The Maine Firecrackers program has a very clear mission, and a tremendous success rate.
“Our goal is to get kids into college playing basketball,” said co-founder Don Briggs, who helps direct an all-volunteer staff. “Our program isn’t for everybody. We’re here for the kids who are serious about playing college basketball.
“There are not a bunch of programs in this state that can offer kids serious exposure, but we ask for a huge commitment in return from the kids and the parents. We have some kids who are driving five hours, one way, to our practices two or three times a week.”
The Firecrackers first class signed on with colleges three years ago, and all six players went on to the next level (one is playing Division I ball, one is in the Ivy League, and four are playing on the Division III level). The following year, six of the eight graduating players went on to collegiate basketball. The Firecracker graduating class for 2016 included four players. Three signed with DI programs, and the fourth is headed to DII basketball.
“We’re very happy with the success we’ve had, and we’re looking forward to continuing that type of success rate,” Briggs said.
In an effort to continue climbing, the Firecrackers will take an important step this year when they join the elite All Star Girls Report Summer League.
“The All Star Girls Report has fantastic people who do a tremendous job of providing opportunities for kids and programs like ours,” Briggs said. “What they do gives so many kids great opportunities, and that’s where it starts.
“Their events bring together tremendous competition and outstanding exposure, and those are the key elements.”