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Basketball-based nonprofit settles into new headquarters | Business

Yves Saintelo has far more than simply building a basketball gym in mind with his latest venture.

The game of basketball played a significant role in developing Saintelo’s work ethic. To him, it’s more than just his favorite game from him — he said it saved his life from him after his father from him died when he was 14.

His playing days are over, but the game is just as much a part of his life as it was in college.

Saintelo has assisted basketball coaching at Norman High School, counseled at Norman North and now teaches physical education at Adams Elementary when he’s not working with Team HQ and training youth.

He and his friends Antoine Newson and Joshua Gibbs co-founded Team HQ in 2020.

But Saintelo noticed early in his role as a mentor of young hoopers that a consistently reliable place to practice and play was needed in Norman. Many of Saintelo’s students were traveling to north Oklahoma City or Edmond just to practice.

With the completion of How Basketball Saved My Life headquarters at 1050 N. University Blvd., youth basketball players in Norman now have a place to develop their skills and scrimmage.

The gym is a brick-and-mortar for his nonprofit and LLC.

The 6,000-square-foot facility holds a basketball court larger than junior high regulation and will soon have five goals, two basketball “shooting guns” for drills, a recovery room and an office space.

Teams first practiced at the new headquarters in April, and Saintelo said he and his fellow coaches can’t believe it’s finally happening.

“I’ve posted about it on Facebook, but I’ve decided to stop doing that and just marvel in silence, but this is a dream come true, and they feel the same way,” Saintelo said.

An official opening event is from 3 to 8 pm June 20. There will be come-and-go activities and the large garage doors will be open on both sides of the gym.

“I’m doing private and group training and we have a lot of teams practicing here, so we just have to figure out the schedule,” Saintelo said. “I definitely plan on doing camps and clinics to keep servicing the kids.”

Eventually, Saintelo looks to host games and tournament events in the facility.

Saintelo said he wants to create a local movement without barriers, whether that’s proximity or cost. Around a third of the kids in the program receive a scholarship.

Saintelo said they wouldn’t be able to offer scholarships without support from local companies and churches who fill other needs.

He said the Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center’s support makes it possible to provide the scholarships to kids, and Calvary Church and Crosspoint has let them use their gyms.

Saintelo wants to give local youth advantages to succeed in the game of basketball and also teach them that sports is more than wins and losses. The new gym is the most recent step in Saintelo’s efforts to build a basketball community.

“Anyone who doesn’t know where they belong, they get to feel like they do, and it’s so easy to make friends in sports,” Saintelo said. “Kids who maybe just moved to Norman or the state will reach out via email or social media and we get them plugged in — now they have a community.”

He said what he values ​​most is seeing the sense of belonging and accessibility that How Basketball Saved My Life provides kids.

The How Basketball Saved My Life community’s roots are in Norman, but Saintelo hopes it grows to surrounding towns like Noble and Purcell.

“The kids in Noble, Little Ax and Lindsay are having to travel up to Edmond too,” Saintelo said. “We’re just trying to be accessible and hopefully more and more communities will have an opportunity to be [a part of this].”

The basketball club is growing at a rate much faster than Saintelo initially anticipated. He said that’s a good problem to have, but he doesn’t want it to “outgrow itself.”

“I don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow,” Saintelo said.

To donate to the scholarship fund and find out more about sponsorships and training, visit hbsml.net/organization.html.

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