What is A&K Skill Development?
A&K Skill Development is a year-round basketball training program open for any player regardless of age or skill-level. All that we require is for the child to want to improve at the game.
After training in close relations with the Erie Bayhawks, Millcreek Youth Athletic Association, Gannon University, and other parties across the Greater Erie Area, we have developed an effective yet unique style of teaching. We offer tailor-made sessions for individuals, small groups, and teams; these sessions are focused on teaching children the fundamentals of basketball, as well as integral life traits throughout the process. We use our passion, experience, and knowledge to prepare kids’ minds and bodies for the highest level of success.
In our experience, one of the biggest problems within the youth basketball community is that some kids get lost in their team. Considering the amount of responsibilities coaches have, it can be difficult for them to focus on individual players and give them the attention that is necessary for them to develop. Many kids are left to wait for summer camps to open in order to train, leaving months wasted when they could be learning and honing their skills. That is why A&K is dedicated to remaining accessible year-round to players of all ages.
Bring the Attitude. We’ll provide the knowledge.
Meet the Founders
A’Darius Porter (AD)
A’Darius Porter grew up playing all sports, but he stuck with basketball as he enjoyed the physicality of it. This continued as earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Gannon University, where he also obtained a Graduate degree in Business and continues to work towards his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Inspired by his grandfather, A’Darius always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and he saw an opportunity when he was approached (alongside co-founder Raphell Thomas-Edwards) to train a young man on a weekly basis - a service that would continue to grow to this day. Perseverance, self-identity, and a knowledge of how to face adversity are all characteristics A’Darius knows basketball (and sports in general) to instill in young people. He is proud of seeing A&K Skill Development’s athletes grow, as well as the fact that the Erie community has kept the business going for over five years.
Raphell Thomas-Edwards (Kofi)
Raphell Thomas-Edwards played basketball for two years in Buffalo, New York, before transferring to Gannon University, where he majored in Communications and earned a Master’s degree in Business Marketing. He would go on to play professional basketball in England, a sport he has been playing and progressing in since he was just 11 years old. Over the span of seven years, Raph has worked with A’Darius to continue to grow a business they are passionate about based around a game they love. From sheer work ethic to emotional stability and the strength it takes to push through challenges, he feels there is nothing from the game of basketball that isn’t transferable into life activities. For Raph, A&K Skill Development is all about seeing players improve and ensuring that anyone who wants to play the game has a way to do so.
A&K Skill Development stands for attitude and knowledge. As a dedicated sports training company, we take great pride in our services knowing a great deal can be learned from sports, and we would like to pay that forward to future generations. We aim to see children succeed both on and off the court, and we do this by providing role models and words of insight to help steer them towards positive paths in life. Our employees value a family-like work environment, and that energy is ultimately passed onto those we teach.
At A&K, we want to see that everyone who wants to play basketball receives the same opportunities regardless of their level of professional interest in the game. Through the fundamentals of competitive sports, our services are designed to provide children with the opportunity to not only further their education in basketball, but in life and schooling as well (including the potential for future scholarships).
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for!”
At A&K, we aim to develop our clients holistically using our knowledge and passion for the game of basketball. Our program demands the highest standard of behavior from members throughout the organization; this starts with our staff and resonates with our players. We are constantly striving to create experiences through basketball that will be recognized later as life lessons. Our goal is for each member to understand the meaning of respect, accountability, and persistence to overcome the challenges life throws at them. Molding future community leaders starts with having the right attitude so they can embrace a journey filled with knowledge.
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Thank you for your interest in A&K Skill Development. We have worked with numerous children and families that have all described our services as exceptional while recommending us to friends. We hope that yours will be next.