Wisconsin RAP celebrates a decade of mentoring through basketball


MILWAUKEE, May 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Former Wisconsin RAP player, James Kelley looks back on his experience in the program fondly, mentioning he only wishes he would have found out about them sooner. Kelley played with WisRAP through his high school years and is now a forward for Southwestern Community College averaging 19 PPG and 7 RPG while being named Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference. James has yet to announce his commitment, but currently has several NCAA full athletic scholarship offers to continue his basketball career and academic journey. He accredits the RAP coaches, specifically, Anthony Mlachnik, for developing his basketball skills as well as shaping him into the man he’s proud to be today.

Kelley recalls the summer when Anthony Mlachnik and his wife Kelly opened up their home to him which led to many days spent shooting hoops but also important “dad” chats at the dinner table that he’ll always be grateful for.

“I didn’t have the easiest childhood and didn’t necessarily have a father figure, but Anthony was always there since I met him at 13 years old,” said Kelley.

On and off the court, he knew he would have the support of the Wisconsin RAP family.

Kelley shared, "It’s important to have a program like this in Milwaukee because being in the inner city could be troubling at times and being able to walk into any RAP gym was a blessing.”

At one point in their lives, Anthony Mlachnik and Scott Cook couldn’t imagine coaching let alone what RAP Nation – Institute of Basketball has turned into. But things changed a decade ago. It’s grown to be one of the top grassroots basketball programs in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

RAP Nation was started by Anthony, Kelly and DJ Mlachnik along with Scott and Erica Cook. The overall concept began when they decided to build a brand and culture centered around character development through a game they all loved, basketball. Basketball RAP stands for Rapid Acceleration Program and skill development is the core of what RAP Nation exemplifies.

“In 2010, we observed players and thought they were missing fundamentals,” said Australian native, Scott Cook. “We set out to be game-changers and to bring a European style of basketball training to the United States.”

The program is designed to fast-track the development of the essential fundamental basketball skills needed to play at an elite level.

“We took a step back and observed the landscape around us and realized for a lot of these young student-athletes, they were not having the opportunities to go to a four-year college and that frustrated me,” Mlachnik said.

Wisconsin RAP uses the team sport of basketball to educate young student-athletes on the importance of basketball skill development, weight training, proper nutrition and community involvement to empower them with the essential skills needed to succeed on and off the court. Their focus is to extract an athlete’s top-most potential, educate them on how to utilize their skills in game-play, and transition this high level of play to their upcoming high school or college games.

“We are proud to see some of the success stories our basketball communities are having. I’m so thankful for the people from the beginning that believed in RAP Nation and that were a part of the journey, and I’m so excited to continue to connect that community back to our youth for tomorrow,” said Mlachnik.

Learn more about Wisconsin RAP:
CBS58: Wisconsin RAP celebrates a decade helping the community through basketball
TMJ4: Wisconsin RAP celebrates a decade of mentoring young basketball players

To get involved in the program contact:
Erica Cook
C: 414-335-2464