Elite basketball academy to call Newcastle home

March 5, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Jasen Baskett and his Emerald City Basketball Academy were homeless.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Pacific Courts, a new gym featuring two full-sized basketball courts, is set to open in Newcastle on March 9. The facility will serve as a headquarters for the Emerald City Basketball Academy.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Pacific Courts, a new gym featuring two full-sized basketball courts, is set to open in Newcastle on March 9. The facility will serve as a headquarters for the Emerald City Basketball Academy.

The elite youth basketball program that counts University of Washington stars Spencer Hawes and Isaiah Thomas among its alumni lost its Seattle headquarters in August.

The academy wasn’t on the streets long, though, as Baskett, the ECBA founder, teamed up with Cindi Burton, head of the ECBA’s girls programs, to create a state-of-the-art facility in Newcastle.

Pacific Courts, owned by Burton, is the academy’s new headquarters complete with offices and training areas. A large Seattle skyline mural emblazoned with the words “Home of the ECBA” brings the whole space together.

“When it says home of the ECBA, that means something,” Baskett said. “When Cindi and I talked the very first time, I said, ‘I don’t have a home,’ but that’s not the case anymore.”

And what a home it is. Pacific Courts is an impressive facility tucked in a business park behind Tapatio’s Mexican Grill.

It houses two full courts, one high-school sized and the other collegiate, a weight room, offices and an enclosed half-court.

Burton, who named the court after her late father’s company, Pacific Construction Systems, has poured an immense amount of resources into the facility, transforming it from an empty warehouse into the basketball destination it is now.

“My mom closed the construction company in April of last year, so it was nice to kind of let the name live on, because basketball was sort of the thing my dad and I did together,” Burton said.

If you go

Pacific Courts
7003 132nd Place S.E.
www.pacificbasketballcourts.com
www.allcityhoops.com

The courts don’t officially open until March 9, but Baskett said he’s already getting positive responses from the community and local basketball programs.

Pacific Courts will be the home of ECBA’s nearly 40 boys and girls teams, featuring players from across the Northwest. The academy supports athletes ages 8-17 and offers high-quality instruction, along with a chance to compete in regional and national tournaments.

“This is not a place for kids that don’t want to become better,” Baskett said of the academy. “We don’t care how good you are, you just have to have the right commitment. You’ve got to have the right mentality.”

The Liberty High School girls basketball program is a beneficiary of ECBA’s practices, Baskett said. Patriots head coach Carly Fromdahl and assistant Darnell Taylor have experience coaching in the academy.

Curtis Terry, last year’s Liberty girls coach, literally grew up in the ECBA, training with Baskett since he was 14.

“I train the Liberty girls program in the fall,” Baskett said. “We have a little bit of an influence on Liberty High School girls. They’re friends of the program.”

Pacific Courts isn’t just ECBA’s home, though; Burton said the Newcastle community is just as welcome.

Burton plans to offer tiny hoops classes, jazzercise, Zumba, pickle ball tournaments, open gyms and more. People will also be able to rent the space.

“We’ll have stuff all day long for all different types of groups,” she said.

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