Bigger Than Ball Vol. 2: Alex Schachne

 

Alex Schachne plays his travel ball with SBA Elite in New Jersey.

-Thomas Hayden
          Within 30 seconds of beginning our interview with Alex Schachne one thing was unmistakably evident. Alex Schachne will be successful no matter what path he chooses in life.  If I read you a list of Alex’s accomplishments, basketball would only make up a small portion, remarkable considering his standout basketball career thus far.  
          Schachne plays high school ball for Coach Mergin Sina at Gill St. Bernard’s High School. GSB High is a well known for its high academic and athletic expectations. Alex is its starting point guard and the definition of a leader: well spoken, confident, and all about winning.  Schachne lead his team to a 24-4 record on the year and a perfect conference record (11-0).  The Knights finished the season ranked one of the top 10 teams in the state of New Jersey.
          Aside from directing traffic on the court, Schachne is using his public speaking voice to guide his peers to greater success in their own endeavors. He held a Tedx talk in his school’s auditorium titled Unlocking Motivation, Applying 10,000 Hours: A Rational Approach to Success, one of the more popular Tedx videos garnering thousands of views on YouTube.
Alex Schachne stood out in our Bigger Than Ball interview, and we have no doubt he will continue to stand out on and off the court.  Here’s our complete Q & A with Alex. Enjoy!
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     Q: How have you enjoyed your first two days at Hoop Group?
     A: It’s been really good. Definitely have enjoyed all the coaches here I like them a lot.  The drills have been good, great to go up and down.  The great thing about Hoop Group is that you guys do a great job of getting coverage, publicity for everyone.  It’s probably the best i’ve seen. There are probably 20 plus coaches at every game. They invited me and made a point that I got here so I came out, and I’m having a good time.

 

     Q: Who’s your favorite NBA player?
     A: Probably Kyrie Irving, he’s crazy with the finishes and the ball handling.

 

     Q: What colleges are showing interest in you right now?
     A: So my goal is to get into an Ivy League school.  I’ve been hearing a lot from Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Yale just in terms of Ivy League teams.  Other than that I’ve been hearing from some D2’s (Division II), Stonehill, and then a lot of D3’s–Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago…

 

     Q: Would you rather have to  wear the same outfit everyday, or eat the same food everyday for the rest of your life?
     A: Wear the same outfit.  I was thinking about just picking an outfit and just wearing it everyday, as long as I wasn’t going out in public because it reduces the amount of decisions you gotta make so you can focus on more important stuff.

 

     Q: Which NBA player do you think you play like the most?
     A: I would say I probably play like Isiah Thomas, just ‘cause I watch him and how he uses his body in his finishes and how he gets around people.  Obviously for anyone under 6 foot you really try to emulate him.  You know there’s levels and I can see the levels of progression just in how confident I am in doing that stuff.  There are certain times where I feel like, you know, it’s kinda coming.

 

     Q: What do you hope to gain from Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp?
     A: I think I am just trying to kind of polish my game and to get some buzz going into July especially. I want to just keep playing, that way I stay in shape and I’m playing well and I have a lot of confidence  going into July.  Want to really get the ball rolling and pick up some offers and get some options going so I can choose a school.

 

     Q: How have you found a way to have such great success in basketball without being the most athletic or tallest person on the court?
     A: I’ve always been quick, so in terms of athleticism i didn’t quite get the height part, but i got the quickness and explosiveness, and I try to use that as much as I can.  I really feel like i’m at the point to where no one can really stay in front of me if they try to guard me.  As long as I have one maybe two people I feel like I can get by them.  I really work on my handle, my explosiveness with the ball, crafty finishes, maybe a little pull up game, so yeah definitely work on all that stuff.

 

     Q:  If basketball was not an option, what would you want to do for the rest of your life?
     A: So I also played soccer, but non-athletically I do these things called TED Talks.  I did two of them.  I had a Tedx conference at my high school recently.

     Q: What were the talks about?
     A: So my first one I talked about…now this is gonna get kinda deep…my first one I talked about free choice, and the second one I talked about how to succeed in things you set out to do. So, i took pieces from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers.  It’s about putting your 10,000 hours in, so I kind of took that, and combined it with my own experiences.  It’s actually on youtube, you can check it out.

 

     Q: What motivates you strive for greatness in athletics?
     A: Who motivates me?  Anybody I see.  Anyone that’s on the court with me it’s like a challenge.  I want to prove myself every time I am out there on the court

 

     Q: Would you rather be trapped alone on a deserted island with Lavar Ball or Donald Trump?
     A: Lavar Ball.  He’ll probably find someway to make enough noise where we would get rescued.

 

     Q: What’s your favorite Drake quote?
     A: My favorite Drake quote…I mean I like his old album Views.  I like Views a lot.  Actually, I like Headlines by Drake too.

 

     Q: Who do you look up to the most?
     A: My dad.

 

     Q: What’s your mentality on the court?
     A: Never back down from anyone.  Usually in my head I’m thinking I’m better than that person, so it’s all about believing in yourself, keeping your confidence high, and being  in attack mode all the time.

 

     Q: How do you plan on using the game of basketball to reach your goals?
     A: I wanna use basketball to put myself in the best position possible coming out of college.  Going to the best college I can, academically and athletically, and using that to create connections and  network.  I plan on using that to give myself more opportunities, open more doors, and hopefully 5 years from now I’ll be on my way to starting my own business.

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 1: Deandre Thomas

-Thomas Hayden

Being the writer on staff for the HoopGroup camp I’m charged with the precarious task of interviewing the      pre-teens and young adults of grassroots basketball.  Everyone has a story, a background, and it’s my job to get them to tell it to me without using emojis.  Every once in awhile, a kid’s character will stand out among all others.  Deandre Thomas was one of these exceptions.

The first time play I saw Deandre play was during our tryout games during camp.  Tryout games always take place the first day of camp immediately after sign-in.  They’re only timed, and have no scorekeeper.  Deandre was on the bench at the time, and one of his teammates made a good play, not a crazy play, but good, and he got everyone up off the bench to cheer like they had just won a state championship.

Deandre Thomas is clearly a gifted scorer.  He puts pressure on the defense the entire game, and attacks the basket unlike anyone else I have seen at camp. His natural ability makes him stand out. What sets him apart though, is nothing basketball related.  He plays the game with a cheerful enthusiasm and respect that’s contagious for teammates and makes him extremely fun to watch.

Near the end of the interview I found out what shaped him to person he is today.  Both of Deandre’s parents have been officers in the United States Air Force from the time he was born.  Their no nonsense attitude and firm upbringing appeared throughout our talk in the form of “yes-sirs” and “thank yous”.  Here are the top ten responses from our brief Q & A session.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did.

Q: How was your first day at Hoop Group?

A: It was good…got a chance to feel out how the camp will be.

Q: If you had compare your game to one music album, what would it be?

A: Nothing Was The Same-Drake,

Q: If you had to play your favorite player 1v1, you’re wearing flip-flops & they’re wearing roller skates, who wins?

A: Me, he’s wearing rollerskates cannot guard me.  I’d be scared he might roll over my toe though.

Q: You’re making a 3 on 3 basketball team using only super heroes or cartoon characters, who do you take?

A: Superman, Hulk, Green Lantern.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for in recruiting?

                     “If someone wants me. I’m not worried about name. I want to go to a school that I would choose even if I was not playing basketball.”

 

           Q: How many 5 year olds could you fight before you lost?

           A: I’d never fight a five year old…but if I had to 1000.  The first 200 i’m knocking out one punch.

           Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life thus far?

           A: My dad for sure.  He came from nothing. Grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  We started off in a one bedroom apartment now we have a five bedroom house.

           Q: What is your dream college?

           A: Syracuse.  I like Jim Boeheim, but he probably won’t be coaching by the time it’s time for me to play.

           Q: What do you hope to gain from Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp?

            A: I want to learn different ways I can come off ball screens.  I want to get better at making the right reads so I can make plays for others.

           Q: What motivates you strive for greatness in athletics?

           A: My Grandmother.  She wants to go to Hawaii before she passes and I’m going to get her there.