About Us

Who We Are

Cleveland Basketball (“CB”) is a community-based basketball program for boys in grades K-12, living in the area served by Cleveland High School (“CHS”). Created in 2007, by former CHS Varsity head coach Don Emry & youth parent Will Naemara, the program has offered playing opportunities to athletes for the past 12 years. Most of the programming in the first decade was fairly sheltered and focused on school teams during the normal Winter basketball season.

In 2016, upon Emry’s retirement, parents continued to run CB, but faced some struggles. Finding direction for Winter activities was difficult due to gym space limitations, financial impact, coaching staff changes at the local high school, and the lack of parent help made the workload very heavy for the parents still involved. After a decade of operation, the future of the program was uncertain beyond 2017.

However, in 2018, the program really revamped upon Cleveland High School’s hiring of Head Varsity Coach, Dondrale Campbell, and Varsity Assistant Coach Jaz. Both believed in providing kids a place to play, and have been instrumental in re-developing the youth organization to serve the hundreds of kids in the high school program’s “backyard.” Coach Campbell’s sports expertise, along with Coach Jaz’s innovation, event ideas, and community building programs have really helped CB take a new and exciting turn from what it had been for the past decade.

Cleveland Basketball remains the go-to for athletes in the Cleveland boundary/cluster & surrounding SE Portland area, and all parents & staff involved in helping to run the program are committed to upholding the high school coaching staff’s mission to the best of our abilities.

Why We Are Here

The purpose of Cleveland Basketball is three-fold:

  • To provide fun & challenging basketball experiences to boys in grades K-12

  • To serve as a feeder program for the CHS boys basketball program

  • To develop a shared opportunity for learning and growth between both youth & high school athletes through events/activities, mentoring, & entry-level coaching roles

How Do We Work

What makes CB unique from other youth organizations is that we are a non-profit, ran by a board of directors consisting of Cleveland parents, CHS Alumni, and volunteers. We have a lot of volunteers helping who are also parents (both youth parents & high school ones), and even current and former Cleveland boys basketball athletes.

This past year, we provided recreational coaching jobs to 4 different former Varsity athletes who had recently graduated from CHS. Many of the parents helping have attended Cleveland High School themselves, and now have children who have either played in, or are currently playing in the youth or high school segments as well. From time to time, we even see support from Grandparents who attended CHS and who now have grandchildren headed to Cleveland. Our families, community relationships, and strong ties to the local high school mean that we are invested in, and fully committed to being around for multiple generations of Cleveland athletes.

We are also an independent organization from PPS/PIL, responsible for all of our own operating costs and paving our own path. We currently have no business sponsors (though we are actively seeking), and run entirely on player registration fees, and our annual Free-Throw-A-Thon fundraiser. A common misconception is that we are tied to and sponsored by the school district, but we are NOT, nor have we ever been. Some of the same faces work for both our organization and PPS/PIL, but the two are completely separate.

We represent the community within Cleveland, as we always have, and have been around for many years prior to the local school district’s creation of youth sports. In our first 7 years of operation, CB solely formed teams to play in Three Rivers League (“TRL”). At that time, TRL was one of the major places for grade school & middle school aged kids to play. In 2014, PPS began offering their own league within Portland to 6th-8th grade students in their schools. Although Cleveland Basketball did not participate in the league in it’s 1st year, we began facilitating 6 of our teams to play in the PIL in 2015 to help their mission of building a local school sports program.

We support PPS/PIL and their efforts to give kids in our area a sponsored & low-cost Winter league to play in, while also continuing to offer club playing options of our own. Because our operations have always been autonomous, we have the ability to offer basketball to more age groups, divide into several tiers based on skill level, and create teams for the competitive and/or basketball-centric families that enjoy participating in a variety of leagues and tournaments year-round.

Our program currently houses more than 25 teams aged 3rd grade-high school, and each year, we are always looking to raise funds as a club to be able to offer scholarships, enhance the basketball experience for players and coaches, retain an outstanding core coaching staff group, acknowledge & celebrate families, and on occasion support the Cleveland High School boy’s basketball program when they have needs. Help is needed EVERY YEAR and is one of our biggest struggles still to date to be able to keep playing fees low.

Our organization also employs some of the CHS coaches as:

  • consultants for some our our other youth coaches

  • coaches themselves for year-round competitive youth travel teams

  • coaches for our high school club travel teams during the Summer season only

They are NOT employees of PPS/PIL when coaching under our organization, but they share in our goal of building the athletes feeding into their basketball program at the high school level.

If you are interested in volunteering, we could always use an extra hand! Our community is truly one-of-a-kind and we thank everyone for their continued support over the years!

What We Offer

Year-round playing opportunities for youth & high school athletes with our club organization.

In each segment, we offer 3 tiers:

High School tiers-

  • Frosh, JV , Varsity -or- 15u, 16u, 17u

Youth tiers-

  • Beginner (REC), Intermediate (HOOP), and Competitive (Warrior Prep)

We are committed to utilizing the game of basketball as a tool for developing the players in our community as people. Please check out the Boys Youth or our High School tabs to find information about the current or upcoming season.