Dave Hopla Gives A Lifetime of Memories For Kids at Hoop Group Skills

It was a great week up in the Poconos as everyone here at camp was graced with the presence of a coach who has worked in the NBA. There was no Phil Jackson, or Doc Rivers, but that was okay as we got somebody who is the absolute best in what he does, Dave Hopla. Coach Hopla has worked with NBA players that include Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Brandon Jennings to name just a select few. He started off this week by getting back to teaching the basics and showing each of the campers the correct way to shoot the basketball at different shooting blocks. The basic fundamentals of shooting the basketball have been lost in many young kids because when they are younger they get by with athletic ability alone. This may work when the kids are younger but by the time they reach the high school level many kids have caught up athletically and players need to be able to shoot the basketball. Each camper was taped shooting the basketball and was evaluated by the coaching staff here in the Poconos. Each camper was able to watch how they shoot the basketball on tape and then was evaluated by a coach pointing out different areas that each camper needed to improve in order to achieve that sweet stroke that Coach Hopla displays during his lectures.

All of the players worked extremely hard for the 5 days they were here and were able to compete against players from all over the east coast. Some players stood out during the week for not only for their shooting ability, but also their overall aggressiveness and ability to defend. One player who out worked everyone at camp and was an All-Star selection was Marcus Lauria from Westchester Pennsylvania. Marcus is going into his senior year and really stood out to the coaches this week because of the shut down defense he displayed and his desire to do anything it takes to get a win. Marcus is a quick athletic guard who can defend, rebound and knock down a jumper as well.

We had players of all ages attend camp this week and while not as developed as some of the older guys, the younger age group also displayed some very talented players in each of their games. One player who stood out for his shooting ability was Jordan Heck. Jordan is a rising 7th grader out of Shamong, New Jersey who can really shoot the basketball. While shooting the basketball is one of the things he does best, he can also take the ball to the basket with both hands and creates for his teammates as well. Jordan is a great kid with a great attitude and the future holds bright for him because of how hard he works.

The last player that really shined and stole the show in the All-Star game was Dontae Christenson. He wowed everyone in attendance with his beautiful no look passes and ability to create scoring opportunities not only for himself, but also for his teammates. Dontae is from the Bronx, New York and is only going into the 9th grade. He played up all week in our NBA division and while his play in the All-Star game garnered him MVP honors, it was not that one game that defined him. Dontae led his team all week with his crafty ability to score in the paint or drop an easy assist to a teammate. This kid is sure to become one to watch because of his will to win in any way possible.

While the week came to a close all players improved throughout the week and were able to really work on their jumper. All campers concluded camp with 1 on 1 time with coach
Hopla where he showed the kids what they were doing wrong, but also pointed out things that they should make sure to not change. The hope is that every camper learned something from camp and can take it to the backyard and continue to work on it every day! The summer is just heating up here in the Poconos as we have several more skills weeks coming up and I hope everyone out there takes full advantage of the opportunity to get better here in the Poconos!

Kevin Boyle and Hoop Group Skills Camp

Another week came and went in Stroudsburg, PA and with it came another skills week in the Poconos. Leading into skills week we had Kevin Boyle point guard camp, where the 3 time national high school coach of the year worked the campers out through intense drills. Coach Boyle has coached highly known players such as Michael Gilchrist, Eric Gordon, Samuel Dalembert and recent number 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, Kyrie Irving. He showed the campers how to read screens, emphasizing on how to split the screen, or when to shoot off the dribble when the defender goes under the screen. The camp had an emphasis on guard play, so every camper was encouraged to handle the ball in game situations whether they were used to it, or not. Coach Boyle’s camp was a great lead in and warm up for some of the campers who stuck it out through our skills week as well.

This week had a special feel to it, as it was the start of our supersession up here in the Poconos. Alot of dedicated campers attend our supersession where they stay for two camps in a row to work on their game. In between the two sessions campers got to attend a water park and go to the movies for a little break. We had kids from not only around the country attend this camp, but kids from Ireland and also Portugal attended the camp. It was great to see kids from other countries here in the Poconos looking to get better and bring what they learned here, back home. The early bird sessions were well attended as campers who want to get some extra work in would wake up and work on their game at 7am, before breakfast was served. Two brothers that were up to attend every session were the Hickey twins from Ireland, Cian and Tadgh. The two twins would wake up before the coaches each morning and warm up by themselves before the early bird session. They arrived here at camp in early July and have not missed an early bird session yet! These guys pushed not only themselves to get better, but everyone else as well.

The ACC consists of our league’s youngest players, but it also includes some future stars in the making. A few of the players that were all-stars and played well in camp include, AJ Simmons, Rohan Tandra, Ryan Sullivan and Kieran Maloney. The one young kid who stood out above all others during the week was Mike Revello. Mike led his Florida State Seminoles team to the championship with his outstanding play. While Mike led his team to the title, another player in this age group that out worked everyone in the league was Jack Koreva. If Jack keeps out working and out hustling players like he did this week, he will be a name to look for in the future.

The SEC league had great competition all week and was competitive all week. Arguably the best shooter in the league was Shane Power as he won the hot shot competition against everyone else in the league. Some others that joined Shane on the all-star squad included Ryan Train, Mike Manley, Angelo Stuart, Pete Galgano, RJ Goodwin and Dorian Hodge. Hodge took home both the free throw and 1on 1 competition championships. MVP honors went to John Palmieri as he showed off his playmaking ability all week long. The star of the all-star game in the SEC was Mike Manley. He had the older players chanting his name for the dazzling moves he showed off and his ability to get to the rim. The younger players really worked hard and showed they deserve to be watched for the upcoming season.

The Big east consisted of many players that either played JV basketball or are going to be playing at that level this year. Many of the kids worked hard because they understood that the jump from freshmen basketball to JV basketball is a big one. Isaiah Wingfield impressed coaches with his ability to score and was honored with an all-star selection. The all-star game was a time for Darren Davy to show off his skills as he ran away with the all-star MVP award. The MVP of the entire league was Rob Raiold. Raiold led his team to the championship by scoring the ball, but also being an unselfish leader. Many of these guys are ready to take their game to the next level.

The NBA had a few guests from outside the country crashing the party as players from Portugal and Ireland looked to test their skills at camp. Seamus Hickey is a rising senior who has made a name for himself at camp for the past month. Hickey has been named to every all-star team at every camp he has attended. He is an athletic wing who loves to out work and out hustle opposing players. He gets to the basket with his athleticism, but has an outside touch as well. His dream is to play basketball at a college here in the United States and any coach that wants him will get a winner. Another player who had a string showing at camp was Cameron Thomas. Thomas is a strong, athletic guard who loves to finish at the rim. His strength allows him to finish plays that most would not be able to. The 1 on 1 champ as well as the league MVP was Shakur Burton. Burton was able to score in bunches around the rim. His superior athleticism and quickness allowed him to blow by defenders like they were standing still. The future is bright for this young man.

We still have skills 3 week coming up next week and we are all very excited to continue the momentum we have going up here in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Hope to see all of you soon, and if you haven’t signed up for a camp yet, why wait!?