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Rookie Basketball Association Image

Rookie Basketball Association

The Salvation Army Rookie Basketball Association is a developmental youth basketball league for girls and boys, grades k-8, in Duluth, Minnesota.  Our focus is a holistic approach to training the body, mind (attitude), and heart (effort). Through a fun sports experience, foundational individual and team skills are developed to benefit youth in sports and in everyday life. 

The league offers seasonal sessions, plus 3-on-3 player opportunities and clinics. For information on current league events view our most recent newsletter: Summer 2024.

Registration for 2024 Summer Clinics is now closed. Email for availability.


Winter basketball is led by a team of volunteer coaches focusing on fundamental development of basketball and character skills. These skills include change of speed and direction, handling the ball, passing, shooting, teamwork, sportsmanship and team offense and defense. Families interested in applying for scholarships must do so BEFORE registering. K1 grades will have two separate sessions. 4 weeks of Intro to Basketball will be in November. 6 weeks of K1 winter team basketball will take place in January/February. K1 sessions will be one evening a week. 2-8 grade will have one weekly evening practice and play their games on 10-12 Saturdays between November-mid-March. Registration for the 2024-2025 winter season will open September 3.



Rookie Basketball Association Spring K1 Skills & Scrimmage is an exciting 4 week session focused on fundamental skills, learning teamwork, and to scrimmage play. Players will have the opportunity to get on the court and practice their basketball skills then put those to the test in a scrimmage. Two-thirds of the sessions will include focus on basic skills including running, jumping, change of speed and direction, handling the ball, shooting at the target. The final one-third players will be put on teams and scrimmage. All sessions are at The Salvation Army and facilitated by RBA staff.

2-7 GRADE 3 ON 3

Spring 3 on 3 will consist of staff led warm up followed by 3 on 3 play. Players should expect up to 3 games per session which are all at Lincoln Park Middle School. This league focuses on improving a youth player's fundamentals.

Scholarships are available and must be applied for and approved before registration.

Registration will open in February 2025.

We offer summer basketball clinics for boys and girls in grades K-6. These clinics focus on developing basketball fundamentals, as well as character qualities of sportsmanship, teamwork and excellence. Players will develop their individual and team skills through training activities, participating in individual contests, and playing in games. Families interested in applying for scholarships must do so BEFORE registering. Clinics are 9:00am-4:00pm. Lunch, snack, and t-shirt are included in registration fee.

Registration for 2024 summer clinics is now closed. Email for availability.

Scholarships are available for qualifying families (download a scholarship application). PLEASE NOTE: You must complete the application, submit it with proof of income and assistance, AND BE APPROVED before registering your child. Player placement is on a first come, first serve basis. Please sumbit your complete scholarship application early as the approval process can take up to 2 weeks. Families with more than one child participating will receive a discount for each additional child. For any questions, call 218-576-6174.

A number of basketball standouts partner with the program and practice with the kids, including the Bulldog men’s and women's basketball teams from UMD.

We also have a number of local businesses who support the program:

League Sponsors ($1,000+)

Team Sponsors ($999 & under )

Winter league practices and games MAY be held at the following locations:

  • The Salvation Army, 215 S. 27th Ave. W.
  • Congdon Elementary, 3116 E. Superior St.
  • The Encounter, 201 E 1st St.
  • Homecroft Elementary, 4784 Howard Gnesen Road
  • Lakewood Elementary, 5207 N Tischer Road
  • Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. 3rd St.
  • Lowell Elementary, 200 Rice Lake Rd.
  • Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 N. Central Ave.
  • Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood St.
  • Myers Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N. 8th Ave. E.
  • Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Ave.
  • Stowe Elementary, 715 101st Ave. W.
  • Superior Middle School, 3625 Hammond Ave.


If Duluth Public Schools are closed due to a holiday or inclement weather, practices or games will be canceled.

Coaches send players home with drills and skill work to practice at home. View player skill guide.

The Rookie Basketball program relies on volunteers to coach teams for each winter season. The time commitment varies from one to three hours per week. If you volunteered for this role last year, you will need to register but you do not need to fill out a new application. Registration for volunteer coaches for the 2023-2024 season will open on Tuesday, September 6. Thank you!

Each volunteer will need to complete the following:

  • Online volunteer application and registration, including references. Click HERE to apply.
  • Online background check, linked in the volunteer application
  • Attend Salvation Army Safe From Harm training, good for four years
  • Online concussion training, state-mandated and needed every 3 years (view training)
  • Attend coaches meeting and training, date to be determined
  • To register as a volunteer coach, click HERE.

View the Coaches Guide official basketball signal chart. Our Rookie Basketball coaching resources may also be helpful.

2023-2024 Matthew Duffy Coach of the Year

Matthew Duffy

2022-2023 David Eastman Coach of the Year

Larry Oleska

2021-2022 Melody Maleski Coach of the Year

Larry Oleska


2019-2020 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Larry Oleksa, pictured with his family

Larry Oleska

2018-2019 Dale Stocke Co-Coach of the Year

Julie Flotten, left, and Mia Thibodeau, right, with their team.

The coach of the 2018-2019 year, Julie Flotten, poses with her basketball team

© Lynnette’s Portrait Design 2019

2017-18 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Jill Doberstein, recipient, with members of her team.

The coach of the 2017-2018 year, Jill Doberstein, poses with her basketball team

2016-17 Dale Stocke Coach of the Year

Mayor Emily Larson, Steve Williams recipient, St. Scholastica Head Coach David Staniger

The coach of the 2016-2017 year, Steve Williams, poses with Mayor Emily Larsona and St. Scholastica David Staniger

Rookie Basketball lessons take place both on and off the court, with each parent’s involvement being key to the development of their child. The Rookie Basketball program has developed a Parent Guide, as well as the RBA Code of Conduct to help ensure the league is a positive learning and growing experience.

Curious what you’re missing out on? Miss seeing your Rookie in action? Check out the action in our Photo Gallery and view footage from our games and most recent practices below:

Season Highlights

These are the highlights for the past winter seasons. Watch to learn what our league is about and what a typical season is like.


From the Mayor

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson congratulates players on a season well done and talks about her own children’s experience in the league.

Parent Testimonial

End of Season Message: Minnesota Viking C.J. Ham

End of Season Message: Anders & Bjorn Broman

For more information about the Rookie Basketball Association, please contact Kris Mallett at or  218-576-6174.    


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