'Wizards Takeover' debuts at Ballou High School

When students arrived for school on Friday, it seemed just like another Homecoming day at Ballou High School in southeast Washington D.C. But a little around Noon, faculty members started directing students to the school's gym for the school's Homecoming pep rally.

Around 12:30 P.M., head coach Scott Brooks and the Washington Wizards pulled up at Ballou and took over the school's court. The Wizards went through an abridged practice, building off of their first three days of training camp.

Players like Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Isaiah Thomas talked to the students intermittently, joking around with them. Music and cheers made the gym deafening for an hour. At the end of practice, some of the students joined the team on the court, dancing and shooting hoops with an NBA team.

Brooks credited Monumental Basketball vice president of player development and social engagement Sashia Jones for the "Wizards Takeover" idea. The MedStar Wizards Performance Center is only a few minutes from Ballou, and the team wanted to make an impact in the community early in the season. The Wizards are planning to pop up at other schools throughout the season and literally take over that school's gym a few more times.

"We're going to go throughout the city and surprise schools just to give them a little bit of a flavor of what we do," Coach Brooks said at Ballou on Friday. "Our guys enjoy it. Hopefully we can do many more as the season goes on."

Stay tuned, your school might be next.


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