It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. All too often, negative forces steer a child from his or her God-given potential, but the coaches at Say No to Drugs basketball camp direct them back to their path. One coach in particular, can relate to his players in more than one way.
Wallace Moore, 48, has been a coach with Say No for over fourteen years. The product of a broken home and a criminal past, Moore was introduced to Say No by friend, Dartanian Stamps. “He saw that I was trying to change my life and thought that it would be a good program for me. I’ve been here ever since,” said Moore. Say No was started over 32 years ago by CEO Rod Smith to help under-privileged youth and college students get off of drugs and controlled substances. The summer league allows for coaches across the country to come and scout these talented youth and award them with full scholarships. Moore said, “We hold open tryouts, place them on teams, and try to place them in junior colleges and colleges”.
Once placed on a team, the players are mentored, counseled, and uplifted. Often, they are also scouted by representatives from Pac 10 schools, such as UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Say No boasts an elite list of previous players: Nick Young (Washington Wizards), Marcus Williams (New Jersey Nets), Darnell Wright (Miami Heat), Trevor Ariza (LA Lakers), Aaron Afflalo (Detroit Pistons), Jordan Farmar (LA Lakers), Gabe Pruit (World Champion Boston Celtics), Marcus Banks (Phoenix Suns), Craig Smith (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Baron Davis (L.A Clippers), just to name a few. Moore speaks highly of close friend Baron Davis’ contribution to the community and the impact he made on his life. “He’s an inspiration to me. We talk about positive things and having a positive life. He’s a community leader and he comes back to help his community. He shows them that if he made it, so can they”.
Moore, a graduate of Crenshaw High School, mentors the younger players as Head Coach of one of the teams and is a Say No Board Member. “I know what they’re going through. I was there, but we offer them strength and hope,” he said. Say No players come from all walks of life, some are in college and some already have scholarships, but they are drawn to the program by testimonials from previous participants. In his fourteen years of working with Say No, Moore said that there is one story that stands out more than the others. “Six years ago, I met a kid named Alex Wilson. He was from Compton, raised himself and came up to me saying he wanted to play. I let him play and he did great! He got clean and got his life together; although he wasn’t recruited to the NBA, he has a job and he’s taking care of his family,” said Moore. He is proud of this player because he did not let drugs control the outcome of his life.
Moore, once in and out of prison and addicted to drugs, is now a recovering drug addict and works for the Prison System as a Substance Abuse counselor. “I had mentors help me find my way. Charles Goshean, with the Amity Foundation, helped me realize the mistakes I made and helped me get back on track,” said Moore. “My community helped me, so now I’m helping it.” He strongly advocates Say No to any family because it builds a support system for their children’s future. Say No is a non-profit organization and offers a summer basketball league for male and female basketball players. For more information, visit saynoclassic.com.