ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford native Fred VanVleet’s success on the basketball court is making him a role model for the next generation of players, who say that seeing Fred play makes their dreams of going pro that much more tangible.
VanVleet used to practice at the Patriot’s Gateway Community Center, at 615 S 5th Street.
Since the Toronto Raptors began their road to the championship, more youth in Rockford are taking their talents on the court more seriously.
A few of those players who play for the Rockford Ambassadors — a youth basketball program which just won a Junior Hoops Tournament in DeKalb — say that whenever Fred visits the gym, he leaves a lasting legacy with the young athletes.
“You know, that’s like his slogan, ‘better on yourself,'” said Fred’s uncle, Reggie Biffle, who is the head coach for the Ambassadors. “And he’s got a real good demeanor with the kids when he’s here, and he’s at the camps and doing different things. He really puts his heart and soul into the kids.”
One of the players on the Ambassador team is now ranked one of the top middle school players in the Midwest.