Oak Creek boys are hoping change of venue provides them with some good fortune

Will embark on three-game holiday trip to Florida

Dec. 20, 2011

In his second season at the helm of the Oak Creek boys basketball team, coach Mike Jossie knows he has a lot to work to do to compete with the Madison Memorials, Germantowns and Milwaukee Vincents of the world.

So he's working hard with the youth programs and is busy providing incentives for kids to come out and find something interesting to do.

Which the Knights will be doing when they leave Christmas Day night and head down to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the three-game Sunshine Classic Tournament.

"We've been fundraising for the last two years and we've come up with $15,000," said Jossie. "There's been a lot of effort put in by the parents. Youth tournaments, free throw-a-thons, all kinds of things. Just a great, great effort by the parents and the players."

Jossie has been a big fan of these team bonding kind of adventures dating back to the time when he was head of the West Allis Central boys basketball team a few years ago.

"We took them (the Bulldogs) to a tournament in San Diego and it worked out well," he said. "In fact, that's where I found the flyers for this tournament. It's going to be right on the beach. It's going to be a great adventure for the kids."

The youthful Knights (0-4) will get three games in the event and are also hoping to arrange trips to Universal Studios as well as possibly meeting members of the NBA's Orlando Magic.

Jossie, whose very young family will remain home for the event, is looking for good things out of the trip and not just in terms of wins and losses.

"We're hoping that the kids really get to know one another," he said. "I see this as a great positive."

Athletic Director Greg Lampe does too. The only cost the athletic department had to absorb was the tournament entry fees, as everything else was covered by fundraising.

"It gives the kids a whole different outlook on teams outside the area," Lampe said. "You learn how to compete in a situation like this, and like Mike, I'm hoping for some good team bonding, some good team camaraderie to come out of this.

"For some of these kids, it'll be an out-of-state experience like they've never experienced before.

"The ultimate goal for Mike is to build a program. He's trying to do it the right way by working with the youth programs. It's a real credit to him. He's really trying to get it going in a positive direction."

And what about all the potential distractions of sun and fun and the beach on healthy, young teenage boys?

"Ah, I'm not worried," Jossie said. "We've got some kids with good heads on their shoulders."

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