Two College of Marin alumni, whose passion for basketball and community service have re-ignited a youth basketball program at the Marin City Recreation Center, have launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy equipment for their youth teams.
"The message has gotten out about what we are doing here in Marin City, but we are unable to accommodate the growing number of kids who want to participate," said Garland Duhe, 24, who played for the Mariners from 2010 to 2013.
Duhe, together with Lorenzo Bynum, 26, and one of their former basketball students, Ethan Rosenberg, 19, are inspiring a new generation of boys to learn life skills while playing basketball. It was basketball, they say, and the dedicated coaches who pushed them to grow in the sport, that transformed their lives.
"I really didn't enjoy the passion for it until I was at College of Marin," said Bynum, who played for the Mariners from 2009 to 2011 when then-Coach Bruce Furuya, an academic counselor at COM, and then-Assistant Coach David Granucci led the team. "The coaches really brought it to me. I just fell in love with it." Bynum, who is an assistant coach for Tamalpais High School men's varsity basketball team, said he learned about sacrifice and maturity under the caring tutelage of Granucci.
"Dave didn't know me from a can of paint, but he took me in and taught me everything he knew and showed me people really do care," Bynum said. "I feel I have a gift I need to pass on."
The young men, who volunteer coach at the Marin City Recreation Center, hope to raise $8,000 to buy enough equipment for the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade basketball teams they work with. They also help train high school players as well.
"Our weekends are spent training basketball players from ages 8-20," said Duhe who says he is also inspired in part by the late Jerry McIntosh who coached the Southern Marin Lightning youth basketball team.
The young players recently got the VIP treatment as guests at Mariners championship game against Mendocino when they played during halftime and were invited into the locker room after the game to talk to the College players and get autographs.
"Our guys loved it," Coach Granucci said. "It helps them understand how much influence you can have on young people's lives. You don't have to be a celebrity. You can be someone in the community that just cares. The young people are so lucky to have these two guys there."
The fundraising campaign is posted on GoFundMe.com at http://www.gofundme.com/mbe21c.