Rise Basketball School Opening Soon
After finding temporary homes at outdoor playgrounds, churches, YMCAs and wherever else children could get up shots, Chris Jules Montgomery has a full-time court for RISE Basketball School.
Montgomery worked with Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group’s Thomas Mortensen to find a 3,305-square-foot former warehouse at 9664 Eagle Ranch Road NW. RISE’s new home has a hardwood court, a strength and conditioning room and a place for children to socialize and get homework done.
“I was able to go to college for five years and not pay one dime and graduated with an athletic scholarship,” Montgomery said. “We just want to inspire that next generation of student-athletes and just get their minds to think that there are opportunities out there.”
Montgomery founded RISE. The 6-foot-10-inch player played at California State University Northridge, junior college and at Prairie View A&M University. Montgomery then went overseas to play professionally in Mexico, Scotland and China.
Missing family and sensing his playing days were coming to an end, Montgomery wanted to stay involved with basketball. So he pivoted to coaching back in the United States. He started his basketball school in Los Angeles before moving to Albuquerque three years ago.
It was his girlfriend at the time and now-fiancee Dailyn Garcia who planted the seed to make the move. Garcia, who is from Albuquerque, convinced Montgomery the upside was higher and the rent and living expenses were lower in the Duke City.
“She said ‘Jules, it seems like you’re really into this basketball coaching and training thing. … There are a lot of yous in California but there’s no one like you in Albuquerque,'” Montgomery said.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced Montgomery to pivot his traditional basketball teachings to adhere for kids to social distancing and wear masks. He decided to explore the possibilities of a full-time facility about five months ago. He then connected with Mortensen before zeroing in the warehouse at 9664 Eagle Ranch Road.
“I took a look at [Chris’] Facebook page and could tell that this guy is part of the community with what he’s doing with these kids,” Mortensen said. “I knew after I met him in person that we’d get something done and he’d be a great success there.”
While the new digs will be home to the RISE basketball club, Montgomery hopes the school will attract more kids who are interested in growing their game or be used as an escape. As of now, Montgomery is the sole coach of the school but has relied on parents and kids for helping get the school set up. The school is designed for kids, but Montgomery said RISE will offer adult classes as well.
After getting the keys on Aug. 12, Montgomery plans to open RISE next Tuesday, which falls on Aug. 24. Montgomery, a California native, chose to open his school that day as a nod to the late Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant. Bryant wore both No. 8 and No. 24 over his 20-year, Hall of Fame NBA career.
“I’m looking at a full hardwood court, a wall-mounted 72-inch [hoop], a portable 72-inch [hoop], the walls are all painted,” he said. “We’re looking to get the ball rolling very, very soon.”
Originally reported on ABQ Biz First:
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