“To encourage every child/adolescent to not only dream; but be able to chase those dreams, and have an equal opportunity for those dreams to be a reality.” That is the motto of Team Providence Athletics, an AAU Basketball Program located in Rhode Island’s scenic capital. The team’s motto is a very fitting one, as Team Providence (often referred to as TP) is one of the more respected and storied AAU programs not only in Rhode Island but throughout New England, and not only for their on court prowess but for the unlimited amount of teaching that goes on behind the scenes. Shaping and molding well rounded individuals is, and has always been the main goal of this program, but do not be mistaken, these boys and girls can play!
TP is currently led by President Walter “Bunky” Gonzalez, director of the boy’s program Dan Corria, and director of the girl’s program Edwin Gilbert. All three of these men have an impressive wealth of knowledge as it pertains to the game of basketball, and all three have garnered personal success in their respective fields. These men all grew up in and around the capital city, in the same neighborhoods as many of the young boy’s and girl’s they now coach, and teach. This bond between player and coach is strengthened do to the level of understanding and the similarities they share with one another.
Along with these three men, Team Providence has assembled a stable of coaches from all walks of life, who are united by their passion for the game of basketball, and their ability to better these kids on and off the court. The Team Providence coaching staff, which includes The Triangle Offense’s own Josh Corria, takes pride in developing the players that walk through the door, and refuse to turn away any kids regardless of their basketball prowess. The coaches preach fundamentals, and instruct their team members to play within themselves, always keeping the team success as the highest priority. These men coach hard, and expect maximum effort from their kids at all times. Their encouragement and teaching motivates these kids and helps mold them into leaders, on and off the court.
I’ve had the opportunity to take in multiple practice sessions at St. Matt’s Catholic School, the home of Team Providence and you’d be hard pressed not to feel the family atmosphere upon walking through the doors. Whether it’s interactions between coaches and parents, coaches and their players, or amongst the coaches, there is an obvious level of comfort, respect, and acceptance that resonates throughout the building. The players understand that there is a time to let loose, laugh, and enjoy themselves, but they also understand that once they lace them up, it’s time to get after it and get better. That is a testament to the coaches and the approach they take with the kids.
Not only does the TP coaching staff teach these boy’s and girl’s core values that they will forever lean on, but they also have turned many into great ball players. Team Providence is invited too, and competes in the best AAU tournaments across New England and throughout the east coast. Walter “Bunky” Gonzalez’s 1oth grade girls team is showing dominance early on, earning 4th place in the NEAAU power rankings, and the 7th, 9th and 11th grade girls teams have all snagged tournament championships so far this season. While this AAU season is only weeks old, TTO’s own Josh Corria has already led his 6th grade boy’s team to multiple tournament victories, against some of New England’s finest teams. The 10th grade boys team led by “veteran” coach Dan Corria have snared a tournament crown early in the season and appeared in another tournament final. Josh, along with the other TP coaches have an uncanny ability to get through to these boy’s and girl’s. The chemistry amongst the players and coaches is built through tough coaching and accountability, mixed with trust, hard work, and just the right amount (plenty!) of fun.
Team Providence has a rich history of developing some great basketball players and helping them get into some of Rhode Island’s finest schools. Alumni of TP have gone onto play high school basketball at school’s such as Bishop Hendricken, La Salle Acedemy, St. Ray’s Academy, Moses Brown, PCD, Bay View, Classical, and many others. Many TP alums have also gone on and played basketball at multiple four year universities, and even those that didn’t were equipped with the necessary values to be a contributing member of society.
After my time around Team Providence, I can offer nothing but a ringing endorsement for this program. From top to bottom, there is a clear objective of molding talented young men and women on and seemingly more importantly, off of the court. If you want your child or loved one to learn the game of basketball in a well structured, nurturing, fun environment, Team Providence is the answer, as they are the leading scorer in all of those statistical categories.