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Rising basketball star Christopher Rupert

RAPID CITY— Christopher M. Rupert is an eighth grader who plays for the Rapid City West Middle School basketball team.. He is a enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Christopher’s Grandma is Mary Crazy Thunder of Pine Ridge. His parents are Christopher Rupert and Andrea Crazy Thunder. Rupert’s family moved to Rapid City because they thought the town might provide better opportunities for Christopher.
Rupert started playing for Rapid Skills Gold team in March 2022. After a year of training at Rapid Skills Athletic Complex, he played for the 12U team. Rupert is currently traveling around the United States Playing for MeanStreets of the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL). MeanStreets Chicago has produced players such as Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis and Patrick Beverly. The EYBL program is an advanced level of competition in which athletes compete against players and teams from around the country at their prospective levels. In 7th grade Rupert traveled and played basketball in Sioux Falls, Kansas City, Nebraska, Iowa and Denver for MeanStreets. In July 2022 he had graduated to the 17U level. It took three months for Rupert to advance from 12U to 17U. He took the West Middle School Wolves to the championships and gained 45 points in one game. In various leagues, Rupert has been a part of five championship teams between the fall and winter. His first championship was the Holiday Classic on January 8 and 9, where his team went 3-0, winning by an average of 20 points. He next played in the Polar Bear Classic, February 11 and 12, where his undefeated squad positively walloped the competition. On April 2, playing for Chicago MeanStreets, Rupert faced his toughest competition to date, as his team lost three straight to the Bradley Beagles, Indy Heat and Pro Skills Elite, three of the tougher traveling teams in the country In 2023 Rupert got sponsored by Nike. Rupert recently played against the Young and Reckless team in Chicago. His team won, 63-30.
With the motivation from his Rapid Skillz Coach AJ Zolicoffer, Rupert has brought his grades up to a B average in order to be able to keep playing basketball.. His mother recently started working for the gym that Christopher trains in to help support his goals. Zolicoffer has said the strength Rupert brings to his game is movability.
“He can stop a break, start a fast break, and finish a fast break with the highest quality.” Zolicoffer said
“His strength is shot blocking, rebounding, defending, and interior and perimeter play, his only weakness is experience.”
Next year Rupert will be trying out for the 15 U USA Team.
(Contact Christopher Piña at

Photographer Alyssa Crawford

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