The Powell County X-Treme team is shown on the floor of Rupp Arena after a performance. The X-team will be traveling to Atlanta, Georgia where they will performe as the pre-game show prior to an Atlsnta Hawks-Oklahoma City Thunder game
By CECIL PERGRAM
You may have noticed Powell County’s X-treme team performing during Powell County High School Pirates and Lady Pirates basketball games this season as they prepared to showcase their skills in Atlanta, Georgia. The team on Monday, March 12, head to Atlanta to perform as the pre-game show for the NBA Game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 13.
In addition to performing at local high school games the X-treme team have expanded their performances to include Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Transylvania University as well as performing for the UK Hoops Team and KHSAA Boys’ High School Sweet Sixteen.
The X-team has also done pre-game performances for the Harlem Globetrotters for the past three years.
Powell County X-treme team Coach Tim Marcum says that this years team includes 36 players all ranging from preschoolers to sixth graders. The X-treme team, also called the X-team showcase fundamentally sound ball handling skills with their dribbling and passing while performing to a musical backdrop.
“They also work on footwork, coordination and teamwork. They all have to work together as a team in order for the routine to be successful. Mostly these boys get the opportunity to do things that most of us never get the opportunity to do,” X-treme Coach and Founder Tim Marcum said. “They not only get to go to college games but they get to get on the floor, they not only get to go watch the Harlem Globetrotters but they get on the same floor they do. If nothing else, I hope to improve their ball handling skills and mostly I just hope they are able to look back years from now and say ‘Man, I was on that floor and it was a cool experience.’ That’s my dream or goal for this program.”
Marcum says the team raised funds by holding a fifth and sixth grade basketball tournament, a pancake breakfast and selling candy bars and raffle tickets for a handmade University of Kentucky quilt.
Marcum says that in addition to fundraising there are also community sponsors that without them the program wouldn’t be possible. Those sponsors include: Whitaker Bank, Dairy Queen, Protek Security, Davis and Davis Funeral Home, Rogers Hardware, Peoples Exchange Bank, Stanton Industrial Piping and Fabrication, Hearne Funeral Home, Mann Chevrolet, Randall Mechanical, Sheri Irwin and Candace Shepherd.
“Everything that we do with these kids are with money that we generated and every dime that we make goes right back into these kids,” Marcum said. “They are responsible for paying a registration fee and that covers the costs of their basketball and uniform. When we take NBA trips we help with their tickets, transportation, meals and rooms and stuff like that so every dime we raise goes straight back to the kids.”
Marcum says he first got the idea for starting the X-treme team from a guy from Mount Sterling after signing his son up for Upward Basketball Program while his son was still in elementary school.
“He had a little ball handling team called the Wizards and there wasn’t anything like that going on here so I took my son over and he participated and I thought it was just a great idea to only work on fundamental ball handling skills, footwork and not really focus on shooting because a lot of these kids they really need to learn how to dribble before they learn how to shoot,” Marcum said. “If they can’t dribble they’re never going to get the opportunity to shoot because they’re going to get a turnover I brought that idea back and started the program and it’s been going ever since.”
Marcum helped founded the program in 2001-2002 and he says after spending 17 years running the program one of the most rewarding things is getting to go to see games and being able to see past team members he’s coached using some of the same skills they learned at such an early age.
Marcum says the X-team was first started as community education but and has grown to be included with Powell County Schools.
“We are considered a feeder program so one of the hopes of goals is to help these guys fundamentally progress so when they come to middle school they’re able to compete and once they get to high school they’re still able to compete. Hopefully some of these boys will go on to play college ball or something like that,” Marcum said. “It’s neat to look back over the years the number of kids when I go to high school games and can point out the guys that played on the X-treme team.”
“It’s a neat thing for me to see and for me to be a part of I would love to stick around and say I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Marcum said. “I would like to see some of the guys that we’re involved in the program comeback and maybe they take over the program and take it to the next level but that be one thing that I would like one day be to sit back and watch and think that I had a part in it.”
Marcum says that in addition to thanking all the sponsors that have made the X-treme team a reality over the years that his wife has been a crucial part of keeping the day-to-day details of the program going.
“She takes the lead role on organizing the trips, planning the fundraisers and all that stuff. I can’t take all the credit for that. I just mostly teach the kids and she handles most of the day-to-day aspects and does a really good job with it,” Marcum said. “I’ve been real fortunate that the guys that help me coach a lot of them have kids on the team but they’re all really good guys and they’re not just out here for their kid but for the whole team.”
This years trip will be the X-treme teams fifth performance at a NBA game. The X-team has also performed at games for the Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers. In 2015, the team performed at the NCAA Final Four FanFest and on ESPN Game Day with Jay Bilas.