Nurturing Hoop Dreams at Franklin’s Athletics Expo

We were delighted to launch our Athletics program with an exciting event at NJCU’s John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center — home base for the Franklin Tigers! With over 100 attendees, our Athletics Expo & Open House offered current and prospective families the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art facilities, meet our leadership team, and connect with one another. It was also designed for students in grades 6-10 to participate in a basketball clinic with coaches and play ball.

We were also delighted to welcome a true Jersey City’s hometown hero — Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Bob Hurley — and his wife, Christine, where they sat courtside to see the action.

 “Today we’re witnessing history. The greatest basketball coach is right here,” said Rodney, a middle school student with big hoop dreams. “Attending Franklin would be an amazing opportunity for me to reach my goal to become the greatest basketball player ever!”

Our partnership with New Jersey City University, an NCAA powerhouse, will provide Franklin scholar-athletes’ with unparalleled facilities for training, practice, and home game competitions. In addition to the 2,000-seat basketball and volleyball arena where the Expo took place, our students will use the 25-yard swimming and diving pool, elevated track, and soccer field with a 3,000-seat stadium for the athletic programs in store next year:

  • Basketball (boys and girls)
  • Soccer (boys and girls)
  • Swimming (co-ed)
  • Volleyball (boys and girls)
  • Track and field (co-ed)

Jason Rowley, Director of Strategic Operations and Director of Basketball, who spearheaded the Franklin-NJCU partnership, among other community collaborations, invited youth basketball leagues and some players from NJCU’s Gothic Knights to join the basketball clinic. He was one of several Expo coaches, along with another Franklin team member, Matthew Adam, English teacher and former sports broadcast journalist. “The best part of the experience for me was meeting more of our incoming and prospective students and getting on the court with them,” shared Mr. Adam. “There was a lot of talent and great energy!”

Coaches ran students through a series of drills focused on basketball fundamentals: jump-stops and pivots for footwork and ball-handling, chest and bounce passing, and full-court one-on-one moves. Then players were separated into two groups by experience level and participated in a 3-on-2 to 2-on-1 drill before moving into scrimmaging. 

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“I’m not that experienced with basketball, so this clinic definitely helped with the basics,” said Lena, one of our incoming students. She is excited to be attending Franklin, explaining,  “What I love about the School is its focus on applying academics to the future. I wanted to go to Franklin because of its ideologies.”

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NJCU’s Associate Director of Athletics, Jeff Jordan, said, “It was beautiful getting to see kids display their talents and have fun as we start welcoming them for the fall and years to come.” Speaking of the Franklin-NJCU partnership, he added, “What’s great about this collaboration is that students at Franklin will be on a campus of one of the nation’s leading urban institutions and get to see student-athletes at the college level along with their preparation, time, and practice. Being in a higher education space is something that’s invaluable for students.”

Mr. Rowley reflected, “It was great to showcase the strong partnership we have with NJCU and all the community relationships we've built — and what an honor it was for us to have Bob Hurley there to show his support!”

Current and prospective families alike were equally enthusiastic. One Franklin parent, Caren Brody, noted, “This event has made me even more excited for [my son] Gabriel to be a part of a brand new way of implementing high school.” 

Cameron Burke, the father of a sixth grader, shared, “Franklin will provide structure for students to go to college and play basketball, especially for a school like NJCU. When my son is old enough, Franklin will definitely be one of his options.”

We were delighted to meet more members of the Jersey City community at the Expo and were impressed by the basketball talent of so many teens. We look forward to introducing more families to Franklin and to hosting more events at NJCU next year.

When the fall comes, we will be cheering on our Franklin scholar-athletes. Go Tigers! 

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