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Former Hawkeye Tavian Banks gives high schoolers a second chance at sports with 'Church League'

Former Iowa standout Tavian Banks is quietly making an impact on hundreds of lives.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Iowa standout running back Tavian Banks is quietly making an impact on hundreds of lives.

For the past several years, he's run a basketball league named the "church league" for teens around the Des Moines metro.

"My dream is to play college football, and I know he played at Iowa, so seeing that he could come back and do great things for the community is cool to see," said Caleb Moore, one of the participants.

"We kind of revamped it, partnered with the Iowa Wolves and brought back like an Iowa Wolves YMCA Grubb metro league," Banks said.

The league has more than 20 teams and 200 high school athletes.

"Kids that normally wouldn't be able to have a basketball, like a high school season, if they didn't make their high school team, so there's a lot of kids that are getting an opportunity to play basketball right now," Banks said.

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Each player gets a jersey, provided by the Iowa Wolves. Scores are kept, fouls are called and the games are still competitive.

"Its just a loose environment, having fun, you can go out there and play basketball," Moore said. "You don't have to worry about the pressure and all the other stuff, running the plays right, it's just fun." 

The athletes say it's a learning experience

"It's really awesome," participant John Hatfield said. "It really takes a lot of courage to get out of your comfort zone and just do other things." 

"Just having something to do and just being able to come out here and have fun," said Batpiny Riak, another participant.

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