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This Memphis basketball program helps girls get the same exposure as boys

The Ashley Robinson Initiative allows lady basketball players to be seen by hundreds of college coaches.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Memphis there's a new initiative to help high school girl basketball players get recruited to play on the college level and beyond. The chance for lady basketball players like sophomore athlete, Zuri Gates, to be scouted by college coaches is limited.

“To be able to talk and to be able to be heard, it would just feel so awesome," Gates said. 

When it comes to ladies on the court, whether it be in high school, college, or even the WNBA, the harsh truth is they do not always have the same equipment, training, exposure, and other resources available to them as the guys.

“I just feel like everyone is built the same. Even though men are stronger, I just feel that no one should be better than anyone. No one should be compared better than anyone,” Gates expressed. 

That is why basketball coach Ashley Robinson is on a mission to change this narrative.

“I am a product of a single mom. My mom and I are very close, and that was something that when I started coaching back in Washington, being a player, there’s a lot of resources for us," Robinson said. "But for young ladies, it’s not and so that was one of the things I wanted to use my platform... to be an advocate."

He started the Ashley Robinson Initiative in Washington D.C. 10 years ago, when he noticed the difference in how guys had a better chance at moving forward in their career. 

The initiative is designed to provide aspiring high school lady basketball players, with the exposure and development needed to play at a college level. 

The initiative is a partnership with a girls college combine called "Tunnel Vision", which provides a platform for the ladies to be seen by more than 400 college coaches. The platform also offers scholarship opportunities to play at every level from D-1 teams to Junior College.

Trainer Reginald Christian said this program focuses on pouring into the ladies as a whole.

"We do cardio. We work on strength and conditioning. We work on balancing. We work on core stabilization, and I make them focus on nutrition," Christian said. 

Coach Robinson is a Memphis native that moved back to the area because he felt that this type of program is something that Memphis students needed to give them hope and motivation.

“My first team was an AAU team, a young girls team as well as my high school. I used to coach high school, so I used all of that in my platform to give women a step up," Robinson explained.

Another aspect includes the ladies playing on teams within the program, which will put them in front of hundreds of college coaches both virtually and in-person during the games. 

“They’ll get to do the drills, then they’re going to be placed on teams and they’re going to get to play. The coaches will get to evaluate and find the type of players that they may be looking for,” Robinson said. 

He also created a unique brand called We All Eat, which focuses on the community.

"Basically one of the things that I've noticed in life, especially being out here, We're already limited on resources, so everybody takes, take, take... But if we come together, if I have it, I'll give it to you and we work together, which we all eat... then we come back together as a community," Robinson said. 

To find out how you can sign your child up, whether a boy or girl, click here.   

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