All-Star 100 aims to ‘bring back the love’

All-Star 100 is an organization that provides opportunities for student-athletes to compete in activities that develop character, celebrate diversity and promote teamwork. “We want to bring back the fun in youth sports,” said John Baker, one of the founders of All-Star 100. “We want to provide opportunities for as many student-athletes as possible.”

Last month, All-Star 100 took a giant step towards accomplishing that goal by hosting a basketball tournament for 400 student-athletes grades four through eight at Maplewood Middle School.

During the two-day event, the gym was overflowing with participants and their families, including a few former prep and college basketball standouts. Former University of Minnesota great Melvin Newbern and 1988 Mr. Basketball and Minneapolis North alum Derek Reuben were among those watching their sons participate in the eighth-grade bracket.

Rueben even coached a team, as did former Minneapolis Henry standout Robert Eppinger. Juriad Hughes, a former St. Paul Central basketball standout, officiated a few games as well.

Baker stressed their importance and that of others involved. “It was important to have people from the basketball community involved,” he said. “Community support is vital to what we are trying to accomplish.”

What makes All-Star 100 unique is that in addition to seeking out the best players for their events, they also invite student-athletes who show an interest in developing teamwork and social skills and embracing diversity.

As for the event itself, Baker thinks they are headed in the right direction. “I think the event was very successful,” he said, beaming with pride. “People are still talking about it. I’m looking forward to next year.”

After helping to create All-Star 100, Baker’s ultimate goal is straight to the point. “We want to bring the love back to youth sports,” Baker said, quoting the organization’s motto.

Judging from last month’s event, All-Star 100 is getting closer to achieving that goal.