As one of an ongoing series of events being held around Spain to promote basketball participation among young people, Unicaja Malaga hosted a high school experience in one of the Copa Colegial cities on Tuesday at the Leon XIII school in the southern Spanish city.
The Copa Colegial enjoys the support of Euroleague Basketball in a five-year partnership as part of the EuroLeague Academy brand, under which school tournaments and other grassroots programs are developed. Now in its 12th edition, the Copa Colegial is a competition that aims to increase the importance and presence of basketball among students. It offers young people the unique experience of representing their schools on the court and bonding through basketball with fellow students throughout the country.
The event in Malaga was marked by the participation of two fan-favorite players of Unicaja, star big man James Augustine and local hero Alberto Diaz, who was the 2017 7DAYS EuroCup Finals MVP. Both spoke to the students attending the event, encouraging them to play basketball.
"It's a unique opportunity for you to defend the colors of your school," Diaz told the students. "I'm sure you are going to enjoy it a lot because it's a great experience. I played for my school in competition for many years, too, and it was something beautiful that you never forget."
Augustine is also the One Team Ambassador of Unicaja, supporting the Euroleague Basketball social responsibility programs that the club is running in Malaga.
"You have to make the effort and give your maximum to try to go as far as possible," Augustine said. "To represent your classmates is great."
The event featured appearances by Anicet Lavodrama, former player and director of Copa Colegial Malaga; Daniel Romero, former Unicaja player and Ambassador of Copa Colegial Malaga; Pablo Martinez-Arroyo, general director of the Baloncesto Colegial Foundation; and Javier Perez, director of the Leon XIII school.
After the speeches and presentations, the kids at the school took over the basketball courts to engage in several basketball activities and exercises.
In the newest edition, the Copa Colegial – or, collegiate cup – will be played by 200 schools across nine of Spain's biggest cities – Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Valencia, Vitoria, Malaga, A Coruña and Valladolid – including all five that have teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.