Updated: Dec 15, 2020
How does a little program in Bel Aire, Kansas become one of the best basketball programs in the United States?
John Wooden was one of the best basketball coaches of all time. He used the UCLA Bruins basketball program as a discipleship tool to transform boys into men. He emphasized holistic player development; he cared how players progressed academically, socially, and spiritually. He coached through the civil rights era, he brought boys together of completely different experiences and backgrounds and created unity. Wooden had ten national championships, seven of those were consecutive.
Coach Barnwell, nicknamed “Wooden” by his friends has created a portal that turns boys into men here in Bel Aire, Kansas.
“We have an incredible opportunity to put before the next generation leaders of thought, character, faith, and excellence.” - Coach
“Basketball is a means to end,” coach Barnwell says. “By using basketball you can make a difference in the life of your neighborhood kid, your daughter, grandchild or children.”
The Sunrise hoops program is described as a family by alumni, parents, and members of the program. Jeremy Smith, the vice-superintendent of the academy agrees with coach Barnwell that young people, not just players, need coaches and a community to mentor them in the ways of God until they mature into people of dignity who are worthy of emulating.
Buddy Hield is one of dozens who came to Sunrise from outside the continental United States because a missionary noticed him in the islands playing on a dirt court. Buddy was faced by a giant at Sunrise, mediocrity. The Sunrise community called out the potential in Buddy, which took him to the University of Oklahoma, where he continued to thrive and won the Wooden award! On breaks he returned “home” to Sunrise to be with “family”. Buddy has since gone on to play four years in the NBA. But his vision is on discipling his people. He has partnered with Sunrise to provide camps for underprivileged children in the Bahamas and Wichita, Kansas.
Additionally, Buddy, like many players, invests his financial success into people and programs that shape their homes with a biblical worldview.
Something special is happening in Bel Aire, Kansas. It is a little known dynasty that only a few people know about. Basketball is just 10% of the iceberg. Just see:
Over 87 division I athletes
2 National Geico championship appearances
4 commitments to Christ this year (2020)
Graduates have on average $60k/per capita in scholarships
More performing arts awards & nominations than any other high school in Kansas
1 First round NBA draft pick
Every year we need to raise over $750k to provide this life-changing program to individuals from around the world.
Would you consider partnering with us to continue this incredible work?
Of course, all gifts are tax-deductible.