DENVER — When Metro State hits the floor at 6:30am in the morning the players better be ready to practice.
Demetrius Miller, a senior guard from Michigan says, “It’s straight into intensity. Intense, intense, intense.”
Head Coach Derrick Clark explains, “The minute you come into practice and you’re flat, you haven’t gotten better on that day.”
12 hours later they are back at the gym at Manual High School.
Miguel Garcia is a senior at Manual who says, “They’re like big brothers, they show us the steps to success.”
The Metro State Roadrunners have a long-term partnership with the Manual H.S. boys’ basketball team.
Coach Clark says it’s familiar territory for his team. “We’re big into the mentoring thing. Our guys have a mentoring program with Professors and such on campus. So we thought why not extend it to the community.”
Miguel remembers the first Roadrunners’ practice his team went to. “It was 5:30 in the morning. They taught some drills, how to do some post moves.”
Obera Litt, a point guard for Manual walked away with a new perspective. “To wake up that early you have to be dedicated. And it takes a lot of hard work.”
The common denominator is hoops, but the game plan is all about keeping these kids moving in the right direction off the court.
Demetrius Miller explains, “We have a lot to offer these kids. Of course we are one of the top programs in the nation. We have a lot of basketball knowledge and know what it takes to get to the next level. And that’s where all these kids want to be.”
Manual senior Jonathan Morse says, “It’s good to have an older brother to talk to now and then.”
Obera has been listening, “Don’t quit, work hard. Whatever you do, stick to it, no matter how hard it is.”
Metro State is working toward winning its third national title. But Miller says there is another agenda. “Biggest thing I want to see is that they understand, is that it takes a lot of hard work to get to college and maintain it. That’s the one thing I want to see them retain when this is all over.”
Metro State will wrap up the regular season this weekend with home games against CSU Pueblo and UC Colorado Springs.