By John Eisel: CNj sports writer
While many of their peers were sleeping off nights of PlayStation2 and television, a group of elementary schools boys were counting off as they put up layups last week at Marshall Junior High School.
When they stopped counting, coach David Dawson would add to the total. By the time they got done, they were up to 100.
But the members of Clovis New Breed don’t seem to mind. The 10-and-under AAU basketball team keeps pushing, while trying equally hard to count off every time they put in a shot.
“The coaches are awesome,” said 10-year-old Joseph Montano, who will be going to Zia Elementary in the fall. “They give you a lot of discipline.”
Montano and Dawson said this kind of hard work and attitude is what led them to the state AAU championship in April in Albuquerque.
New Breed will compete in the AAU West Coast National Championship that starts Wednesday in Reno, Nev.
“I’m very excited. It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait to win,” said Dawson’s son, John.
New Breed has been doing plenty of winning. Since the season started they’ve played in tournaments throughout the region, winning against 10-year-old, 11-year-old and 12-year-old teams, Dawson said.
“There’s a lot of talent,” said Dawson who is a pastor at Pure Heart Word Center in Clovis. “There’s a whole lot of talent in these boys.”
Montano loves the travel.
“You get to see new things, see better places,” Montano said.
“We watch movies, joke around and fight over stuff,” John Dawson, David’s son, said.
The team is still raising money to make pay for the 1,200-mile trip to Reno.
Once they get to Reno, they will play at least four games, according to tournament director Paul Campbell. Teams start in pool play and move on to a double-elimination tournament.
Dawson said the team qualified for the national tournament in Greensboro, N.C., by winning state, but a trip to North Carolina would take two weeks, while a Reno trip is only a week long.
He also doesn’t want the team bogged down by winning.
“My main requirement is fun,” he said. “If they’re relaxed, I believe they’ll play better.”