R

emember the days of yore when you suited up in your green or white National Junior Basketball (NJB)  jersey and hit the courts, dribbling through defenders and draining shots, or airballing for the majority of students? But, once high school began, only the crème de la crème of players could continue on and join the prestigious Palo Alto High School varsity basketball team, and students were left on the sidelines alone with only a basketball.

Well, a group of Paly seniors were not happy with their inability to play competitive basketball, so they decided to create a team of their own, once again joining NJB.

NJB is an organization that runs basketball clinics and leagues for students of all ages.  It is a nationwide organization and is popular here in Palo Alto.

Players can begin in Kindergarten and play all the way through twelfth grade.  Once in high school, students are split between ninth and tenth graders and eleventh and twelfth graders.

This league is designed for those players who wish to continue playing competitive basketball, but are unable to earn a spot on their high school’s team.

Senior John Young is a member of an NJB team with his fellow classmates and enjoys being able to play basketball in a team environment.  He helped start the team as a way to play with many of his friends who he felt were good basketball players.  The high school NJB league allowed him to bring together a strong group of guys to play against other solid basketball teams.

The league consists of teams from all over the Bay Area including San Jose, Foothill, Los Gatos and Palo Alto.  The teams all follow a schedule and play against each other at the allotted times.

All of the games are relatively competitive, however not at the same level as varsity basketball. This still allows for players to get more of a workout and legitimate game then one might get by playing a pickup basketball game at the gym.

“It’s pretty laid back, but it’s still more intense than normal pickup games,” Young said.

Joining the league is incredibly easy and gives high schoolers the opportunity they might not have had with the varsity team. While currently the league is not as big and popular as some of the NJB leagues for younger kids, it is growing and improves with every new addition to the team.  Many of the Paly players encourage others to get a group of their friends and start another Palo Alto team.

“It’s easy, just contact NJB and you’ll be able to assemble your own squad,” Young said.

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