Summer Hoops has helped millions of young people across the country fulfill their dreams of playing college basketball. Beyond the many stories of a player bursting on the scene as a national talent, there are the millions of untold stories about how lives have been changed, and even saved, by the opportunities provided through grassroots basketball. For some, it was the opportunity to travel out of the inner-city for the first time exposing them to the endless possibilities that lie in front of them. For others, it was being “discovered” at a summer event that led to a life changing college basketball scholarship or recruitment that helped them gain admission into an elite academic institution. Whatever the story, the experiences and memories with their coaches and teams are almost always some of the most memorable and lasting of their young lives.
America is the land of opportunity! Don’t let the NCAA take these important opportunities away from you. Save Summer Hoops!
As someone who did not play College Basketball it was very difficult for me to realize my dream and break into College coaching. I was able to do this through the networking opportunities that summer camps and tournaments provided. I was always struck by the kindness of older coaches who had come up through that circuit and how much basketball I was able to learn in a few short weeks of summer camp simply by listening to the older more experienced coaches. It's great for the players to be able to showcase and improve themselves in the summer but it's equally great for young coaches who want to learn to teach the game well! Working camps like Eastern Invitational (now Hoop Group Elite) and others in the summer always made me a better coach.
My son plays for a very small high school. We have about 200 kids for 9-12 grades. It is very hard to get seen by college coaches. It was the end of his sophomore year and still had not had any college coaches contact him with letters about playing for their school. We were told by his new high school coach to attend some summer camps like HoopGroup. We sent out some emails to college coaches to let them know that my son would be attending this camp on these dates. Well, with in two to three weeks after the camps my son was getting hand written letters, and when they could they called him. I feel that with out the ability for the college coach to see my son play at these camps he would not have been recruited to play basketball in college.
My name is Steve Spinella, and I don’t know where I would be without Summer Hoops. I am currently a sophomore on the University of South Carolina’s Men’s Basketball team, and I am from Colts Neck, NJ. Going into my Senior year of high school at Colts Neck HS I did not have any interest from any college at all levels. My team had a good year, and I really felt like my game was coming along. So much so that I had started seriously thinking and considering about trying to play in college, and doing a post grad year was my best option to get my game right. I started working with a trainer daily to improve my skills and game so I could succeed at a highly competitive level of AAU ball. Being from a smaller town with very little basketball tradition, getting college coaches attention would be strictly from my play in AAU.
That summer I played for the New Jersey ShoreShots, and we had a very good team. I had never played with so many good players before, and early on I struggled because I wasn’t used to that level of play. Once I got comfortable with playing at that speed and competition level on a consistent basis I saw my recruitment take off. Schools from the Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, MAAC, America East and NEC all started contacting my coaches after my play in Spring AAU Events.
I went from being an unknown to all, to a hot commodity in the July Live Period for any college program that needed a shooter. That July my Shoreshots team was very successful, we won an event in West Virginia. I played so well in WV, my teammates and I were all on the same page and it was my best basketball experience of my career.
Without the opportunity of playing AAU that summer before prep school, I wouldn’t have gotten the exposure I received and would most likely not even be playing college basketball. Everyday that I truly enjoy here at South Carolina, I think about how none of this would be possible with AAU basketball.
Summer Hoops has had a major impact in my life. It has created a platform to showcase my abilities in hopes to build my future career in basketball. Summer Hoops prohibited me from being a static product of my environment by channeling as well as cultivating my skills into a positive direction. Summer hoops not only built platforms for my future in basketball, but also built life long friendships along the way. This organization has also taught me structure, discipline and balance on and off the court. I have to admit some of the best memories I have is traveling with my teammates all over the country competing against the best of best. I remember meeting and shaking the hands of pro-athletes and dreaming one day I would be where they were. In order to participate and be apart of Summer Hoops I needed to have good grades which encouraged me to do well on and off the court. This intern created a balance that would prepare me for the future academically as I pursued higher education. I am one of five siblings raised by a single parent so learning these key elements were crucial in pursuit of higher education. My mother would not have been able to pay my way through college so I knew I had to create a plan and stick to it. Implementing these skills and life values I received various full ride scholarships offers from some of the top universities in the country. I received a scholarship from Rutgers University. What a great feeling that was not only for myself but for my family as well. I took that opportunity and ran with it. I’m a proud alumni of Rutgers University.
Over the past five years, I have played ten seasons for the Middlesex Magic, every fall and spring season during the time period. My first 3 seasons as a player helped develop skill, poise, confidence, and toughness that have continued to allow me to play at a high level and play in my best games at nationals. This summer was my fifth and last nationals and by far my most memorable. I have always liked my teammates but I always considered nothing more than friends who happened to play basketball together. Now, after a week and a half of living together and feeding off one another, my teammates feel more and more like family. I will never forget the success that was achieved both on and off the court by this team and will always love my teammates and my coaches because of what we shared. Our 5-2 record at nationals and 3-2 record at the showcase confirmed the fact that a team from Massachusetts could, in fact, play with the best teams in the country because of faith in one another and the greatest chemistry of any team I have ever been a part of.
Michael Crotty Sr., the founder of the Middlesex Magic was my coach and mentor for five years before he tragically died in February. I was devastated when I learned of his death because of how much he meant to me and everyone he touched, especially his family. He was so excited for this spring's 17U Middlesex Magic team because of its talent and chemistry, which primed to make our team the best in the program's history. After his death, the 17U team made a pact to play with the passion and toughness the Coach Crotty always coached with and dedicated this season to him. With the help of his son, Michael Crotty Jr., our coach, we were able to achieve what we sought for: recognition and success at Division 1 Nationals.
After our final game, a tough 7 point loss to the Buckeye Ballers, Michael Crotty Jr. huddled us together and told us he could not be more proud of us. I knew at that moment that the season we had just dedicated to his father had turned out better than any of us could imagine thanks to trust and chemistry. As the team broke the huddle, I went to hug my teammates before the "season" had fully ended and upon getting to Mike, we both broke into tears, realizing that his coaching and the playing of our team would not have made his father any happier. As the longest tenured player on the team, I can tell you my tears were also of sadness, knowing that I had just played my final nationals game ever. If you want to find a program to send your child, choose the Middlesex Magic because you will learn about basketball, get better, have fun, but most importantly, you will be part of a program that is a family and will help you make friends for life.