Las Vegas Aces continue to give back with Lace Up Mentoring Program

Turkson TJ

Las Vegas, NV – Although they have just begun their second year in Las Vegas, the Aces have ensured that they will have a lasting positive impact throughout the Vegas Valley for years to come. The team on Wednesday welcomed the inaugural class of mentees in their “Lace Up” Mentorship Program for girl’s high school basketball teams in Clark County, Nevada. The brand-new initiative culminated in three area high school teams being selected -from countless teams that applied- to take part in a series of sessions with Aces players and coaches to help offer them guidance and assistance in becoming more familiar with the college application process, recruiting, financial literacy and much more. They can be directed to using helpful resources like the common app, which assists with the application process for college-aged students.

“I know that when I got to speak to pro athletes when I was younger, it was really impactful, it made my dream of becoming a basketball player really tangible; I’m still looking to pay that forward to the young girls.” – Carolyn Swords

Aces center Carolyn Swords explained how teams wanting to take part submitted applications during the off-season consisting of either a video or an essay, detailing why they thought they should be selected as mentees; then three winning teams were selected.


The coaches of the school’s chosen as Wednesday’s lucky winners were able to take part in a Coaches’ clinic and learn from members of the Aces’ staff, including head coach Bill Laimbeer and top assistants Vickie Johnson and Kelly Raimon exactly what it takes to create a winning culture and learn about some of the demands of a coach in the professional ranks, as well as what goes in to game-planning, scouting opposing teams and strategizing for success.

Swords explained how the mentoring will help fill a practical need, as they will assist the young ladies in familiarizing themselves with the process of preparing for going to college, as they partnered up with UNLV admissions to coordinate a college readiness program, while acknowledging “I know it can be a very confusing process; we will provide them with some of that information.” Swords also described how the high schoolers would be getting paired up with specific Aces players to learn more about their journey to reaching the WNBA, and explained how she personally knows just how much of a profound effect such a relationship can have on a young player: “I know that when I had the opportunity to speak to collegiate or pro athletes when I was younger, it was really impactful, it made my dream of becoming a basketball player really tangible, and I’m still looking to just pay that forward to the young girls here in Las Vegas.”

The Aces (2-3 on the season, and currently sitting in fifth place in the WNBA’s Western Conference) look to get back to .500 with a win this Friday in front of their home crowd on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip at “the House,” inside Mandalay Bay. Friday’s game against the New York Liberty tips off at 7:30 pm sharp inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

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Remember to secure your seats right here for Saturday July 27th, so that you can be right alongside VSD to see the best and the brightest in the world of basketball who will all be gathered right here in Vegas for the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game, where there will not only be stars on the court; but superstars watching on the sidelines as well!!