Josiah Reid, Tomi Akingboye, Lennox Zayela and Elijah Ventura will represent the United States at the United World Games this summer.

Four local student basketball players will travel to Europe this summer to participate in the United World Games.

Josiah Reid from Randall Middle School, Tomi Akingboye from Rodgers Middle School, Lennox Zayela from Bell Creek Academy and Elijah Ventura from Farnell Middle School will represent the United States.

The United World Games’ basketball competition for those ages 10-19 years old will take place from Thursday, June 20, to Sunday, June 23. The boys will travel for 10 days and combine the basketball competition with skill development and cultural education.

Hope Reid, Josiah’s mother, said the four boys were selected alongside other players from a pool of applicants across the country based on their playing style, skills and character.

“It’s just a really exciting time. We’re all looking forward to watching them represent the U.S. and hopefully bring home the gold,” Hope said.

PhD Hoops, a travel basketball company, is sponsoring the trip, but the boys have participated in a shoe drive to help fund their trip to Europe. During the shoe drive, the boys collected over 2,000 pairs of shoes for micro entrepreneurs in developing countries.

“These kids are making an impact internationally. They will be. We’re going [to] go over there and represent,” Hope said.

Until the games, the athletes have recommended drills they must do and are playing on local AAU teams. The basketball players will travel together right before the games, where they will be able to practice as a team.

“They’re also going to have a lot of team-building opportunities to build relationships They’re going to be doing some sightseeing, but they have about three to four days of, you know, getting to know each other based on their playing styles and running drills,” Hope said.

The United World Games are an annual youth sporting tournament nonprofit. It hosts events, including basketball, field hockey, dance and more sports. The four boys will play on the United States’ basketball team with hopes to showcase their skills and bring home the gold.

“We’re extremely, extremely proud of them,” Hope said.

For more information about PhD Hoops, visit For more information on the United World Games, visit

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.