Cory Baker is a high school basketball coach trying to bring people in his community together through the sport. The United States Sports Academy’s Student of the Month, Baker is using what he’s learned in his Bachelor of Sports Science degree program to aide his efforts in organizing a Hoop it Up basketball tournament in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area.

Baker is pursuing his Academy bachelor’s degree in sports management. He said his courses on fundraising in sports and sports marketing and promotions have been beneficial in his quest to help his community. Baker – the head junior varsity basketball coach at Parkland (N.C.) Magnet High School – is organizing the Hoop it Up tournament as his degree program mentorship. The 3×3 basketball tournament for all ages is currently scheduled for August 15-16 2020 in Lewisville, N.C.

“I have really been able to apply what I learned in both of those Academy courses to my career and my work organizing the Hoop it Up tournament,” Baker said. “I want to do my part to bring this community together. I played in these tournaments when I was a kid, so now I want to give back to the new kids in the community.

“I am thankful for what I’m learning at the Academy. I have liked every course and everything about the Academy so far. My education there really complements my daily life as both a coach at the high school level and in this community tournament effort.”

Baker said his fundraising course has also helped his efforts as a coach at Parkland High School, where he’s been able to use what he learned to raise money for the basketball program there.

“Everything I’m learning has been so beneficial. Everyone at the Academy, every teacher I’ve had, they’ve all been so helpful. I’m loving the school and I truly appreciate the education I’m getting there. I would recommend the Academy to anyone seeking a career in sports.”

Hoop it Up – currently owned by former NBA star Kevin Garnett – was founded in 1989 and is a grassroots basketball tour with millions of participants in city-based events. Hoop It Up is the original basketball series that provides participants with a memorable experience by elevating the game with its focus on fundamentals, speed, style and substance of the 3-on-3 format. Hoop It Up offers competition for all ages and levels of ability.