Updated: Feb 5, 2020
A lot of people ask me about my past playing and coaching experience, so here is a quick look into my journey!
As most young players do, I dreamed of one day going to a big time college (Duke specifically) and then to the NBA. I played a ton of basketball along with other sports, and began training 2-3 times with Ephraim Dorsey and "Athelites". The training set an unbelievable foundation for my game, skills, and ability as an athlete. I was "fundamentally sound", I could handle the ball, pass, shoot from anywhere, finish around the hoop, and lead a Team. I took home free throw shooting competitions, Defensive Player of the Week, and Best Playmaker awards from camps I attended. I had a quality High School career but nothing that amounted to gaining attention from recruits. So I went the Junior College route and played at Harford Community, the last attempt to keep the dream alive. Guys were bigger, faster, and stronger. Skills I could get away with at the High School level didn't work anymore. I adapted to the pace, and when given an opportunity to play I would make the most of it. My IQ and "fundamentals" allowed me to be competitive. However, the overall experience I had at the JUCO level left me disliking the game for awhile. It would be months before I picked up a ball after the season came to an end. My biggest focus became preparing myself for school at the University of Maryland. I know, ironic being a lifetime Duke fan. I did get free seats to see them play a few times though.
Throughout my 3 years of school at UMD, I remained close to the game playing occasionally in pick up games or intramural leagues. During the summer I would go back home to work at the Skills Academy Basketball Camp run by Head Coach of Patterson Mill High School, Jeroud Clark, a job I began doing right after my senior year of high school. Coach Clark had been my JV coach for two seasons, from attention to detail, X and Os, and work ethic he set the foundation for the rest of my career. Every summer he would joke with me, "whenever you graduate I got the JV coaching job lined up for you". It was never something I envisioned doing. I loved to PLAY, but the thought of having to sit and watch a game and not be able to have any physical influence on it was crazy to me. When the opportunity actually presented itself in the summer of 2013, it was too hard to pass up. Being the big Duke fan I am, I rushed out and collected any Coach K books I could find. Coaching was such a unique challenge, and I learned a whole lot in just two years. From a basketball perspective my biggest takeaway was the lack of overall skill and commitment to the game I once experienced just a few years before as a player. My daily routine during my coaching career consisted of working out, and preparing for practice. Throughout this time I was exposed to "basketball trainers" getting paid for what I believed to be sub par work. I knew undoubtedly, the passion and knowledge I could bring to the table would be far greater. When the off-season hit I began working with some of my neighborhood kids on their game. During my second season coaching, not having a "real 9-5" job yet it was time to start advertising my services. Couple late nights of brainstorming; Court Prowess was ready to rock.
On the last game of the season in 2015, I interviewed and received a dream job offer at Under Armour. I started as a part time employee working nights as a customer service representative, so I had time during the summer days to train 3 hours in the morning on outdoor courts before going into work. I was constantly watching film for new information, training techniques, and brainstorming ideas to keep things fresh for my clients. During this timeframe I came across a workout video featuring Kyrie Irving, and was introduced to a whole new way of training. I became hooked to Micah Lancaster's training methods, and began implementing them into my own. I eventually got a mentorship with him and became certified through his company as an I'm Possible Skill Enhancement Trainer. It continues to connect so many dots and completely changed my perspective of the game.
My ultimate goal was to build Court Prowess into my career at Under Armour. Life at UA was amazing, and I found myself with a full-time Social Media role just six months in. I carved out 2-3 nights a week to train, and got my partner Shawn on board to help me with the Athletic Performance work of our athletes. Over time, the passion I had developed for my program heavily outweighed all the opportunities I had coming at Under Armour. I resigned after 3.5 years in September of 2018.
I often find myself wondering what kind of player I could have been if I could go back and train my younger self with the knowledge I have now. I would spend 8 hours a day running, lifting and shooting with my best friend Ryan Horka, who played at Catholic University. I was always in shape, mastered the pull-up jumper, floaters, and could handle the ball. Back then I would say "fundamental", now I would just call it "basic". Fundamentals are things that have proven to work, or proven to be effective. Knowing and understanding the finer details and options the game presents is crucial. Some of my frustration at the end of my playing career came from feeling I could only do so much with the height and natural athleticism I was born with. From a skill and athletic perspective this is far from the truth. I continue to prove it to myself day in and day out in the way I personally train. Given the knowledge and resources we have today, you just have to be willing to work differently: "Be a Handful". Every player will have a unique set of strengths, and weaknesses they must overcome. The career I had as a player fuels me. All those years of "hard-work" and "sweat" gave me a quality base, I was just missing pieces of the puzzle. Skill Enhancement, Athletic Performance, and a Blueprint to becoming a better trainer of yourself are components of the game I am most passionate about delivering to my athletes.
Thank you for giving this a read. I plan to come out with a monthly post with training tips, updates, and more. This month I will leave you with an easy to read book for anybody looking to perform at their best!
Don't Chase Your Dreams, Outrun Them.