MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - For most AAU teams, parents shell out thousands of dollars to get their aspiring athletes on the squad.
But the West Texas Force run the court in a bit of a different way, thanks to one former Texas Tech player.
"Well what I did was alleviated that,"said coach Cleveland Phelps. "The way it was when I played. What I learned through sports was hard work, fundraising and that made me a better person as far as a young man was concerned."
Coach said what he went through growing up in New York molded his work ethic, sense of community and the motivation to clean up AAU basketball, a sport that's garnered a bad rep the past few years.
Coach said it gives him goosebumps when to see his players honoring the game the right way.
"It gives me a sense of I'm doing the right thing," said Phelps. "I'm giving back to the sport that saved my life. I don't know where I'd be, coming from the streets of New York, basketball saved my life, it made me who I was."
That same attitude can be found in the players he coaches.
"It's real good, people don't have to pay so it's nice," said point guard Zhuric Phelps.
"It is fun, doing all the community service," said small forward Tre Hubert. "Saving money so we can go to big tournaments like the one we're about to go to now."
The Force are traveling to Vegas Tuesday to play in a national tournament they placed third in last year.
This year, coach said the team is returning to sin city more ready than ever.
"Oh man," said Phelps. "Like I said, I'm from New York, but I have a sense of west Texas Pride. So wherever we go, we go with a chip on our shoulder. Even when we play, we have a chip on our shoulder, to let them know we can play."