Wisconsin RAP celebrates a decade helping the community through basketball

NOW: Wisconsin RAP celebrates a decade helping the community through basketball

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Just days after signing to play college basketball at the University of Illinois Brandin Podziemski is back in the gym. Putting up shots. And helping the next generation of Wisconsin RAP stars.

“Standing here, I remember a couple dudes talking to me when I was this age thinking I can’t wait to be in that spot one day. I think it’s just about helping everyone that’s a part of something you were a part of.”

A self-described late bloomer on the court, Brandin credits Wisconsin RAP’s AAU program with helping him transform into Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball and a major college recruit. But that’s not all they teach.

“They did a really good job teaching me to be a man off the court. It’s like a second family. You always know that they got your back 100% no matter what you’re going through.”

“There’s just so many life lessons that can be put into the workplace," Wisconsin RAP's co-founder Scott Cook says. "Those kids don’t even know they’re being taught that until later and they look back on that.”

Over the last decade Wisconsin RAP has become one of the premier AAU programs in the state with more than 20 teams and 300 athletes. They’re also a non-profit organization.

Erica Cook, the director of Wisconsin RAP and another co-founder adds, “We’ve given a lot of kids opportunities that wouldn’t have had normally had opportunities to play basketball. We’ve had kids live with us for summers.”

The organization's third co-founder Anthony Mlachnik notes that, “The non-profit is using basketball as a tool to build character.”

Character that is evident when you see the state’s Mr. Basketball, with NBA dreams take the time to chat with some promising young stars.

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