Basketball Skills Coach
Feature No. 12 | May 19th, 2020
How did you get started as a basketball trainer?
My interest in skills training dates back to high school when I went to the Five-Star Basketball Camp in 2003! The late Howard Garfinkel called me up to lead a drill and it made me feel like I could teach a group if I had the right skills.
Because of the way I trained and played at camp, I walked away with the Best Shooting Guard award that year, and respect from Garfinkel and Tom Konchalski: a top collegiate basketball scout.
Throughout high school and college, I followed that lead and trained teammates as well as the youth in my community while playing. After college, Tamika Catchings gave me my first official start to training in 2011 with a skills training position in her Catch The Stars Winter Basketball Camp in Indiana. Followed by Nike and Jordan Brand from 2013 through to today.
Talk about your early years playing high school ball. What were some highlights of playing at places like Beacon prep school, Notre Dame Prep, and Redemption Christian Academy and the Penola in Texas?
I attended a small school called Beacon High School in Manhattan and received All-Manhattan Honorable Mention in both my junior and senior year.
Following my junior year, I had surgery to fix a torn meniscus which derailed several opportunities. I hold the school’s record for most points scored in a single regular season game, (50 points) and most points scored in a playoff game (40 points).
In search of better college opportunities, I went to several prep schools (Norte Dame Prep and Redemption Christian Academy). From there, I attended Division 1 Junior College in Texas called Panola College where we played teams like Tyler Junior College. That same year, NBA All-Star, Jimmy Butler attended and played for TJC. The highlight that year was beating them in the conference tournament in overtime and advancing to the next round. I then transferred to Webber International University in Florida after my first year at Panola College.
What has it been like working with professional players such as Scott Machado, Bria Hartley and Tamika Catchings?
Working with professional athletes comes with its challenges much like anything else! Correcting mistakes, breaking bad habits, introducing new things, and polishing old ones take a certain level of focus and attention to detail.
Players like Tamika Catchings and Scott Machado understand that approach while grasping that “killer” mentality. Working with athletes like Bria Hartley is a pleasure as well. She’s not only a great athlete that’s locked into the details, but she’s a fantastic mom which adds to her motivation out there on the court!
One highlight about working with these athletes would be how quickly they pick up on things and how relentless they are in their pursuit to “get it right.” Scott and I have a phrase that represents our approach to things and sums up everything in my opinion, and that’s “Be Intentional.”
Talk about ball handling, touch, flow and feel of the game. Why is that so important in today's game?
I’m a very detailed oriented skills coach. I love to analyze the small meticulous things about the game of basketball, dissect moments, work on perfecting those moments within the game, and re-insert them into gameplay!
Generally players come to me to improve their ball handling, touch, and flow in game play off the Screen & Roll. A player's touch and feel for the game creates their flow! A great painter knows his/hers canvas and they are, for the most part, one with their paint brush, allowing them to exude their passion with control.
That’s one of my goals for my clients. You don’t have to be the best ball handler to maximize your control over the ball and game. It’s not about having a thousand moves, it’s about reaching into a full bag and grabbing what you need in that moment, and doing so with control. The game is so unpredictable, but can be easier if you have an abundance of the right tools to work with, and that’s why your touch and feel for basketball is so important!
What advice would you give to the next generation of hoopers to elevate their game during this pandemic?
One piece of advice I can give to my Flow Family is to stay engaged, and to never underestimate the impact of the minute things.
It’s always the small things in life that make the right impact! Though the world is looking at this pandemic as a detriment to society, it doesn’t have to damage your character or approach to your passions in life! Take this time to use what you’ve always had; your brain! Physically, do what you can to keep yourself in good shape, but mentally study your craft in attempts to improve your basketball IQ! Do so with love! BE THE FLOW.