Kids were given a masterclass on how to land themselves sports skills in a session led by the professionals.
Players from the Newcastle Eagles spent a day with more than 200 young people from across Sunderland in a showcase of talent held at its university’s City Space complex.
The event was set up by the Eagles Community Foundation, the registered charity linked with the basketball team, ahead of the squad’s visit to Birmingham this Sunday, where it will take part in the BBL Cup Final.
Darius Defoe, a forward for the club, joined foundation staff as they aimed to inspire the “stars of the future.”
The Year 5 students were invited to the session as part of the Hoops4Health Schools Tournament, which take place in each council area across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
The foundation’s general manager Deirdre L Tozer-Hayes said: “The all day event provided teams the opportunity to play games in the round robin competition before progressing to play offs.
The children not only enjoyed on the day interacting with Eagles player Darius but enjoyed the opportunity to play in a fun but competitive basketball tournament.”Newcastle Eagles Foundation’s general manager Deirdre L Tozer-Hayes
“St Cuthbert’s RC Primary, East Herrington Primary, Mill Hill Primary and Sunderland High Junior all progressed to the next stage where they will fight it out for the chance to be crowned Sunderland Hoops4Health champions. “The games will take place at a Newcastle Eagles game in March with the finals taking place at half time in front of the Eagles fans.
“The Hoops4Health programme has always been well supported by schools across Sunderland. “The tournament was a great success.
“The children not only enjoyed on the day interacting with Eagles player Darius, but enjoyed the opportunity to play in a fun but competitive basketball tournament.”
St Cuthbert’s will be hoping they can hold on to their crown as not only were they Sunderland Champions in 2014-15, but were crowned North East Champion of Champions.
The Hoops4Health days also see the students work with the players on healthy living choices, followed by coaching. The programme has been delivered for more than 10 years in Sunderland.
Children taking part in the project are encouraged to make healthy living choices and given the opportunity to continue participating in basketball at their nearest club at Sunderland College’s Bede Centre on Durham Road.
The club runs on Mondays from 5pm to 6pm.