Our team is the Florida Family and we are rooted in the southeastern Florida region with very talented young men who compete in basketball. Our goals for these young men and women are to reflect a level of honesty, integrity and tenacity on and off the court. More importantly, the dedication required from each player goes beyond their ability on the court. We stress that the importance of hard work in the classroom is just as vital as hard in the gym.

When the http://www.familyhoops.com/about/ lace up their sneakers, please believe we come to play. President of Florida Family Basketball, Coach Ben Bridges states, “We train like animals, and play like beast.” . The Florida Family takes pride showcasing the finest STUDENT athletes in basketball. Bridges adds, “We have a bunch of dynamic players. They are some real heavy hitters that colleges have a high level of interest in.” With three teams ranked in the top 25 in the AAU Basketball Power Ranking and eight teams ranked top 10 in the country under USSSA, Florida Family does not only reign King in South Florida, but is a prominent program on the national scene as well.

Since the inception of the Florida Family Organization in 2006, our numbers have grown from 2 to 200 plus. In these four years, there have been players who have gone on to the collegiate levels on academic and athletic scholarships. Additionally, many of the youth we have come in contact with have, through our training service, increased their basketball IQ immensely.

Ben Bridges, a former professional basketball player in the European League, partnered with James Ford to live out a childhood dream. The duo established a sports training service for youth and young adults in the South Florida region. Through the existence of the training service, Florida Family Basketball was birth into one of the premier AAU Basketball Organizations in South Florida.

Coach Ben’s goal is to provide players an opportunity to compete against elite players throughout the country. He is a firm believer in his Christian faith and his daily activities are evidence of this belief. These beliefs carry over into the personal relationships with family, internal and external.

Ultimately, Coach Ben has a passion for children and it is a reward for him to witness the successes of young men and women excelling academically and athletically.

Coach James Ford, a former college basketball player, was first drawn to the sport at the tender age of 5 when he saw his aunts playing basketball. Without any hesitation, James quickly grew in his affinity for the game and love of it. It was not hard for him to explore the avenues of coaching since that paired one of his first loves, basketball with another interest; kids.

Coach Ford got into training and started a service with Ben Bridges. Both Coach James and Coach Ben shared a vision to give kids the same opportunities they were afforded. By setting kids in the right direction and getting them the exposure in basketball they needed, these kids are able to advance their careers with an academic or athletic scholarship. James imparts his experiences and the wisdom he has learned from playing the sport along with other life lessons and morals to instill good qualities and skills in the children that he coaches. A lot of James’ morals and scruples stem from his strong Christian faith, rooted in Jesus Christ.

Through this foundation, Coach James Ford hopes to instill pious, noteworthy characteristics in all of his kids and leave a mark on what it means to live a life above reproach. He aspires to help children make their dreams a reality and have a chance at a full paid college education and shot at the pros. In so doing, James has achieved his greatest success; he has made a dream more than a fantasy, but brought it to life.

The http://www.familyhoops.com strongly believes in making kids great players, but more or so, better people off the court. This organization is intended to help give kids in South Florida the maximum exposure needed to play at the collegiate level. The Florida Family has set a high standard of expectation within the program, but it starts with the development off the court. Bridges told D1Spects, “Winning is good for the program, but at the end of the day they’re going to be somebody’s father, somebody’s doctor, or somebody’s lawyer. We want them to be well prepared for the world outside of basketball. Basketball is imperative to these players and could be an outlet into furthering their education to the collegiate level, maybe even further. It will also afford them an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of high school and college coaches that may be looking for thriving youth.

For a player to remain a member of the Florida Family, their academics must be in order. Bridges states, “If a kid is not eligible to play for their high school, then there is no reason for them to play for us.” Players like sophomore Cedric Hankerson have bought into the program’s expectations, because not only is he averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds a game, he is carrying a 4.2 GPA. Bridges adds, “Without school there is no basketball, the point of participating in travel basketball is for college coaches to see you, but if you don’t have the grades to play on that level, we can’t help you.”

The Florida Family organization believes strongly in their name, family. The team is structured around a very supportive family environment. Bridges states, “a strong family equals strong players, and strong players equal strong coaches.” From road games to fundraisers, the Florida Family parents are 100% dedicated to the program, and will go out their way to make sure the team’s needs are met. Coach Bridges states, “While most teams have to load up in a coach’s car to go travel to event or tournament, our parents are willing to go the extra mile for the team.”

Going into their fourth year as a basketball program, the Florida Family have already established an expectation for players’ performance’s on and off the court. This season, the program will be the largest travel basketball organization in the state of Florida. The Florida Family will have 21 teams competing on both the Division I and Division II level, and their 8th grade, 9th grade, and 10th grade teams are each ranked in the top 25 in the National Travel Basketball Power Rankings. Coach Bridges states, “Florida has been looked at as a football state, but I think we are changing how basketball is viewed in Florida.”

Though basketball is important to the player, to our devoted parents and to the coaching staff, the ultimate goal is to be successful in life. Even if basketball is not the first priority in the future and may not be a career choice, playing in these tournaments teaches humility, discipline and perseverance which are some of the qualities in being a responsible adult. We are a team, but as our team name suggests we are a family, and as a family wants the youth to expand in order to be a positive influence in life, it is important to us that these young men are positive people in our communities.

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