Steph Curry's UNDERRATED Championship Was a Celebration of the Underdog

We caught up with players Peyton Atkins and Keenan Gray to hear about the event

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What does it mean to be underrated? By our estimation, underrated means that you are underestimated, underrepresented, and often overlooked. While being underrated is very much something that can be frustrating, there’s a beauty in it. They never see you coming. Steph Curry knows a thing or two about being underrated. They didn’t see him coming either, and now look, the man will go down in history not just as one of the best players of all time, but arguably the greatest shooter to ever play the game. And the coolest thing about the underdogs? They always spot their fellow underdogs. Game recognize game. 

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UNDERRATED, Steph’s platform for discovering and giving young underrated athletes their chance for recognition, just wrapped up their championship weekend in Oakland. Powered by Rakuten, the event took place at the Open Gym Premier gym in Oakland,was the culmination of a year-long, nation-wide search across four U.S. cities, in search of overlooked and underrepresented talent in the world of high school basketball. After an exciting weekend of competition and player development, The North region for both boys and girls teams were crowned the country’s most UNDERRATED.

Two players in particular have incredible stories to tell, as their journey to get to this championship was far from easy. 

  • Peyton Akins (Seattle, WA) - Peyton Akins is a talented guard from Washington. She comes from a military background, moving between six schools in her high school career before finally calling Tacoma, WA home for the last two. She currently holds numerous college offers from the likes of West Alabama, Western Washington and the University of Honolulu Chaminade, just to name a few. 
  • Keenan Gray (McDonough, GA) - Keenan Gray embodies the underrated athlete mentality – with no recruitment and no circuit under his belt, he and his mom organized a film on YouTube that was then sent out to multiple colleges for consideration. Thanks to that video and his exposure as an UNDERRATED athlete, Keenan is now being actively recruited for basketball teams at notable colleges and universities.  

We chatted with Peyton and Keenan over the weekend to talk about their experiences. Check it out below.

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ONE37pm: Hi guys! Okay, let’s first talk about championship weekend. Was that experience like for you?

Peyton: It was a great experience—our team actually won the championship! It was nice to have the experience, and how well we did was surprising with us not really having experience playing together. We all kind of know each other from the area, but we’ve never been on the same team. So it was nice that we were able to have that good chemistry and bring out the win.

Keenan: It was a good experience! I had fun and the competition was good as well. The championship game was probably my favorite experience. I didn’t play in it, but watching it was fun. And the player’s lounge too!

ONE37pm: What has being a part of UNDERRATED as a whole been like?

Peyton: I feel like I’ve had a struggle with being underrated in the area, and not being as seen as others in AAU. Sometimes my playing style wouldn’t fit with the team that I was with, so I would just have to find a way to conform. Coming to UNDERRATED and finally being able to be recognized is something that is really special. There were only eight of us that made it, so to be a part of that was amazing.

Keenan: It’s a cool experience! Not very many people get this opportunity. It’s different and gives you a feel of how things are going to be later on. The UNDERRATED team really cares about your future and they want everybody to succeed.

ONE37pm: How do you personally feel you have been underrated, and how have you overcome that?

Peyton: Being underrated, I’ve felt like I have something to prove—especially with my mom being in the military, and having to move a lot and start over. Each location I’ve had to prove myself. It’s not the best feeling to be underrated, but that just makes me want to work harder to prove people wrong. I just keep myself in the gym and add new things to my game because even though you may be performing well, there’s always something new you can be adding to your game. You have to keep working and be undeniable on the court so nobody can say anything.

Keenan: Being underrated is alright! I do feel I should have more, but it’s okay because it motivates me to work harder and be better.

ONE37pm: What kind of player are you on the court, and who are you off it?

Peyton: I would say I am a player that likes to drive to the basket and I like to play fast. I’m like an Allen Iverson because I have that drive to win and play hard no matter the circumstances—especially in situations where no one thinks you can do it. With our high school, we didn’t have the best season in the beginning, but we ended up doing well. I think I’m ambitious, driven, and I always try to have that Mamba Mentality like Kobe. Off the court we can be friends, but on the court it’s go time. Off the court, I like to study languages, travel, read a lot, and spend time with my sibling. 

Keenan: I’m a leader, and I’m somebody who gets my teammates involved. I would say that I’m like a De’Aaron Fox player wise. Off the court, I like to be in the gym. I stay in the gym, and I also like to be with my friends and family. I’m a huge fan of 2K. I enjoy watching Outer Banks, and Spongebob is the best!

ONE37pm:  Lastly, what's your advice to anyone who feels they are underrated?

Peyton: Keep working. You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody, but just keep working on your craft.

Keenan: Keep working. That’s the process. Speak it into existence as well. Write your goals down—that’s what my mom taught me.

Momma knows best! Of course we had to check in with Steph as well about the weekend. Here’s what he had to say:

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“I created the UNDERRATED brand to celebrate the underdog and encourage often overlooked individuals to believe in their potential for success. This year’s championship was a testament to that mission as we saw student-athletes from underserved communities showcasing their talent on the court and pursuing their dreams. Keenan Gray, Peyton Akins and every other athlete competing in the championships embodies the qualities we seek to find—skill, courage and grace—along with the dedication and hard work it takes to make it to the top. I am excited to see all of these athletes continue their journeys and inspire others to challenge the stereotypes of the game." 

You can keep up with all of the latest UNDERRATED news and updates via their official website and Instagram.

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