MONTREAL - Montreal basketball coach Joey McKitterick, 29, has helped a lot of kids get top-flight educations on the cheap.

His trick is simply to help the young players hone their skills on the basketball court and then wow recruiters at top flight universities.

“I showed them that there’s a chance they can get a university education, they won’t have to pay for it and they can use basketball to achieve it,” said McKitterick.

He was speaking from his usual haunt, the basketball court, where he told CTV Montreal of his initiative to hook up talented kids with prestigious university scholarships.

“A lot of players here behind me have had that opportunity, or are going to have that opportunity, that otherwise wouldn’t have been available,” he told CTV Montreal.

One who successfully parlayed his play at McKitterick’s Brookwood Elite Basketball Program, said it’s not always an easy ride.

“Playing for Joey is a unique experience,” said Alex Mitrovic. “You have to be mentally tough to get through the program, he’ll push you beyond your limits and you can carry those values onto the next team you play for.”

McKitterick brings his prospects on long bus rides to spots as far as Florida in order to show them off to scouts.

But he demands as much as he gives and can be a hard coach to please.

“He’s very strong and demands they follow,” said friend Chris Barbiere. “But they don’t follow because they have to; they do it because they want it.”

The young Montreal players that McKitterick has helped into prestigious university scholarships include Patrick Steeves, (Harvard), Olivier-Paul Betu, (U California-Davis), Kemy Ossé (U Arkansas-Little Rock), Khem Birch (UNLV), Lenny Austin Antwi (U North Dakota), Hernst Laroche (New Mexico State), Adrian Hynes-Guery (Drexel U) Manny Sahota (Cornell) and Anaclet Mulumba-Mbayi (Fairleigh Dickinson U).

Kenny Chery, 20, received a dozen scholarship offers from American universities after being mentored by McKitterick.

“I probably wouldn’t be playing basketball without him,” said Chery. “It has helped make me more of a man, help take care of myself away from home.”