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!

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