Respect Basketball League Forms to Teach Young Men Life Lessons

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — It started with a calling, one Randy Nuby wanted to answer.

Nuby spent the last 35 years coaching young people in the city of Youngstown through various youth leagues. On Friday, it was announced that his vision for helping adults 19 to 25 years old is coming true through the Respect Basketball League.

Various community leaders gathered at the YMCA of Youngstown Central Branch Friday to talk about the new venture. Its goal is to give young adults a safe place to gather and learn, says Nuby, who is the commissioner of the new league.

“We want to focus on that window to get them on the right path and the right direction,” says Nuby.

The league starts April 17 and has the backing of the city of Youngstown, the YMCA, the Youngstown Police Department, My Brother’s Keeper Ohio, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence. Games will begin around 2 p.m. that day and will be played every Saturday, Nuby says.

The Respect Basketball League begins April 17 and will include adults 19 to 25 years old.

Coaches and players who will be in the league stood with Nuby at Friday’s announcement. There are already 17 teams, each with a sponsor and two coaches. Nuby is hoping to obtain one more team to have an even number. The sponsors buy the uniforms and are held accountable for their teams, training and conduct.

“We will have zero tolerance for negative behavior,” he says.

He adds that coaches have reached out to at-risk young adults to play in this league. Interested parties can contact Nuby through his Facebook page, call the YMCA at 330 744 8411 or email Central Branch sports and recreation director D’Aundray Brown.

Brown knows the importance of basketball. He was a standout at Ursuline High School, Cleveland State University and played professional basketball. “I know the importance of having a group of men and women that are investing into the city and in people’s lives,” he says.

The YMCA is providing its facility for free, and the Youngstown Police will be on security detail, Nuby says.

Basketball isn’t the main premise of this project. Every player is required to take an hour-long training session and seminars each week on domestic violence, anger management, crisis situations with police, drugs and alcohol, life skills, job skills and nutrition, Nuby says. Community service in the neighborhood will be reinforced. If anyone is seeking a GED, Sabrina Jones, superintendent of the Academy of Urban Scholars, will help, he adds.

Ty-Juan Young-Bright, a 1999 graduate of the former Youngstown Wilson High School, is involved with the new league. The assistant dean of academics at EGCC, he says education is “a great equalizer.”

Mark Mostella, community liaison officer assigned to the services division of the YPD, says these young people need to be the next leaders of this city, and programs like the Respect Basketball League can make that happen.

“Our village is about to get stronger,” he says.

Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown says he played in a league like this in the early 1990s, and saw that venture save so many of his friends’ lives.

“I believe this is another layer for us as a community to continue to reduce the violence, get our young men and women engaged in productive activity,” the mayor says.

Pictured at the top: Respect Basketball League commissioner Randy Nuby.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.