A group of Fort Hood Soldiers have taken initiative and started a men’s and women’s basketball program called Central Texas Military Basketball.

“Central Texas Military Basketball is a part of the Military Basketball Association and was established for Soldiers stationed at Fort Hood,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Uriah Hunter, 1st Brigade Support Battalion, 393rd Regiment, 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army – Division West,, said. “As the head coach for the men’s and women’s program it has been a rewarding experience to develop, mentor and provide a resiliency outlet outside of their daily jobs.”

The men and women’s teams consist of players with different experience levels, from high school to college play.

“Basketball has opened so many doors for me as a young adult, Division 1 Student Athlete in College, and more recently as an active-duty Soldier,” Capt. Kiana D’Oliveira, 2nd Bn., 227th Aviation Regt., 1st Air Cavalry Bde., 1st Cav. Division, said. “I love the fact that it continues to challenge me to become a better leader, communicator and teammate on the floor. I love how the game has evolved over the years and forces athletes like myself to study film and develop our games to stay competitive.”

It provides Soldiers a fun, social outlet that allows them to improve their physical and mental health.

“Basketball allows me to work towards personal goals and allows me to stay in great shape while improving my health,” Spc. Haley Randall, Echo 69th Air Defense Artillery Bde., said.

They participate in tournaments across the country including the Marcio Gray Tournament in Columbus, Georgia, the Dallas Law Enforcement Tournament and a Veterans Day tournament in Denver, Colorado. They’ve also had the opportunity to engage with the Fort Hood community.

“Our players have volunteered at Belton High School to develop youth players for college, participated in community games with Mary Hardin Baylor University and this has strengthened our bond within the community in giving Fort Hood Soldiers a positive name in the basketball community,” Hunter said.

The program also helps Soldiers become better at a sport they love.

“It’s important for Soldiers to be involved in groups like the Central Texas Military Basketball team because it’s a great program to get you set up for success as a player if you’re trying to get exposure for college,” Sgt. Willie Ruffin, 61st Quartermaster Bn., 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said. “If you want to get better and take your game to the next level CTMB can and will get you there as long as you are dedicated. We have a great coaching staff that has given us exposure with traveling all over the United States playing colleges, service branches and these moments mean everything to me as a Soldier.”

Hunter believes strongly in the importance of Soldiers having outlets like CTMB to help them be the best they can be.

“Programs like this help to provide positive resiliency opportunities outside of their daily jobs. The bond created from traveling as a team, competing while representing Fort Hood is very similar to the comradery we experience with our units down range,” Hunter said. “This program is a family and simply put programs like this help to prevent suicide and keeps Soldiers out of trouble.”   

For more information on the team and what they are up to, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CentralTexasMB.