(Courtesy of CMEK) Chad Mekles, program director of CMEK, is thrilled to be bringing the CMEK basketball program to New York. CMEK @ SAR will deliver the total basketball experience to the Riverdale community and surrounding areas. Skills and clinics, for all ages, will take place at SAR Academy, 655 W. 254th St. in Riverdale, and will run for 13 weeks on Sundays, from September through December. Cost will be $390 per child ($20 sibling discount for each child).
Mekles recounts the origins of the popular basketball program. «I grew up a big Knick fan. I recall practicing late nights outside on my driveway, hoping that Pat Riley, was going to drive by and ask me to play on the team. One of my parents would pull the car out of the garage and put the headlights on so there was enough light for me to see the basket. I was a little kid with big dreams. At 17 years old, when times got tough for my family, my parents told me that if I wanted a car I needed to get a job. I always loved basketball so that fall of my junior year in high school I went to coach clinics and score-keep at the JCC on the Palisades. I knew the program director as I had previously represented the delegation in the Maccabi Games. I realized that making the NBA was not in the cards for me, so I got into coaching.”
Soon after CMEK was founded.
CMEK programs throughout New Jersey have grown every year. “The key has been our remarkable coaching staff. At CMEK, we strive to maintain a balance between teaching and fun, structure and freedom, and supervision and competition. It remains our view that these years are filled with fun and excitement for our participants. We recognize that every single player is different, and so we try to organize teams by placing kids into groups where each feels comfortable participating. Our coaching staff is specifically trained for their leadership positions. The coaches are passionate and display a superior ability to interact with and instruct our players. Perhaps most importantly, each is trained to encourage young athletes through positive encouragement,” shared Mekles.
Mekles felt this was the right time to make the move across the Hudson. “There have been opportunities in the past to bring CMEK to New York, but we wanted to wait for the right situation. SAR is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with two gymnasiums and adjustable hoops. The people at SAR share the same vision that we do. We wanted to give student-athletes the same opportunities closer to home that their peers have in the New Jersey schools. Offering the program to both SAR families and others in surrounding New York neighborhoods will allow us to provide this experience.”
The CMEK program will teach the game to all ages through cutting-edge drills specifically designed for each group. Players will learn, improve and have the total basketball experience.