Note: Below is a newspaper article from several years ago which featured the New Creations Flyers Basketball Academy & team. Due to the dated nature of newspaper articles, certain facts, figures & personnel mentioned may no longer be applicable. For the most recent information on New Creations Basketball Academy, please be sure to contact us.
Palladium-Item Newspaper (Richmond, IN): Athletes come to New Creations Chapel for a variety of reasons. Some out of necessity. Others seek notoriety. They all share a common need – a second chance at success. New Creations’ high school boys basketball program has become a haven for many who find themselves in need of a helping hand. This season’s team at the Christian school on Richmond’s east side featured players from around the United States and two West African nations. “Second chances has always been the foundation of New Creations,” said basketball coach Andy Bain. “Even before the athletics ever started.” Gary, Ind., native Robert Eldridge made the most of his second chance this season. The 6-foot-1 guard will always remember the day, April 13 and time, 7:41 a.m., when he signed with Wright State University. The NCAA Division I school is located in Dayton, Ohio. Eldridge was overjoyed after he made his verbal commitment official. “How excited do you think I am?” said a jubilant Eldridge. “I was just waking up when coach gave me the papers to sign.” He credited New Creations for helping him earn the athletic scholarship. But Eldridge helped his own cause by performing at a high level. “Coming down here was a good thing,” he said. “I did my part, and they did theirs.”
Bain has been a member of New Creations Chapel for more than 20 years. New Creations is an interdenominational congregation. The church is affiliated with Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministries, Calvary Ministries International and the Fellowship of Churches and Ministries International. Bain has been a part of the coaching staff for 13 years. He was head coach from 1996-99. He began his second run as head coach this season. “We want to help them improve their ball skills and enable them to go to college,” Bain said. “We don’t just want to turn out basketball players – but well-rounded young men. “Our focus is God, academics and then basketball.” Striving for excellence There are currently 73 students enrolled at New Creations. The school is divided into two programs: residential and boarding. Athletes are part of the residential program. Classes are offered for grades K-12. “They do things the Christian way,” said point guard Jim Brown. “I might not believe in everything that they do, but they’re really good people here.”
The Flyers were 24-4 this season and finished third in Division I at the National Association of Christian Athletics championships. New Creations scored 77 points per game and allowed 45. “Size-wise we are a Division III school,” Bain said. “I told them to put us in Division I. “The only way our kids can be the best is if they play against the best.” The Flyers won the NACA Division II championship last season and the Division III title two years ago. Despite finishing third this season, Bain thinks it will end up as one of the school’s most successful. That’s because six Flyers plan to play at the college level next season.
Eldridge is the second player in two years that will play at Wright State. Everett Spencer started all 30 games for Wright State this past season. “They had success with Everett, and they are willing to come back here to get another player,” Bain said. “That really tells me they like something we are doing here.” Edwin Ejike Hart from Nigeria and Kenie Freeman from Liberia are waiting for the results of their college placement exams. Bain believes both will play at Division I schools if they qualify academically. A number of junior colleges have been shown interest in Brown, Luther Andrews and Nathan Gordon. Brown and Andrews came to New Creations for a fresh start. Both are fifth-year seniors. Brown, a 6-3 guard, and Andrews, a 6-5 forward, were teammates at Julian High School in Chicago. “My academics were falling off,” Brown said. “I was a D-C student at home. Now, I’m an A-B student.” Grades were also an issue for Andrews. “I wasn’t doing that great in school,” Andrews said. “This gave me an opportunity to do better. I’m making the most of it.” Julian coach Loren Jackson recommended New Creations for the players. Jackson sent Ed Finner, another former Julian student, to New Creations last season. Finner played for Sheridan College in Wyoming this season. Change of environment “Jim and Luther just needed to get out of their environment,” Jackson said. “It’s almost like they are going away to college. They need to learn how to deal with the responsibility of being a man.” Eldridge was in good academic standing when he left Wirt High School in Gary, Ind. But he needed a different stage to display his talents. His plan worked. Wright State was among many universities that did not recruit Eldridge until he came to New Creations. “I came down here to finish high school and get some exposure,” Eldridge said. “Everything is going great. I’m just trying to finish up strong and keep my grades up.” Bain thinks staying at Wirt would have been a mistake for Eldridge. “They were starting to play him at the four because he is big and strong,” Bain said. “If he would have went through his senior year playing at the four, he would have never had anybody looking at him.”
A year in the residential program cost $6,400. None of the players are on scholarship. All players are under 19 at the start of the season. Bain accepts fifth-year players if they are not high school graduates. “If there is a serious need for assistance, we sit down with the families and work out a financial plan,” Bain said. Then there are the rules. “In some ways it’s too strict, and in some ways it’s OK,” Andrews said. Students are required to attend church services Thursday and twice on Sunday. Students cannot leave campus without permission from Bain, his assistant coach or dorm director. Curfew is 10 p.m. on school nights and lights out is 10:30. On weekends, curfew is 11 p.m. Profanity is not allowed and fraternizing with female students is discouraged. “I had to adjust to the culture and deal with their rules,” Eldridge said. “I know they are trying to instill discipline, but I just came here to finish high school.” Bain is upfront about the rules with perspective athletes. “I don’t hide anything from them,” he said. “It is a tough enough transition coming here and I don’t want them to be surprised. “One of the things I’m going to do differently next year is give them paperwork during our initial contact about all the hardest things about being at New Creations.” There are schools that are stricter. “We play other schools like Millersburg Military Academy,” Bain said. “Those kids get up at 5:30 every morning and do P.T. (physical training), and they have to march everywhere they go.” And there are schools that are much more lenient. “I played schools this year that are basketball factories, and the kids don’t even go to school,” Bain said. “I would rather resign from my position than to use the kids like that.”
Still, New Creations is not for everyone. Things didn’t work out with 6-9 center Carl Swanigan and 6-5 swingman Bobby Clark. Swanigan, who earned a full scholarship to Ole Miss, did not return after Christmas break. “I haven’t heard from him, and Ole Miss hasn’t heard from him either,” Bain said. “I have his scholarship information from Ole Miss here, and no one knows where he is at.” Clark was expelled after a confrontation with a staff member. Clark initially set up correspondence classes with New Creations. “We set it all up, and he started to do it,” Bain said. “Then he enrolled at Genesis One (of Jackson, Miss). “We played against Bobby down at nationals. He scored 1 8 points against us.” Bain wants to strengthen his program academically. Students complete the academic requirements of the Indiana Department of Education plus eight bible credits and extra physical education. “It’s not that we did a horrible job this year,” Bain said. “But if we are not looking to improve, then what are we doing?” He said educational priorities include college placement tests, hiring more tutors and helping students with study habits. “We have some stuff in place right now to help them with the ACT and SAT,” Bain said. “But I want to get better at that. I want to get computers in their dorms so they have access to study tools all the time.”
Bain also wants to improve the perception of his team to the local community. He feels some might see his program as a fly-by-night operation because the majority of his players are there for only one year. He is looking to bring in younger players so he can have them for multiple years. He wants to show New Creations is not a basketball assembly line. He said the institution does two important things: Help young men build character and prepare them for collegiate life and beyond. “That’s part of the reason why people don’t respect what we do,” Bain said. “They think all we are about is just reloading every year so we can put a banner on the wall. “If that happens, great. But that is not what this program is all about.”
Reach reporter Myyon Barnes at (765) 973-4465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright (c) Palladium-Item. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.Record Number: rch2005041813260501
Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN)