Our Story

EMPOWERMENT

MOKAN believes that students have  complete control over their attitude and effort regardless of circumstances. We desire to guide students towards habits that lead to success in the classroom, on the court and in their relationships with family and friends.

INSPIRATION

Using sport to change lives, MOKAN inspires youth to think beyond what they know, daring them to be the absolute best they can be. Words of encouragement from a mentor are a powerful thing.

COMMITMENT

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Anything worthwhile is not easy. MOKAN emphasizes perseverance and dedication; lifeskills that translate beyond the court.

TEAMWORK

MOKAN provides a safe, constructive learning environment allowing students to express individuality while working together towards a common goal. Significant achievement requires the work of many.

 

After playing collegiate basketball and graduating from the University of Misouri-Kansas City, MOKAN founder Matt Suther began to miss being around the game and the relationships that came with the experience.

A basketball enthusiast, Matt began to closely follow the high school basketball scene in the greater Kansas City area. He observed a pattern of highly talented kids leave the city for opportunities, only to return a year or two later because they weren’t properly prepared for the demands or structure of the college environment. Attributing his success to the principles he learned from his parents and coaches, Matt began to search out coaching opportunities where he could pass on those lessons.

“Our goal is to create even greater impact with those we serve while at the same time creating more opportunities for those that need it the most.  It is with sincere gratitude that we thank those whose financial contributions have and will continue to make our work possible.”

MATT SUTHER | FOUNDER OF MOKAN BASKETBALL

Matt believed that exposing kids to college level practices was the only way to truly prepare basketball players for success at the next level. He was certain that his basketball knowledge would be his greatest asset to the kids he was going to coach. Matt soon realized he couldn’t have been more wrong.

His first team was comprised of mostly inner-city youth from single parent homes who lacked many of the necessities most youth take for granted. By the end of the first month, he realized that basketball wasn’t the most pressing need.

Most of the kids lacked the financial resources to afford the basics like uniforms, shoes, and tournament entry fees. Transportation to practice and games was constantly a challenge in the single-parent families. Kids often showed up to practices without having eaten lunch and sometimes even dinner. Some of the parents worked nights making it difficult to monitor their son’s academic progress and study habits. Something that was intended to be solely about basketball quickly became so much more.

The relationships formed from that first team and lessons learned are something that Matt will treasure forever. Four years later, they became MOKAN’s first graduating class. The personal growth each student-athlete made from their initial interactions as freshman in high school until graduation was incredibly rewarding to watch.

Most inspiring is the fact that every single student-athlete from this first group not only graduated from high school but received a college scholarship. These dedicated pioneers set the standard for all who followed them, as both of those statistics remain true eight years later.

One team turned into two and two grew to four. Fast forward to today: MOKAN serves more than 300 young men annually ranging from grades three through 12 in the metro Kansas City area. With the help of a network of mentors, friends and partners, MOKAN has become a consistent source of hope for area participants.

Since 2004, more than 95 student-athletes have received college scholarships through the platform provided by MOKAN. We have alums at some of the most recognizable educational institutions across the country. from the University of California Berkeleyto Duke University.