Cesar Castro and Kyle Umemba are hosting a big-time basketball tournament in Chelsea this weekend.
On Saturday at the Highland Park courts, eight teams, ages 16 and under, will compete in the first annual Let It Fly Classic. Proceeds from the tournament will go toward scholarships for the Chelsea High School Class of 2016.
Three teams will represent Chelsea in the tournament. Revere, Cambridge, and Lynn are among the other cities vying for the championship trophy in the full-court tournament that will have referees.
Castro and Umemba, who are co-directors, said they were looking to bring a youth basketball event to Chelsea that would have an impact in the community.
“We wanted to be pro-active and help the kids with a tournament that will bring excitement and unite the community,” said Umemba, a graduate of George Washington University who played basketball at Buckingham Browne and Nichols, a prestigious prep school in Cambridge.
“We want to bring the city together,” added Castro, who scored more than 1,200 points during his brilliant career at Chelsea High.
The two community leaders said that City Councillor Giovanni Recupero, Chelsea Police officer Sammy Mojica, and DPW Director Joe Foti were instrumental in securing Highland Park as the venue and getting it ready for the event. Mojica’s son, Sammy Jr., a basketball player at Drexel, will be in attendance at the tournament.
The co-sponsors of the tournament are J.A.B. Step and Chelsea Black Community (CBC), a local organization presided over by Kyle’s mother, Joan Cromwell. The eight team sponsors are: Eastern Minerals, Katz Bakery, Kraft and Hall Associates, Today’s Collision Repair Center, Councilor-at-Large Calvin T. Brown, ROCA, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, and Blade Masters Barber Shop.
The players on the championship team will receive a team trophy and an individual trophy. A Most Valuable Player Award will also be presented.
Alex Johnson, owner of the Early Start Clothing Line, donated giveaway bags for the winners. Justin Kitteridge of ISlide donated custom-made sandals for the MVP recipient and the raffle drawing.
Castro is a paraprofessional in the Chelsea school system and pursuing a degree in Education at Salem State University. Umemba, who studied finance at George Washington University, will be doing consulting work at Price Waterhouse Coopers, a Big Four accounting firm.
Both Castro and Umemba are hoping that their experiences and knowledge can inspire the next generation of Chelsea youths.
Castro wishes he had teamed up with the 6-foot-3-inch Umemba at Chelsea High. While in prep school, Umemba played against Nerlens Noel (Tilton), Alex Murphy (St. Mark’s), and Shabazz Napier (Lawrence Academy).
“I really believe we would have won a state championship if my buddy Kyle were there,” said Castro. “It would have been lob city in Chelsea.”