NO SCHOOL No Play has kicked off its second year at six schools across Blacktown.
Organised by Chifley MP Ed Husic and Basketball Australia, the program uses basketball-court time as an incentive for students to attend school regularly.
Participants also learn how to referee their own games.
Two schools will play in a curtain-raiser before an NBL Sydney Kings game in December.
Retired NBL star and former St Marys boy Ben Knight helps organisers run the program at Plumpton, Evans and St Clare's Catholic high schools.
He believes the program is in better shape than when it started last year.
"It's gone up a level," he said. "We've kept on some students from last year to continue as leaders. There's more focus on education this year so the kids understand more about choices."
Mr Husic said: "This year is even more popular with students lobbying teachers to be involved in the clinics. This is exactly what we wanted the program to do — get students eager about attending and engaging at school, getting them more involved in sport and learning more about healthy living."
A self-confessed basketball nut, Mr Husic visited the kids at Plumpton recently, bringing former Kings general manager and coach Bob Turner.
Organisers were grateful for the continued support of sponsors Westpac and Woolworths, which provide healthy post-game snacks.
WentWest, which runs Western Sydney's Medicare Local, has joined up to educate students about nutrition and wellbeing.
"We want these kids to lead healthy lifestyles in an area which has high rates of obesity and diabetes," Mr Knight said.
The program wraps up at the end of the term with a presentation day scheduled for October.