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"A" Game Required: Basketball Coach Mentors Youth in San Gabriel Valley, November, 5, 2010

THE Magazine, September 21, 2010 - People Making a Difference

Pasadena Star News, August 27, 2010 - Monrovia basketball clinic reaches far beyond sports

The Weekly Star, August 19, 2010 - Shooting Hoops with Local Kids

Monrovia Weekly, August 2010 - "A" Game Fundamentals Basketball Clinic Slam Dunk

Pasadena Star News, February 4, 2009 - Coaching the 'A' Game

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, January 29, 2009 - City Taps Coach Rodney Jefferson

Pasadena Star News, July 24, 2008 - "A" Game Clinic has a lot to offer youths

Mountain Views News, July 6, 2006 - "A" Game Fundamentals

Monrovia Weekly, July 28, 2006 - "Kids Learn More than Game at Basketball Clinic"

Tamala Kelly's Web Site & Interview with Coach Jefferson, August, 2005

Mountain Views, July 21, 2005 - "Harrick to Get His "A" Game On - Legendary coach to participate in Monrovia basketball clinic"

Pasadena Star News, Monday, July 11, 2005 - "Basketball Clinic Helps Area Youths Boost 'A' Game"


Coaching the 'A' game

Duarte High alum tapped to improve youth programs
By Lafayette C. Hight Jr., Staff Writer
Posted: 02/04/2009 01:36:49 PM PST

ON HIS GAME: Rodney Jefferson, 48, of Duarte , founder of A Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic, has been contracted by the city of Duarte to help expand and develop programs for local youth. A planned midnight basketball program and spring basketball clinic are scheduled to begin in April at Duarte High School , Jefferson s alma mater. ( Lafayette C. Hight Jr. / Staff


Duarte 's new asset in developing programs for local youth knows the rules of the game, and how to keep kids in play.

When Rodney Jefferson went to high school as part of Duarte 's class of 1978, while playing basketball during his three years at the school, he didn't have a mentor to keep him on track in terms of academics and college.

"I wish there would have been a Rodney Jefferson for me when I went to school here," he said while standing in front of his alma mater recently. "Someone who would have given me all of the information I needed to be successful."

Years later, that desire would help contribute to what developed as a passion for helping youth excel.

The Cal State L.A. graduate is now the founder and director of the nine-year-old "A" Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic, which operates out of Santa Fe Middle School in Monrovia and teaches basic fundamental basketball skills, and more, to youth.

"The most important part of the clinic is the life skills segment," said Jefferson, 48, of Duarte . "Everything from drugs, to gangs, to academics."

A UC Irvine student heads the tutoring program while Jefferson and his staff, which consists of 10 to 14 alumni and local coaches, help program participants pave athletic and academic roads that lead to colleges and universities.

Jefferson was approached by the city of Duarte and has now been contracted as a consultant to help enhance existing youth programs.

"This is something new that we are trying," said Deputy City Manager Karen Herrera, who said that youth programs are a big concern among city council members.

His work with "A" Game Fundamental Basketball impressed them.

"Whether it's abut additional coaching, or even college choices ... he (Jefferson) really stays involved with the kids," she said. "We feel very good that it's going to work out very well."

During Jefferson's six-month contract he will focus on three main services: a youth council, or discussion group, to help facilitate open communication between youth and community leaders; a basketball clinic to be held during spring break from April 13-17; and a midnight basketball program designed for children of all ages and young adults.

The latter is based upon a similar program that Jefferson recalls the school had many years ago.

"We have a different name on it, but basically it will have the basic fundamentals that the program did years ago," he said. "(It's) giving kids a positive venue where they enjoy a positive atmosphere and are able to interact and network with people from all over the San Gabriel Valley."

The weekly games would begin around 8 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday and conclude at midnight.

"We want this available to all kids," Jefferson said. "Although it is targeted to at-risk youth, (we) want to incorporate all youth."

He believes it won't be a difficult task.

"(With) everybody bringing all of their skills and networks together I think that can be accomplished rather easily," he said.

While playing as a guard for the Duarte Falcons, Jefferson credits his coach, Hank Hodges, as the one who helped him improve his game.

"He provided some fundamental structure for me that enhanced my abilities to embrace different ideals and concepts about basketball," he said.

His first coaching job came from Mel Sims, then the head varsity coach at Monrovia High School . Jefferson said Sims was the first to combine academics with athletics.

"When I got it (the job) I was just so overwhelmed." "He (Sims) said, `If you stay at this long enough, your footprints will be everywhere. Kids need footprints to follow, as long as they head in the right direction."'

The programs are scheduled to begin in March and April. For information, call City Hall at (626) 357-7931


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'A' Game Clinic has a lot to offer youths
By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Pasadena Star News
Article Launched: 07/24/2008 12:17:46 AM PDT

Youth sports camps are a way for young boys and girls to improve their athletic skills while interacting with famous athletes.

But the "A" Game Fundamentals Basketball Clinic, which will be held Aug. 4-8 at Santa Fe Middle School in Monrovia , offers something a little extra.

"Our clinic provides a quality program for both boys and girls," said coach Rodney Jefferson, the clinic's owner/director. "But we also offer life skills training. We talk about SAT scores, core classes and getting (kids) ready for college.

"(There have been) so many young athletes who play sports, but aren't ready for college. We have instructors who talk to the kids and help them get ready for college. The clinic is designed for fun, but it is also a good mechanism for the school system."

Those in attendance should also get some pretty good basketball instruction as well.

Former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, who guided the Bruins to the 1995 NCAA title, is slated to speak during the opening day, and Sparks coach Michael Cooper, who led Los Angeles to back-to-back WNBA titles earlier this decade, is scheduled to speak on the final day.

Other speakers will be Mark Kelly, a graduate of La Salle and a former player at UC Irvine and Bryan Markson, who played at Monrovia and collegiality at Utah .

Past speakers include PCC women's basketball coach Joe Peron, Phoenix Mercury general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale and Reggie Theus, who is the head coach for the Sacramento Kings.

"I coached and (have) been a guest speaker at a lot of camps," said Jefferson, who has coached at Monrovia High and Citrus College . "I've been fortunate to develop a lot of relationships, and through my coaching experience, I met our guest speakers."

The clinic, which is for boys and girls between the fifth and 11th grades, costs $80. The fee includes basketball training skills, a T-shirt, a Sparks gift item and one ticket to the Sparks vs. San Antonio Silver Stars game on Aug. 30. Lunch will be provided each day of the clinic.

More information about the clinic is available by calling Jefferson at (626) 219-6067, or visiting the Web site, www.agamefundamentals.org.


(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2296

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Mountain Views News Magazine
July 8, 2006

“A” Game Fundamentals
By Justin Kibbe

Directed by Rodney Jefferson, the former recruiter of athletes for the Citrus College Men's Basketball program and the former head Junior Varsity coach at Monrovia High School, “A” Game offers contests, competitions, speakers, demonstrations and one-on-one training with outstanding, experienced basketball players from across the United States.

Teamwork and discipline are tools for success, both on and off the floor. “A” Game also uses life skills training as a guide to self-improvement. Most of all, their skilled and friendly staff will emphasize the enjoyment of basic fundamental basketball training.

“A” Game Fundamentals Basketball Clinic is for boys and girls in grades five through eleven. Using contests, competitions, speakers and demonstrations, this clinic offers every young person who attends the fundamental basketball skills. “A” Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic will improve each attendant's understanding about basic fundamental basketball training.

Brant Markson, a player for the Utah Utes, will also make an appearance as a guest speaker. Markson is also a former Monrovia High School Student names San Gabriel player of the year and Arroyo MVP two years in a row. Mark Kelly, UC Irvine player, and Coach Mel Sims (Head Coach of Ayala High School) will also make appearances.

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Monrovia Weekly
Friday July 28, 2006

Kids Learn More than Game at Basketball Clinic
Rodney Jefferson encourages ‘good life choices'
By Jennifer MacDonald

Rodney Jefferson, founder and head coach of "A" Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic invites area youth to participate in the program next week that encourages basketball and life skills development.

The importance of academic success coupled with basketball is a theme echoed by Duarte City Council member Lois Gaston. Gaston not only sends her two grandchildren to the clinic every year, she also administers grants from the Second Baptist Church Summer & Youth Program, funded by Santa Anita Family Service and Los Angeles County Department of Children Family Support, to sponsor 20 children to attend the clinic. She believes in the clinic because it reaches out to youth to make sure they make correct choices, she said.

"It takes more than just the education system," said Gaston. "[Rodney Jefferson] takes what the schools offer and he takes kids to the next level to make sure they are competitive at local and national arenas."

Jefferson's success as a basketball and life coach comes from experience. He has lived in Monrovia for over 30 years and played basketball at Monrovia High School. He recently worked as a basketball team recruiter for Citrus College and has worked at many top basketball camps at colleges across the nation including the University of Louisville, Arizona State University, the University of Southern California and Pepperdine University.

Jefferson's network of friends in the basketball world provides an ample number of celebrity guest speakers at the clinic. Boys and girls who attend the clinic can expect to be wowed by such celebrity guests as Jim Harrick, a Division I college basketball coach who headed UCLA men's basketball team for eight seasons.

"It's a special treat for the kids to get to see a celebrity like Jim," Jefferson said.

The Monrovia D.A.R.E. Program will also make an appearance.

"A" game means to bring your best, and that's exactly what the community and participants in a local summer basketball clinic provide to teach young people not only basketball skills but also the importance of going to school and making good life choices.

Sponsored by many local businesses like Shaffer Awards and Papa John's Pizza, this unique, week-long clinic is truly a community event for children in fifth through 11th grade.

Its creator and head coach, Rodney Jefferson, started the clinic in 2001 to provide a new kind of summer basketball camp for kids in the Monrovia area.

"There had never been a clinic like this before," said Jefferson. "I wanted to provide quality training but I also wanted to provide life skills, which are very important in the development of kids for high school."

One of the ways the clinic teaches these skills is by informing both youth and parents about the importance of an education.

Arcadia High School counselor Kathy Rapkin is one of many guest speakers scheduled to participate. Rapkin will give a speech on goal-setting and the reliability of an education versus the uncertainty of athletic ability due to injuries. She hopes to get the students at the clinic to put as much heart in school as they do into basketball.

"We want these kids to know that with an education you can play hurt, but with basketball you can't," said Rapkin. "Kids sometimes think their ticket is going to be their athleticism but that's not their ticket, that's like the cream on top. The ticket is their education. That's what's going to make them successful."

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Pasadena Star-News

Basketball clinic helps area youths boost 'A' game
By Sonya Geis
Staff Writer

Monday, July 11, 2005 - MONROVIA

When Rodney Jefferson was growing up in Monrovia in the 1970s, there was no YMCA, no Boys & Girls Club and no summer camp.

"I used to have to go to my cousin's house in L.A. to have programs' in the summer, he recalled recently.

So five years ago, Jefferson launched a local initiative to give kids the kind of option he would have liked during long, hot Monrovia summers: the "A' Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic.

Every year in August, dozens of children from fifth through 11th grade spend a week learning to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball. The cost is significantly less than many other summer programs. Sponsors such as the L.A. Clippers, McDonald's and local businesses pay for lunch and T-shirts.

Jefferson ensures students pick up a lesson or two on sportsmanship and teamwork along the way. And professional basketball players, coaches and referees drop in to encourage students to focus on their goals and dream big.

"Those are the growing years for kids,' Jefferson said in an interview at a Monrovia coffee shop. Jefferson, 44, is a former high-school and community-college player and coach, who worked most recently as a recruiter for the Citrus College basketball program. He has the easy, in-charge manner of a man used to wearing a whistle around his neck.

"We have so many kids in the city with a lot of athletic ability that are not transitioning on to college,' he said. "That concerns me.'

Jefferson brings in the professionals to serve as role models. Speakers and trainers include Jim Harrick, who spent eight years coaching at UCLA; Chris Shevlin, an NCAA official for more than 15 years; and Bryant Markson, who also went to Monrovia High School and is now a college player in Utah.

Shevlin said he comes out to the clinic every year to pass along the importance of respect and discipline.

"They can be the greatest player in the world, but if they don't have the grades, they can't keep going,' he said. "I think what Rodney's doing is a wonderful service to the community.'

Duarte City Councilwoman Lois Gaston agrees. Her two grandchildren come in from Claremont every summer to attend the clinic.

"They look forward to it,' she said. "It's not only physical fitness. He also teaches the fundamental principles of how to be a good person, a good citizen.'

Jefferson also trains students in respect, said Monrovia City Councilwoman Mary Ann Lutz. Lutz has observed the clinic for the past five years.

"You get 50, 60 kids, and Rodney blows his whistle and says, 'Quiet' boom! it's quiet,' she said. "He says, 'Sit on the floor,' and they're on the floor. It's phenomenal to see the respect he gets from them, and in turn the respect they get for themselves.'

The clinic is not all about work and learning, Jefferson said. When the celebrities visit, it can be just plain fun.


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Harrick to Get His "A" Game On
Legendary coach to participate in Monrovia basketball clinic

Mountain Views Newspaper
Monrovia, CA
July 21, 2005

Several basketball celebrities are scheduled to attend the fifth annual "A" Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic, which will be held Monday - Friday, Aug. 1-5 at Santa Fe Middle School in Monrovia.

Among the dignitaries slated to make an appearance at the five-day event is coach Jim Harrick, currently the coach of the University of Georgia basketball squad, but known locally as the former coach at UCLA and Pepperdine.

The clinic is designed for boys and girls in fifth through 11th grades, and features a half-day schedule of physical fitness, basketball skills lessons, contests, competitions, team games, and speakers and demonstrations. An "All-star" game will be held the final day of the clinic for students to show their stuff on the court.

Featured during the skills segment of the clinic, will be members of the Monrovia Police Department D.A.R.E. program, including Risa Hampton, representing the Pasadena Parole and Community Services Division.

Director of the clinic is Rodney Jefferson, who has been active with local hoops squads, and served as the junior varsity coach at Monrovia High and as a recruiter of athletes for the Citrus College men's basketball program.

The "A" Game Fundamental Basketball Clinic is sponsored by the Los Angeles Clippers, KGEM-TV, the Lutz Company, McDonalds, Papa Johns's Pizza, Neighborhood Pawn, Inc. , the Second Baptist Church Summer Youth Program, the Shaffer Awards, Shasta Cola, Walsh's Pest control, and Wells Fargo.

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