As a basketball player, Van-debilt Catholic graduate and Houma native Sumar Leslie has done almost everything there is to do within the game.
In high school, she rewrote Vandebdlt’s record hooks. To date, she’s still the school’s all-time leader in paints, assists and steals — marks that may never be broken.
In college, she won All-South-land Conference and led Nicholls to its first-ever Southland Conference Tournament win — a victory that helped jump-start the program’s momentum to the successes it enjoys today.
As a pro, Leslie has played around the world, earning accolades and honors in several nations around the globe.
But for as much as we know about Leslie’s on-court accolades, it’s her efforts with the next generation of basketball talent on her own time that is beginning to positively impact local players* endeavors.
Leslie quietly runs a basketball training program— called The Young Generation.
With it. she teaches young players the fundamentals of the game, while also using the sport to teach life-lessons to local players.
The tree holds plentiful fruit Several of the players Las-he’ s trained have made huge progression and some are now impacting games at the prep levels.
“I love basketball and the sport has done so much for me,” Leslie said. “So. I really wanted to give back and make sure that the next group of players had every effort to do as much in the game as I’ve been able to do. There’s so much talent hare. The players just need to learn the right way to mold their talents and the right way to handle themselves off the floor. I’m just doing the best I can to foster both things.”
The program is a personal pet project for Leslie — same-thing she said she’s been wanting to do for years.
She takes children ages 5-through-high school ages. She’s worked with several elite-level basketball players over the history of the program, but she said she also takes players who’ve never picked up a ball before going to their first lesson.
The results speak for themselves.
Leslie said several of her pupils have set goals that they reached. Some players who didn’t normally make all-stars put in the work, then made the team the next year. One player got cut from her middle school team, then worked hard, got better and now made the freshman basketball team in high school. Others who were bench players have become starters. And still others who had hardly played the game before are learning and getting better everyday.
“This isn’t just for the best players in Houma, Thibodaux and down the bayou.’ Leslie said “Anyone who wants to get better at basketball is welcome.”
Leslie does training sessions in both Houma and in Lafourche Pariah, She said she’s grateful for the friendships and relationships she’s made through the program.
She’s in the area now. but admits that the program is second fiddle to her own career. She’s not retired and after a severe elbow injury is now 100 percent and ready to get back on the floor — fielding offers from teams around the world.
“When the right call comes. I will have to put this an hold and go and get some buckets on my own.” Leslie said with a laugh “But for now. I’m here and I want to help out the young people. The young people are our future and why not make it as bright a future as we can?”
To inquire about the program, contact Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org.