Amateur Athletic Union basketball has been in Clarksdale the past three years and it is still growing.
Dennis Dupree Jr., son of Clarksdale Municipal School District Superintendent, Dennis Dupree, Sr. and wife, Shelia, founded the Mississippi Delta Elite team.
Dupree’s goal is to simultaneously teach basketball skills and life lessons.
The Mississippi Delta Elite started with just boys’ teams. Last summer the program expanded and added a girls’ team.
In spite of no funds to speak of, the program has continued to grow with contributions from family, friends and benefactors.
Dupree has loved basketball all his life. When his own college playing days were over and he arrived in Clarksdale, he wanted to do something with his time and talent that would give area youth some of the opportunities, he himself had been given as a result of watching both parents coach and focus on improving the lives of children.
The program reunited him with lifelong friend, former classmate and college teammate, Aaron Gillom. They coach the teams together.
The Mississippi Delta Elite has hosted a local tournament, traveled to Hot Springs, Ark., Conway, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, Jackson, Mississippi, and Dallas, Texas to compete.
HoopPlay USA, a nationally recognized organization, was so impressed by what it saw in the MS Delta Elite team and the coaches that they approached Dupree, Jr. with the idea of bringing HoopPlay USA tournaments to the Clarksdale area. Last year the HoopPlay-MS Delta Elite partnership began and it is expected to grow.
The Mississippi Delta Elite, an IRS 501c3 organization, is looking for contributions in different ways to help the athletes. Not all players families have the financial resourced to be part of a team.
Dupree has a wish list for 2019 that includes: a light colored-set of uniforms to go with the dark uniforms they he already have, a way to travel without to each competition without worrying about how he will get every member to the events, funds for meals and lodging, funds for tournament registration fees, funds for the players to have annual physical examinations, funds for practice gear so the team looks like a team, and funds to replenish the first aid kit.
For more information, contact Dupree at Msdeltaelite@gmail.com or check the team’s website at https://www.msdeltaelite.org/
To make a contribution to MS Delta Elite, make your check payable to the organization and mail it c/o Dennis Dupree, Jr. to 942 McKinley, Clarksdale, MS 38614.