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Kings learn more than basketball

The Immanuel Kings are a non-profit outreach ministry that mentors boys from the ages of 10-17.

During the course of the years it has been in existence, the team has played basketball all over the country, have provided stimulating and life-provoking lectures and guest speakers.

The team has had talks about eating healthy, saying no to drugs, saying no to sex and college preparation for those in the proper age group.

In addition, the group has fun while learning the fundamentals of basketball and maintaining a 2.5 grade-point-average.

Coach and Director Ernest Cooley and his wife, Delina, are the founders of the Immanuel Kings. They started with a group of young ladies from Hertford County Middle School’s basketball team. They took them to the 1993 North Carolina State Games in Raleigh.

One year later, the Cooley’s formed the Hertford-Bertie Allstars with a group of talented young men to showcase their talents from the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Subsequently, coach Cooley had a vision to integrate as many young men as possible from northeastern North Carolina. Thusly, the young men gave berth to the Immanuel Kings. Since then boys from Beaufort, Bertie, Gates, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties have been mentored.

&uot;What I try to get my kids to do, is understand that basketball isn’t forever; they can’t play this gave forever, but right now at this stage in their young lives, basketball can be a friend,&uot; Ernest Cooley said during a interview with then-Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Sports Editor Cal Bryant in 1999. &uot;I tell them not to let the basketball use them, but rather use the basketball.

&uot;If the colleges come calling because you can play basketball, then let basketball pay your way,&uot; he continued. &uot;Get a degree! It doesn’t matter what school you play for, the four-year degree you earn carries the same weight in the world.&uot;

With that in mind, the Kings were pleased to have their first couple of graduates – Nameir Majette (University of Pennsylvania) and Nicholas Vick (East Carolina University).

Although a majority of the tournaments in which the Kings participate are in the state of North Carolina, winning teams have the opportunity to travel out of state.

Since the Kings have represented themselves well, they have the opportunity to go to the 12-and-under Division II National Championship Games in Lexington, Kentucky. They are one of 54 teams in the competition.

Right now the Kings are in need of community support.

Any church, civil organization or citizen that would like to help with the ministry, is asked to do so. All gifts are tax deductible.

&uot;We would like to give a special thank you to the Northampton County Education Foundation, Stephen Freeman, coach Chris Towell, Rodney Tann, Amy Tann, Henry Thomas, Howard Epps, Willie Watford, Henry Thomas, Hertford County Public Schools, C.G. White Middle School and all of the other sponsors, parents and volunteer staff,&uot; Delina Cooley said.

For more information, call 332-6917.