The Converse Olympic Youth three-on-three basketball program will start its second season July 6, when boys and girls 12 to 17 will begin an eight-game regular-season schedule at various locations in the area.

The players will be divided into three boys groups (12-13, 14-15, 16-17) and two girls groups (12-14, 15-16).

The teams with the best records in the area will begin championship tournaments Aug. 15.

The YMCA handles the program nationally, but the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington will coordinate local play.

Heading the Washington program is Phil Chenier, former Washington Bullets player who runs the Family Life Center at 13th and P streets NW.

He will coordinate the schedule and handle registration, which will end July 5.

"This is not a highly competitive league," Ed Hudson of the Boys and Girls Clubs organization said. "Our emphasis is on participation.

"Sure, some of the kids are going to be really competitive, but our goal is to get as much involvement as possible."

Hudson wants to get children interested in the Olympics.

"Too few athletes are thinking about the Olympics, just money contracts, and we want to change that as much as we can," he said.

"We're concentrating particularly on basketball, and this way it gives the kids a chance to say they were part of an Olympic sport. That's a big thrill.

"The medal is also a nice thing to receive; it's right there in the Olympic spirit. And we've got the girls involved in this, too, so nobody's left out."