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A Special Thanks from Blazin Heat President Tony Smith

The 2019 Kwame Nunn Memorial Event was a huge success! This event is extremely important to me, the Nunn family and our community. I want to personally thank all of the teams that attended. Without your support this event isn't a success.



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As I have completed my Freshman Year at the University of Willamette, the overall experience has been a blessing yet challenging at the same time. From an Academic stand point, I have realized how much studying I have to be willing to do in order to maintain a GPA that will allow me to pass my semesters and allow me to be eligible to remain playing basketball for the Bearcats. During my first semester, I was able to attend class, complete my workouts and attend practice while still having a good amount of time to hang out with friends but I had to learn how to re organize my time once the second semester started. I felt overwhelmed with school, basketball, and making time for my friends that I had to prioritize those three differently. I now spend a majority of my time in the basketball gym and in the Library studying. Even though I don't have a lot of time to hang out with people, I have a small circle of friends who understand my dream and support my commitment to school and basketball so they don't complain of the limited time they get with me; they appreciate it. My Freshman Year of College has allowed me to see peoples work ethic. That is what keeps me on track and not distracted. I know my end goal is to create a better life for myself by earning a degree while still playing College Basketball. If that means I have to sacrifice not going to parties and not wasting time when I could be finishing an assignment or getting extra shots up while everyone is doing their thing, then so be it! I know I wouldn't have this opportunity if it weren't for Chico Blazin Heat Basketball. This organization is why I'm here at Willamette University playing the sport I love. This organization has given me a chance in life! My Freshman year was definitely a tough one but I now have a better grasp on the Student-Athlete life so I'm hoping my next three years will become easier in regards to me being able to plan out my days without feeling overwhelmed. I'm fortunate to be where I am and it's because of the Blazin Heat Basketball Organization!

Micah Fleming talks about the challenge of adjusting to college life as a student athlete.

Sterling Smith rehabbing from ankle surgery plans to return to Europe.

Congratulations to Blazin Heat star guard Payton Conrad for her commitment to coach Derrick Pringle and the Simpson College Redhawks! Payton had a good summer and performed at a high level in all NCAA showcase events.

Congratulations to Blazin Heat star forward Kelsey Zelinsky for her commitment to coach Dan Waldeck and the Master’s University Mustangs! Kelsey had a great summer and performed at a high level in all NCAA showcase events. Kelsey was also the team leader in points and rebounds.

Rogers talks about her first year at D2 Western Oregon University

First and foremost my opportunity of playing basketball at Western Oregon University is credited to Blazin Heat Basketball. President Tony Smith and Coach Kevin were especially invested in my success and did everything in their power to make this happen. I am truly fortunate to have met them, they helped me prepare as a player and young adult for the transition from AAU to NCAA D2. 

Being a freshman was all about learning the culture of my team and being able to find balance between academics and athletics. However, it is more than just homework and practice. Being a college athlete requires time-management skills and dedicating yourself to each component of the day. Making time to eat, be to class promptly, early to practice, have energy for strength and conditioning is just the beginning of every demanding day. Being an athlete must include taking care of your body and setting aside time to socialize or relax, not to mention complete homework by due dates. Playing in college is so much more than what a player does on the court, what I do off the court, in the classroom, in the athletic training room, and in the dining hall is what will make me succeed.

This season I played considerable minutes and have a fantastic opportunity throughout Spring to develop my body in the weight room, and focus on individual skills on the court, all in preparation for a great next season. I know the people at Blazin' Heat Basketball have invested so much into my game, and that has kept me driven and passionate about being successful as a college student athlete.

Being able to play college basketball truly is amazing. My freshman year has been full of ups down just like anybody else, but it still has been such a fun experience. During the first semester of school I was able to breeze through being able to practice, train, complete my class work, and even had time to spend with friends. But once the second semester rolled around it was time to buckle down. My time was split between basketball and school work and everything else was pushed to the side. I was still able to see people in the cafeteria or walking to class, but the late night hangouts and drives had to be cut out. I think the hardest thing to fit in my schedule was eating since the cafeteria has certain hours and between basketball, school, and part time job it was difficult to fit in but was vital in order to stay healthy and keep performing on the court. I am so lucky to be able to play the sport I love in college and I have Chico Blazin Heat to thanks. Coach Kevin was always there to push me and get on me when needed and President Tony Smith was able to contact coaches for me and help me find the right place. I am beyond thankful and so happy that I have the people at Chico Blazin Heat and I know they will always be there for me. 

Stirton talks about her first year at NAIA William Jessup University