Campus News

NBA Math Hoops Tournament Takes UK's Memorial Coliseum

NBA Math Hoops logo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2017) University of Kentucky's Martin Luther King Center is hosting the first-ever NBA Math Hoops tournament held in the state of Kentucky for fourth- to eighth-grade students from Kentucky, Indiana and Southern Ohio. This board game tournament will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in Memorial Coliseum.

NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced basketball board game, curriculum and community program that allows students to learn fundamental math skills through direct engagement with the real statistics of their favorite NBA and WNBA players. The NBA Math Hoops curriculum is tied to Common Core state standards and 21st-century learning skills, and it has been shown to improve students’ basic math skills and understanding of statistics, in addition to their interpersonal skills, driving them to collaborate more effectively with their peers.

"I immediately saw the value in the program based on the importance of math and the role it can play in a child’s academic, and eventually, life success," said MLK Center Director Kahlil Baker, who learned about the NBA Hoops program from a fellow Berea College graduate. "This is consistent with fulfilling 'The Kentucky Promise' that President Capilouto often refers to, as this program is key in increasing college readiness throughout the state and producing future Wildcats."

Learn Fresh, the organization that developed and implements the NBA Math Hoops program, is hosting tournaments in 18 different regions this spring. The tournament series will end at Stanford University in Stanford, California, with the national championship.

Participating students have been using the NBA Math Hoops board game and curriculum to complete a simulated basketball season in their classrooms and afterschool programs. Throughout the season, students have earned incentives and rewards from NBA teams across the country. They will bring their math skills to the tournament to compete in a March Madness, bracket-style competition.

During the 2016-17 school year, over 3,000 students in Kentucky have competed in the program, joining a national population of over 21,000. In total, these students have completed over 14 million math problems through the program and saw their fundamental math scores grow by 36 percent from pre-test to post-test, as evaluated by the American Institutes for Research in 2016. Kentucky has the second largest population of NBA Math Hoops students in the country following California.

Learn Fresh is a nonprofit that provides a fresh take on academic exploration through student-centered design, sparking students’ curiosity in the educational value of the ordinary and extraordinary in their lives. Learn Fresh utilizes culturally relevant topics to develop fundamental academic skills and show students that learning can be derived from the things that matter most to them. Through relationships with iconic individuals and brands that students revere, the organization brings these experiences to life in and out of the classroom.

The mission of the Martin Luther King Center is to advance the university's strategic goal of achieving a more diverse and inclusive campus environment; to support increased retention of undergraduate students who are generally underrepresented in the student body; and to enhance student achievement by helping students to have a more engaged, productive and fulfilling undergraduate experience. To these ends, the center's goals are to foster intercultural competence, promote respect and passion for the pursuit of quality education, and to help prepare students for productive and responsible engagement in a global society.

For more information about the event at UK, contact MLK Center Director Kahlil Baker at 859-257-3426. For more information about Learn Fresh/NBA Math Hoops, contact Nick Monzi at 845-240-0885.