‘Alaska Exposure’ hits the road (Basketball)
Jim Young is a teacher by trade but his passion is building a pipeline. Not for oil or natural gas, but for connecting Alaska high school basketball players with junior colleges in the Pacific Northwest.
Young organized the ‘Alaska Exposure Senior Trip’ four years ago and last year the group struck it rich when eight of nine boys signed with schools in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
“Lots of folks ask me why I do the things I do,” said Young, who coaches the Dimond High School girls team as well as working at the Anchorage Community YMCA. “I grew up in this community with a single mom and two brothers. We really struggled financially, but due to my mom’s hard work she gave us the best life possible. I credit all my motivation and work ethic to my mother.
“We had quite a few people in the community step up for our family back then. I’m very fortunate to be in a position in my life where I can be able to do things to give back to a community that I was raised in. The message I send to each individual on this trip is to make sure you do a great job representing yourself as an Alaska student-athlete. Every time we have a kid make it, it not only opens the door for their future but the future for an upcoming student-athlete.”
This year’s travel team includes Colby Mitchell of Chugiak; Chris Voss and Wes Arnes of Anchorage Christian; Choppy Queen of West; Andrew Buchanan of Seward; Dominic Young and Nathan Yaw of Eagle River; Trey Fullmer of Palmer; Tyler Hamilton of Lathrop; Makai George and Navarr Lopez of East; Tommy Hobbs of South; and Greyson Muotka of Service.
This year’s ‘Alaska Exposure Senior Trip’ began last week and concludes this weekend. The group will work out for nine NWAACC coaches in nine days, with hopes of catching somebody’s attention.
“The NWAACC has given lots of opportunities for our Alaska student-athletes to continue their athletic careers at the next level in various sports,” Young said. “It has really opened the recruiting pipeline.”
Still, there are no guarantees and Young makes no promises.
“It is up to each player,” he said.