A local AAU basketball team will head to Florida next month to compete in the National Championship tournament.
The Fort Mill Knicks, a 10th grade team made up of kids from Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern and Chester high schools, will go to the Orlando, Fla., area July 16-20 to play in the tournament against a pool of teams that can potentially top 100.
Knicks head coach Gilbert Major said he is confident his team, now 22-2 on the season, can place in the top eight at the tournament.
“We have a really good team,” Major said. “I am overwhelmed at the talent we have.”
Major said his team has depth, which has helped it win five consecutive tournaments, including the South Carolina AAU District Championship in May in Columbia.
“We have good team chemistry and they are very family oriented as a team,” Major said. “I have a lot of parent involvement.”
Major’s style of play includes man-to-man defense for the entire game, which he said tends to tire his team’s opponents.
The Knicks basketball organization was formed in 2013 by Major, who is a retired New York City police lieutenant. The organization also fields a fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th grade team.
“I started it as a way to give back to the community,” said Major, who currently works with the York County Sheriff’s Office.
The Knicks organization is a nonprofit group that charges $300 to play, which pays for uniforms, sneakers and other team-related expenses.