The University of Winnipeg is hoping to attract downtown youth to a new basketball league this summer.

The university kicked off a summer basketball league targeted at inner-city youth on Sunday.

“It does a lot. You get more experience with the game,” said Ergan Nasajpour. Nasajpour grew up in Winnipeg’s downtown core and now plays basketball professionally in Iran. He works as a mentor and coach with the university’s program.

The games are run by the Inner City Junior Wesman Program and are open to boys and girls of all ages.


Nasajpour was a Wesman all-star guard for five years before becoming a professional player. Now Nasajpour plays professional ball in Iran and comes back to Winnipeg to mentor young players in the off-season.

“Growing up around here I know how hard it is for these guys to find a gym – finding a safe environment to play in,” said Nasajpour. “I can really relate to them.”

About 20 kids are currently enrolled in the league, but Nasajpour expects more to join as the summer goes on.

The summer basketball league runs every Sunday from July 15 through August.

Anyone under 18 is welcomed to join.