Summer 2022

Athletes in Action to launch AIA Prep basketball academy in 2022, including 'spiritual training'

Athletes in Action is combining faith and basketball in a new way with the creation of a basketball prep academy in the fall of 2022. The program, called AIA Prep, is designed for high school graduates taking a “gap year” before entering college.

“Every prep school in the country has the same goal, for their athletes to improve in their craft as much as possible, in order for them to make their dreams a reality,” James Bolin, the director of the program, said in a press release announcing AIA Prep. “Our motto of ‘Grow, Serve, Compete’ showcases a different route to finding success on the floor — we want to maximize who they are as people, not just basketball players.”

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The team will be based out of Athletes in Action’s headquarters in Xenia, Ohio, and is scheduled to start play in the 2022-23 season. AIA Prep will play between 30 and 35 games a season against other prep schools, NAIA and junior college teams, and junior varsity teams at Division I and Division II programs.

Construction is set to begin on the Wooden Family Fieldhouse — where AIA Prep will practice and play its home games — in the spring. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023.

In addition to practices and individualized workouts, AIA Prep will teach a Bible-based leadership course, help students prepare for the ACT and SAT, and organize community service initiatives. English as a second language courses will be offered for international students.

“A day in the life of one of our athletes will consist of leadership and spiritual training, team and individual meetings, team practice, individual skill development, strength and speed training, and online class time,” head coach John Green said in an open letter introducing himself. “Our program is built to mirror that of the college life experience, in order to best prepare our athletes for what is in store.”

Green, a longtime high school coach in North Carolina, first became involved with Athletes in Action through a three-week trip to New Zealand in 2018. He continued to partner with the organization by serving at various coaching clinics until being asked to take over the AIA Prep program in early 2020.

The ultimate goal of the program is to better prepare athletes for the transition to college both on and off the court.

AIA Prep is currently recruiting for its inaugural team. Anyone interested in applying can fill out a questionnaire to introduce themselves to the coaching staff.

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