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Bill Self visits Boys & Girls Club to show how math and science relate to basketball

August 4, 2014

07/31/2014 5:50 PM UPDATED: 07/31/2014 5:50 PM


A group of enthusiastic kids, dressed in white mesh Kansas jerseys with the Boys & Girls Club logo on the back, anxiously awaited the chance to ask Kansas coach Bill Self questions.

“Do you coach high school?” asked one kid.

“Do I coach the high school Jayhawks?” Self asked. “No, I coach the Kansas Jayhawks. You ever heard of Andrew Wiggins?”

He was answered back with a loud, ubiquitous “Yes!”

“This event was about a couple of things,” Rosenblatt said. “Connecting with the community, the Boys & Girls Club here in Wyandotte, teaching them a little bit about basketball, kind of something they like, and showing them the science behind basketball and just connecting with them on that.”

STEM in sports is a campaign by Time Warner Cable to get kids interested in science and technology education and careers by showing them how STEM subjects impact sports.

While Self demonstrated different basketball techniques with the kids, such as the proper stance for a defender, a bounce pass and a bank shot, Rosenblatt spoke about the science behind each skill, explaining how kinetic energy, gravity and balance are used with each move.

Self even demonstrated a few skills of his own.

Rosenblatt explained the meaning of centripetal force by spinning a basketball on one finger, which he said he wasn’t very good at since he had only been practicing for five days, so he asked Self if he would try.

“I’m not any good at this,” Self said, while flawlessly spinning the basketball on his finger as the kids applauded.

The kids were later given calculators to learn how to calculate shooting percentage as one volunteer from the audience attempted five shots. Many of the kids were excited to learn they could keep the calculators.

Self said he was asked a couple of months ago if he would visit the Boys & Girls Club to demonstrate how science and math work in basketball.

“We don’t get a chance to probably do as much as what we should but any time you can get out with kids and do anything to have interaction with them is usually very positive for us,” Self said, “and basically we’re in the kid business.

Most of the kids I deal with are just a little bit older but certainly they were all in a gym like this at some point in time just a few years ago, and there will be some kid from this gym that goes on and does some probably special things athletically as well, so it’s always fun to give back.”