Local kids with big league pipe dreams may have the chance to train with one of Washington’s biggest homegrown basketball stars.
The St. James announced on May 7 an exclusive partnership with Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant’s youth basketball organization, Team Durant, which will be rebranded as Team Durant at the St. James.
The massive, 450,000-square-foot sports complex set out a lofty goal of capturing the corner of all sports markets in the DC area under its roof when it opened in September. Durant’s star power serves as a massive boon to the slate of programming the St. James co-founders Kendrick Ashton and Craig Dixon have been developing over the past eight months.
In a release from last week, Durant expressed excitement over the partnership.
“We started Team Durant to provide young basketball lovers with the best possible opportunities to grow and develop on and off the court,” Durant said. “Combining our talent and resources with the talent and resources of the St. James allows us to build a truly world class basketball development program.”
A Prince George’s County native and former Montrose Christian School star, Durant is well known for giving back to the community that jumpstarted his basketball career. While in town for a game against the Wizards in January, Durant made an appearance at the grand opening of College Track—an after-school program aiding students with the college application process and post-secondary planning—at the Durant Center in Suitland.
Team Durant boasts a number of talented boys and girls on its 13 youth teams, including four-star 2020 recruit Earl Timberlake of DeMatha Catholic High School. Team Durant will have access to state-of-the-art training technology, including Dr. Dish shooting machines and other analytics tools.
In addition to serving as the home base for Team Durant, the NBA star will play an active role in the basketball programming at the St. James. Ashton and Dixon announced that Durant has plans to host a number of clinics, camps, and tournaments at the facility.
“Kevin is the best in the world not only because he’s got a true gift, but he’s also put in a lot of work to become an expert in his craft,” Ashton says. “Sharing that ethic and those techniques and skills with young people who are developing [their game] is a big part of what we’re focusing on.”
Wayne Pratt, Durant’s father, will serve as the chairman of basketball at the St. James, managing the development of programming and training opportunities. An active figure in the DC youth basketball community, Pratt stresses the importance of utilizing the resources available at the St. James to develop the plethora of high-end basketball talent in the area.
“We want to be the standard to which AAU [Amateur Athletic Union basketball] needs to be and we understood that we need to do things differently,” Pratt says. “The St. James presents such a wide gamut of possibilities for these kids.”
Ashton and Dixon have plans to announce a slew of new sports programming opportunities in the near future. “We’ve really just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible at the St. James and in this region,” Dixon says. “We’re very optimistic about the program and progress we’ve made to date and even more excited about what’s to come.”