Beckley basketball legend brings AAU program to area

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A former Beckley basketball star is bringing a prominent youth basketball program to the area.

Tamar Slay helped lead the Woodrow Wilson High School Basketball team to two AAA state championships in 1997 and 1998. He then stayed in the state to play college ball with Marshall University. He even played in the professionally in the NBA and oversees.

Now, he wants to give kids in his home town the chance to achieve all that he did and more.

“Beckley is still home. It is not a lot of us that are fortunate enough to play college basketball,” said Slay.

Since retiring from professional basketball he shifted his focus towards coaching the next generation of athletes. One of the best ways to do so is through the AAU. Slay sees the impact playing in the Amateur Athletic Union has on developed players and wants kids in Beckley to have those same chances.

“I am up here in the Charlotte area and I see a lot of these kids that are getting more opportunities because they are in these events, not because they are better basketball players,” said Slay.

He will not do so alone. While he will be in Beckley from time to time, he will rely on the help and coaching of other basketball legends in the area, such as the Nabor Family, Gene, Brian and Andre Nabor, and his former college teammate and roommate, Monty Wright.

The pandemic took a toll on middle school and high school athletics, and Brian and Gene Nabor know firsthand some kids need to be quickly caught up. Slay said the first teams in the area will be offered for fifth and seventh graders.

“What they are saying is they want to gradually bring these kids a long, because a lot of them haven’t touched a ball haven’t been able to do anything,” said Slay.

Slay said determination, teamwork, and having a high basketball I.Q. helped him make it to the NBA, and he wants to teach these principles through AAU program.

“When they are evaluating you, they’re not evaluating on how many points you scored because they probably already got somebody that’s gonna give them 20 points a night. They want you to be able to come in and fill a role,” said Slay.

While COVID-19 continues to delay the establishment of the team in Beckley, Slay hopes to get the ball rolling and dribbling as soon as possible.

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