WEST ORANGE, NJ — A West Orange middle school student will be attending The Patrick School, located in Hillside, this fall for the Middle School Basketball Academy, when the school’s basketball-training program opens its doors in September. When Elliot Cadeau starts eighth grade, he will be training for four hours of the school day to become a better basketball player, with the hope of preparing for high school and college basketball.
“I think it will be fun training like that, I can work on different things and the team aspects,” Elliot said in a phone interview with the West Orange Chronicle on June 28. “So I’m looking forward to it.”
Michelle Cadeau, Elliot’s mother and an employee of The Patrick School, said in a June 28 phone interview with the Chronicle that students at the basketball academy spend their mornings in class and afternoons on the court. They only take the core subjects: math, English, history and science, in addition to an elective. Michelle Cadeau said this schedule lets the young athletes fit more activities into their days.
“In a normal school, they went to school all day and could only train after,” she said. “And when you’re 13 or 14 years old, you can’t spend that much time training. This way they have time for their homework and doing other stuff, like community service.”
Michelle Cadeau said the middle school program was conceived when school trainers realized that there are no sports academies in the area. A similar high school program is run by IMG Academy in Florida, but there were no sports academies in the northern states or any for middle school athletes.
“The goal is to get them ready for high school and get a good education,” she said. “The trainers are some of the best in the country, and they’ll be able to break down games on a high school and college level.”
The Cadeaus both pointed out that West Orange native Kyrie Irving, who now plays for the Boston Celtics, is a 2010 graduate of the school, formerly named St. Patrick High School.
“Here, for the local kids, Kyrie Irving being from West Orange is big,” Michelle Cadeau said. “Playing in college and the NBA is not as far-fetched, because someone actually did it. It looks like something that could actually happen.”
“I’ve never really trained that much in one day,” Elliot Cadeau said. “So I’m really looking forward to it.”
Photos Courtesy of Michelle Cadeau