape, MC-Elite offers the Never Too Late program. Crawford said the will mold a routine that still teaches skills, but will use it as more of a cardio workout than trying to build you up to play in college or the NBA.
MC-Elite will host a clinic at Crossroads Church July 29-August 2 for elementary to middle school-age students.

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