By: Lani Hansen, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen Randy July, Jr. will be taking a group of young athletes to Las Vegas, NV to compete in the Native American Elite Nationals.
July took on an internship for Haskell Indian Nations University for a basketball camp, then he eventually turned it into a business known as Elevate Your Game (EYG). The slogan comes from July’s mentor Pete King from Lawrence, KS who helped him mold the idea of elevate your game.
“I’m known for jumping so my mentor took what I was known for and put some other pieces to it, and we came up with Elevate Your Game,” July said. “It kinda stuck with me.”
EYG is a basketball program developed in 2016 where July has trained kids as young as 4 years old and even professional basketball players. This program has traveling teams from second to seventh grade.
Since 2016, July has trained over 300 individuals and held 21 camps in eight different states. He has 13 students who are enrolled Muscogee (Creek), some who are Cherokee, Choctaw and other tribes.
The group July is taking to Las Vegas to compete in the Native American Elite Nationals is the 12 and under boys team, which includes most of his fifth graders, and a couple of sixth graders.
According to the basketball exposure events website, the Native American Elite Nationals tournament is for youth, middle school and high school boys and girls all Native American teams. In attendance will be scouting services, media, and college coaches providing opportunities for Native athletes to gain future scholarships and college degrees playing basketball.
“I had someone write me on Facebook and invite me to the tournament, saying he saw what I was doing here in Oklahoma and he was pretty proud of me that I got EYG going like it has been,” July said.
The Native American Elite Nationals tournament is March 13-15 in Las Vegas. July and the EYG are raising funds to be able to attend. These fundraisers include a men’s and women’s basketball league every Tuesday and Thursday at the Mvskoke Dome, a couple of raffles, the kids going are selling World’s Finest Chocolate, and July has started a GoFundMe.
For more information about EYG or fundraisers, contact EYG Basketball Facebook page.