For the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year Award, The L.A. Clippers endorsed Oscar Pelt for his work through the Department of Recreation and Parks-Fred Roberts Park. He recently became one of three finalists for the award, along with San Antonio Spurs selection Keela Doerue and New York Knicks selection Chiene Jones. All three finalists will receive a grant for their youth basketball team.
Pelt gives back to Fred Roberts Park because he is a native of the Fred Roberts area, a community that is a stone’s throw from Jefferson High School. He frequented the park in his youth and earned at job there at 17 years old.
“I was more like the older brother to the kids,” Pelt said. “As I got older, in college … I was more serious with my group of kids, get them more focused on things.”
Fred Roberts park provides soccer and basketball all year round. Their seasonal sports include football, baseball, tee-ball, girls’ volleyball and flag football.
Pelt has been nominated before but has never become a finalist. He believes that the Clippers nominated him because of his dedication to uplifting his community and his desire to see his youth become successful.
Fred Roberts park serves kids from ages 5-18. During this time of year, the youth would be involved in Summer camp. The COVID-19 pandemic would cancel this and give Pelt another job assignment.
“Summer camp is the biggest time for us, the most fun,” Pelt said. “Right now, we’re not doing that. I’m working out of a shelter, they converted one of the [recreation centers] into a shelter.”
His advice for his high school students is to begin determining their career and life plans as soon as possible. He encourages his older kids to stay in school and go to college.
Pelt recalled one of his students ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree and returned to Fred Roberts Park to thank him for his mentorship. Although he has had parents thank him for his work, the student showing their gratitude for him made that moment memorable to Pelt.
In the future, Pelt wants to implement more exercise-based programs to promote fitness among the youth. After he was announced as a finalist for the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year award, he began to see Fred Roberts Park on his social media feed more frequently.
“In terms of exposure, I never seen it on social media as much as I ever seen it in these last weeks,” Pelt said. “Hopefully the social media aspect will help us out.”