Basketball Life Lessons Learned in College Basketball


Basketball Life Lessons

My name is Joe McCloskey and I play college basketball at the University of Maine at Fort Kent which plays in the USCAA Athletic Association.  I was honored with All American status this year and have learned some basketball life lessons along the way.  By no means do I think I have life “all figured out,” but these are some lessons worthy of sharing.

Basketball is my favorite sport for so many reasons, but I’d have to say the main reason is that it requires you to combine physical skill with mental prowess in order to fully succeed as a player. When you do this, it directly translates to you as a person, it goes so much deeper than you just dribbling a ball on the court, it shapes who you are in such a positive way. Here are my top 4 life lessons basketball can teach.

The importance of mental and physical preparation

Its impossible to master the sport without having a strong body and a strong mind. Basketball is such a long season, in order to make it you must have a body fully ready to take a beating. The best thing you can do for yourself is be in constant contact with your athletic trainer and complete the recommended training regiments. Doing this will ensure you are able to make it through such a long season. Healthy body equals healthy mind. Such a long season certainly has plenty of ups and downs that can be tough on the mind, but recognizing these issues are only temporary and being able to stay focused and true to the grind is such an important skill to have. Players must adopt an optimistic and winning mindset to achieve greatness. These two traits must go together you cannot have one without the other. The life lesson this offer is that you have to have a healthy mind and body to live the life you want to live, so even off the court, these two traits go hand in hand.

Avoid Selfish Behavior / Be a Team Player

Basketball is a team sport, meaning that no one member can win the game by themselves. It’s a collaborative effort; if you are not willing to put your own personal goals and wants behind the overall success of the team, then you are not meant to be a basketball player. You must be willing to accept your role, whatever the coach asks of you, and whatever the team needs you to do, you don’t ask questions you just do it and do it well. In the end, winning is the only thing that matters, everyone must adopts a mindset that the team victory is more important that individual stats any day of the week. While my individual stats were solid enough to earn All American status, that award is the result of a team effort.  My coach who drew up the offense, my teammates that put their stats on the back burner to get me the ball in the post with a great post entry pass, etc., all are partly responsible for me winning this award. The lesson that this teaches off the court is that its important to remain humble and give back to the people who helped you get to where you are at.

The Ability to React to Adversity

Let downs are inevitable, but when something isn’t going your way, evaluate it, understand it, and then find out how you can make it work for you. Game plans don’t always play out the way we envision them, that’s where we find it in ourselves to make the proper adjustments and continue to strive for victory, never lay down and die when life gets hard, push through and persevere. The way this translates to life is that life presents many challenges and its imperative that we push through and adjust our game plan to make it work for us.

Understanding the Fundamentals

A firm understanding of the fundamentals of basketball is a prerequisite of being a basketball player. Without understanding the rules, the do’s and dont’s and in’s and out’s of basketball you cannot possibly be successful. How to pass, dribble, and shoot, the right way is a great start in becoming a skilled player.

The way this translates off the court is that you must have a good grip on what it means to be a good person, what it takes to succeed, and the steps you want to take to achieve your own personal goals. Life is not always about shotcuts, hacks, or “work smarter, not harder.”  Understanding the fundamentals of life can guarantee success if coupled with hard work and determination.  Let’s get to work this off season!

Joe McCloskey is a guest contributor offering us insight into the highly competitive world of small college basketball. Joe was a USCAA All American this year at the University of Maine at Fort Kent averaging 19.7 points and 8.6 rebounds while also having a great comeback year in the classroom.

Joe McCloskey





March Madness Picks by Basketball Trainer Rich Stoner

Basketball Trainer Shares March Madness Picks

Can An Expert Basketball Trainer Nail

March Madness Picks?

It’s that time again, March Madness is here and so are office pools and bracket wagers.  With Kentucky being the best college basketball team in recent memory, maybe even the best ever, it is hard to bet against them.  However, beyond that, there does not seem to be any other dominant team in the tournament and anyone has the potential to win any given game.  That alone should make this a really competitive NCAA tournament and one worth watching.  So with potentially the most exciting tournament only days away, I will once again give you my picks that are sure to go wrong.

Let’s start in the Midwest with the presumed to be eventual champion Kentucky. I see no reason not to put them straight through to the Final Four here but here’s how the rest of this should pan out. Cincinnati/Purdue is a toss up and should be a tight one but I’m taking Cincinnati simply because I’m not sold on the Big Ten this season. WVU vs. Buffalo is Bobby’s Hurley’s triumphant return to the NCAA tournament and his Buffalo team will not disappoint.  Take them in the the first 12-5 upset of the tourney, yes there’s two.  In Maryland vs. Valpo there is no Bryce Drew to hit a miraculous shot here.  Maryland wins and will then end Buffalo’s short run before losing to Kentucky who makes easy work of the terps.

In the bottom half of the bracket it’s Notre Dame’s half to lose as they are the class of these teams. Texas will give them a run for their money in the second round but the Irish shoot the ball way too well to lose to an athletic albeit, not a great scoring Texas team.

Take Wichita State in the first round and then again in the second round over the oddly surprising two seed, Kansas.  Wichita has been wanting to play the Jayhawks for years and this time they get their wish and pull out the victory riding the backs of their tremendous backcourt of Van Vleet and Baker.

The Shockers cannot get past ACC tournament champs Notre Dame though who was on a collision course with Kentucky from the time these brackets were announced.  Could the Irish give them trouble?  Yes, because Kentucky will be forced to guard the guard dominant Irish on the perimeter but in the end Kentucky’s ability to rebound is too much and the Wildcats will make the Final Four

The West looks like a repeat of last year’s bracket that saw Wisconsin advancing to the Final Four after beating Baylor, Oregon, and Arizona.  Guess what, all three of those teams could stand in their way of a colossal matchup with Kentucky in this year’s Final Four.

Take Wisconsin in the first round with an easy win to set up a repeat with the Ducks of Oregon who dispatch of Oklahoma St in their first round game.  Oregon will need all the new Nike’s they can get to deal with Wisconsin who is just too good for the Ducks and advances to the Sweet Sixteen.

I don’t usually do this, but I am picking two 12 seeds this year.  Wofford is no joke and although I love the 40 minutes of Hell game plan that Arkansas applies I am not impressed with their ability to score.  Furthermore, I just do not see Arkansas getting past my Tarheels in the second round so this is the spot to pick an upset.  I have to say that I was amused when they put former Dukie, Tommy Amaker, and the Harvard Crimson against the Heels (and the selection committee claims to not like story lines), but in no way is a victory over Harvard a replacement for losing to Duke this season.  Nonetheless, Carolina will make easy work of Wofford and will advance to play Wisconsin in the Sweet Sixteen.  This sets up the most intriguing game of the tournament to this point.  UNC is as good as anyone in the field but they are also as bad as anyone in the field and then some.  their size and athleticism could give Wisconsin trouble and if there is a spot early on where a one seed could lose, this is it.  However, I have to pick against my Tarheels (with tears in my eyes) and move the Badgers along to the Elite Eight.

The bottom half of this bracket seems kind of chalky to me.  Nothing here stands out as a potential upset except for maybe Ole Miss over Xavier.  Beyond that, take Baylor and put them in the Sweet Sixteen over Ole Miss.  VCU is maddening to play against with their Havoc style and will have a really interesting second round game against Arizona.  If VCU is shooting the three well that day they could be trouble for Arizona, but in the end, I doubt that will happen and Arizona will defeat VCU and Baylor to set up a rematch of last year’s Elite Eight with Wisconsin.  This year will different though.  Arizona is playing their best basketball of the year and although Wisconsin is really very good I see the tables being turned and Arizona advancing to the Final Four.

If you are going to make some moves, the East is the bracket to do it in. Villanova is good and shoots the ball well but is kind of an under the radar number one seed.  There has got to be a reason for that.  Nonetheless, they will advance to the Sweet Sixteen with wins over Lafayette and NC State who dispatches of LSU in the first round.  Northern Iowa easily moves past Wyoming in this 5 -12 matchup and will play Louisville in a very exciting second round game.  This one is a little reminiscent of last year’s Wichita St. Kentucky game with the highly touted little guy and the perennial power facing off, but this year will be different.  Northern Iowa is really good and Louisville has not been the same team this last month and a half as they were early on so take UNI in the upset.  This is where is gets interesting.  Will Northern Iowa have enough firepower to defeat the Wildcats of Villanova.  If ever there was a spot to pick a huge upset, this is the place and I am going to.  UNI advances to the Elite Eight in another epic battle.  The bottom half of this bracket is all chalk to the second round where Providence will upset Oklahoma to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.  This Michigan St Virginia game should be another fantastic game to watch if you are into a ton of defense and rebounding.  Tom Izzo, seems to know how to coach this time of year but Virginia’s defense is as good as anyone’s in the country and that will be the difference here as they advance to the Sweet Sixteen and dispatch of Providence rather easily.  This sets up a Northern Iowa vs Virginia Elite Eight match.  Not exactly a game that wreaks of tradition but should be an interesting one.  I like Virginia in this.  As mentioned, their defense is the best I’ve seen and at this point in the tournament, Justin Anderson should be back in form to help the Cavaliers move on.

In the South it looks like once again Duke will have a cakewalk to the Final Four because the “we don’t set up storylines” committee wants that Duke vs. Kentucky Final so they have pitted them against what I believe is the weakest half of a bracket out there.  They will face San Diego St. in the second round who dispatches of St. Johns in the first round after the St. John’s center decided it was more important to smoke a joint than play in an NCAA tournament game (he must be taking advice from Oregon wide receivers). Without him they will be no match for the Aztecs size.  However, size will not be enough against Duke and they will need to score which SDSU does not do well.  Put Duke in the Sweet Sixteen with ease.  Stephen F. Austin makes quick work of Utah who was so much better early on in the season then takes care of Georgetown who is arguably the worst four seed this year.  However, Cinderella Stepehn F. Austin’s  run comes to an end against Duke who will advance to the Elite Eight.  In the other half of this bracket SMU wins over UCLA who is mediocre at best and will face a very tough Iowa St. team in the second round.  Larry Brown is one of the best but I just think the cyclones are too good for his bunch and move on to face Gonzaga who makes easy work of North Dakota St. (who knew they even played basketball there) and then Iowa.  This Gonzaga Iowa St game should be another one of the games of the tournament and I would really like to see the Zags do something big for the first time since they were the little guy…and I think they will.  Put them through to face Duke.  I will begrudgingly put Duke through to the Final Four but I would not be surprised if Gonzaga wins this game.  This is the best Gonzaga team that I have seen and one of these year’s has to be the one for them.  Nonetheless, I’ll keep the committee’s hopes alive and set up a rematch from the regular season of Virginia vs. Duke in the Final Four.

So it’s set, Arizona vs. Kentucky and Virginia vs. Duke.  If this happens this would be a tremendous Final Four.  Arizona has the ability to beat Kentucky since they are athletic enough and rebound well enough and maybe they will.  I mean there has to be a reason that only one undefeated team has ever won the championship before, right? Not this time though, Kentucky is just too good and will advance to face Duke in the Finals who narrowly escapes Virginia’s defensive efforts but lack of offensive firepower.  So the committee will get their dream final of blue bloods and it should be a good one, but I’m not sure Duke is one of the teams that can beat Kentucky.  Their depth is nonexistent and really they only have two great players whereas Kentucky has about nine.  In the end, there was never a doubt.  The Wildcats win another title and stake their claim as the best college basketball team ever.

Five Basketball Nutrition Habits of Champions

Basketball Nutrition

March is Nation Nutrition month and with that in mind, I thought it necessary to provide my Elite Basketball Training family with some valuable information on the Basketball Nutrition Habits of Champions.  As a long time advocate and practitioner of healthy, clean eating and someone who is currently working towards his nutrition certification, I can personally vouch for the positive results that proper nutrition has on your overall health and your performance on the basketball court.  Food is fuel for your body and just like a car, your body needs premium fuel.  Put low grade gas in your high end car and your driving experience will suffer.  Make poor food choices and or don’t eat and your game play will suffer as a result.  With that in mind, here the Five Nutrition Habits of Champions that will help you to stay energized during exercise, enhance recovery between workouts, and maintain a healthy body composition. 

 Basketball Nutrition Habits of Champions

1) Hydrate

2) Refuel

3) Eat at Regular Intervals

4) Choose a Varied and Balanced Diet

5) Meet Your Energy Needs


Daily Basketball Nutrition Checklist

Complete this checklist daily to ensure you are achieving

optimal nutrition

_______ I ate breakfast

_______ I ate 3 balanced meals

_______ I ate 2-3 nutritious snacks

_______ I ate 2-3 pieces of fruit

_______ I ate 3-5 servings of vegetables

_______ I ate 3-4 servings of low-fat dairy products

_______ I ate a lean source of protein in each meal

_______ I ate a source of carbohydrates in meals and snacks

_______ I selected foods moderate or low in fat

_______ I drank water regularly throughout the day

_______ I drank Rehydrate during intense conditioning

_______ I refueled within 60 minutes following workouts

_______ I took a multivitamin


5 Nutrition Habits of Champions In Greater Detail

1) HYDRATE (Advocare Rehydrate)


  • Raises your body temperature
  • Makes you work harder at lower exercise intensities
  • Causes headache, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Leads to muscle cramping

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink at least 1 cup of water every hour

TIP: Carry a water bottle around with you for a reminder

  • Drink 1-2 cups of Rehydrate about 15 minutes before exercise
  • Drink 1-2 cups of fluid every half hour during exercise

TIP: Select Rehydrate over water if you are a salty sweater or exercising for longer than an


  • Drink 3 cups of Rehydrate after exercise

TIP : Add 2 more cups of water or Rehydrate for each pound lost during exercise

Monitor Hydration

Urine color – Clear to pale yellow color and frequent need to urinate signals adequate

hydration. Infrequent, dark urine reflects your body begging you to drink.

Weight loss – Weighing yourself before and after practice allows you to estimate fluids lost in

sweat. Replace each pound with 2 cups of fluid.




1) To replace carbohydrates used for energy and build stores for the next workout

2) To provide protein for aid in muscle repair and to prevent muscle breakdown

3) To take the first step in recovery for your next workout


The critical time to refuel is within the first 30 minutes after exercise, when your body is

able to maximize absorption of carbohydrates and protein.


Water : at least 3 cups of fluid plus an additional 2 cups for each pound of weight loss

Carbohydrates : 50-100 grams

Protein : 15-25 grams

Recommended Food Combinations

  • Post Workout Recovery and Rehydrate
  • 2 cups of low-fat chocolate milk and a banana
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and 2 cups of Rehydrate
  • Bagel and part-skim mozzarella string cheese
  • 8 oz. of low-fat yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup granola cereal
  • 2 cups of cereal with skim or 1% milk




1) To maintain blood sugar levels for constant energy throughout the day

2) To minimize overwhelming hunger that leads to overeating late at night

3) To encourage protein synthesis instead of fat storage


Aim for 3-4 balanced meals daily

  • Begin your day with a meal, even if it is not a traditional breakfast
  • Regardless of your work or class schedule, make sure to include a lunch

– This may require packing food ahead of time

  • Prepare or purchase a dinner that is about the same size as breakfast and lunch
  • For weight gain, eating a fourth meal will help you to consume more calories
  • Starving all day and binging at night will sabotage both weight loss and weight gain efforts

– Aim for 2-4 snacks daily

  • Including a small snack in between meals will control your hunger
  • Adding large snacks will help increase calories needed for weight gain
  • Eating a high-carbohydrate snack pre-workout will provide quick energy
  • Refueling after exercise is an essential snack for all athletes



Follow these three steps to ensure you reach nutrient recommendations.

Step 1: Eat antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables


1) Aim for 2-3 pieces of fruit per day

2) Aim for 3-5 servings of vegetables per day

– 1 serving is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked veggies


  • fresh fruit, frozen fruit, canned fruit in water or juice, 100% fruit juice, dried fruit
  • fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, canned vegetables, 100% vegetable juice

Step 2: Eat energy-supplying carbohydrates


1) At least half of your calories should come from carbohydrates

2) Include a source of carbohydrates in every meal and snack


  • whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, rice, oats
  • starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, corn
  • limit empty calories such as soda, sweet tea, candy, and sugary desserts

Step 3: Eat muscle-building, lean protein sources


1) Up to 1/4 of your calories may come from protein

2) Include a source of lean protein in every meal


  • chicken breast, sirloin steak, lean ground beef, fish, egg whites, beans
  • low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and 2% cheese



Match your food intake to your body composition goals.

  • Increase total calories to gain lean muscle mass
  • Decrease total calories to shed excess body fat
  • Maintain total calories to avoid weight gain or loss


Sample Meal Plans Focused on Basketball Nutrition

Six sample meal plans have been provided at varying energy levels to guide your food choices.

If no beverage is listed with food items, select water, crystal light, or unsweetened iced tea.

If you fail to reach all of your vitamin and mineral requirements on a daily

basis, it is also recommended that you take a general multivitamin.



Breakfast: 2 cups of Cheerios with 1 cup of skim milk

1 medium banana

Morning Snack: 12 baby carrots

Lunch: 3 slices of turkey breast on 2 slices of whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, 1slice of Swiss cheese

and 1 Tbsp of mayonnaise

1 medium apple

Afternoon Snack: Peanut butter granola bar

Dinner: Salad containing 1 cup spinach, 3 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup canned

mandarin oranges, mushroom, and onion topped with 1/2 oz. dried walnuts and 1 Tbsp red wine vinaigrette

1 cup skim milk

Evening Snack: 6 oz. low-fat yogurt

During Practice: Approximately 3 cups of Rehydrate



Breakfast: 2 packets instant oatmeal mixed with 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 cup strawberries

Morning Snack: 1/4 cup of dry roasted almonds

Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich on 2 slices rye bread made with 3 oz. tuna, 2 tsp mayonnaise, celery, lettuce, and

topped with tomato slices

1 medium pear

16 wheat thin crackers dipped in 1 Tbsp hummus

Afternoon Snack: 1/4 cup of granola cereal mixed in 6 oz. low-fat yogurt

Dinner: 3 oz. grilled or roasted chicken breast

1 large baked sweet potato topped with 2 tsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp margarine

1 whole wheat dinner roll

2 cups salad with mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds, and 1 Tbsp red wine vinaigrette dressing

Evening Snack: 3 cups of reduced-fat popcorn

2 pieces part-skim mozzarella string cheese

During Practice: Approximately 4 cups of Rehydrate



Breakfast: 4 frozen multigrain waffles topped with 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1 Tbsp of margarine, and 2 Tbsp of

maple syrup

Morning Snack: 1 medium banana covered with 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter

Lunch: 6” steak sub on wheat bread with 3 oz. grilled sirloin, 1 slice part-skim mozzarella cheese, onion, and

green pepper

1 cup skim milk

Afternoon Snack: 8 triscuit crackers dipped in 3 Tbsp of hummus

Dinner: 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce containing grilled chicken breast, tomatoes, and


1 whole wheat dinner roll with 1 tsp margarine spread

1 cup skim milk

Evening Snack: 1 Oats ‘N Honey granola bar

During Practice: Approximately 4 cups of Rehydrate



Breakfast: Egg sandwich with 1 scrambled egg and 1 slice of 2% cheddar cheese on a whole wheat English


1 cup of 1% milk

1 grapefruit with 1 Tbsp sugar

Morning Snack: 1 cup of grapes

6 oz. of low-fat yogurt with 1/4 cup granola cereal

Lunch: Chicken Caesar pita with 1/2 grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber,

2 Tbsp Caesar salad dressing, and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

1 medium orange

1/2 cup goldfish crackers

Afternoon Snack: 1 cup applesauce

1/4 cup dry roasted almonds

Dinner: Stir-fry with 5 oz. sirloin steak, 1 cup brown rice, and sauteed green pepper, onion, sugar snap peas,

and broccoli

Evening Snack: 1 large baked tortilla dipped in 1 cup thick-and-chunky salsa

1 cup of 1% milk

During Practice: Approximately 5 cups of Rehydrate



Breakfast: 1 cup of granola cereal mixed with 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of 2% milk

1 cup of 100% orange juice

Morning Snack: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on 2 slices of whole wheat bread

Lunch: 1 baked chicken breast with 2 cups of rice

1/2 cup of peas and 1/2 cup of corn

1 cup of 2% milk

Afternoon Snack: 12 baby carrots dipped in low-fat ranch dressing

1 small bowl of pretzels

Dinner: 3 beef soft tacos topped with shredded cheese, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, and thick and chunky salsa

Evening Snack: 1 medium apple dipped in 6 oz. of low-fat yogurt

During Practice: Approximately 6 cups of Rehydrate



Breakfast: 3 large scrambled eggs

2 slices whole wheat toast topped with 2 tsp margarine and 2 Tbsp jelly

1 cup of 100% apple juice

Morning Snack: 1 medium orange

1 whole wheat bagel topped with 2 Tbsp of natural peanut butter

Lunch: 1 chicken breast with 1 cup of macaroni and cheese

1 cup mixed vegetables

1 cup of 100% grape juice

Afternoon Snack: 1 muscle milk

1 medium apple

Dinner: 6 oz. sirloin steak

2 cups black beans and rice

2 cups mixed salad greens and vegetables with Italian dressing

1 cup of 100% orange juice

Evening Snack: 2 cups of 2% chocolate milk

1/2 cup dry roasted almonds

During Practice: Approximately 6 cups of Rehydrate

When planning your own meals for home or eating out, think about dividing

your plate into thirds: cover 1/3 with fruits or vegetables, 1/3 with highfiber

starches, and 1/3 with lean protein.


The Perfect Plate:

fruits & veggies


lean protein


We hope we have shared a solid resource her for your basketball nutrition needs and hope you will add your comments and questions below.  We have included some links to our Advocare store page to introduce you to the products we use and that are NCAA approved for rehydration and some other needs.  We do get paid an affiliate commission on some of those products should you choose to purchase one.

Do you know a basketball player with ambitious goals?   Introduce them to this important piece of the basketball development puzzle by sharing this article with them or on social media.  To download a pdf version of the basketball nutrition checklist go to: Basketball Nutrition Checklist Download.

Please sign up for our email list at the top of this page to receive more up to date basketball resources.

High School Basketball State Tournament Fans

High School State Basketball Tournament


         High School Basketball Tournament Fans

Late February and early March is when high school basketball starts coming to a close, leaving room for basketball fans to be able to solely focus on the big guys in college for March Madness and the even bigger guys in the NBA. However, the end of the high school hoops season is a thrilling time. Simply put: Tourney Time. Tourney Time is when teams from each state try and make a run at the state championship.

Tournaments Excite Us

Tourney Time is so exciting for multiple reasons. For one, it gives small towns a chance to compete with big cities. It also gives high school players who might not have a chance to play at the next level a chance to make some lasting memories. And for the fans, there is something special about a high school game atmosphere.

Most basketball fans are familiar with the movie Hoosiers, the story of a small town high school who slays the giants over and over again to win the Indiana state basketball championship even when no one gave them a chance. Every small town high school team wishes they could have a similar story. It doesn’t matter what state, there is always a David who wants to take down Goliath and bring pride to their school and town. What’s great about these small towns who have the ability to go on a run is that the entire town rallies around the team. It is a special sight to see a community support a team and have them fight so hard and scrap to win ball games. Seeing young men and women play for the name on the front of the jersey instead of the back is inspiring. Also, when they play for that name on the front they represent for everyone. They represent the school, the alumni, the townspeople. It is truly heartwarming.


State Tournaments: The Last Hurrah For Many Players

The next best thing about Tourney Time is the players. The overwhelming majority of high school players will not play college basketball, forget about the NBA. Playing in the post season offers kids a chance to make special memories that will last a lifetime. Most kids, by time they are a Senior, realize that this is the last hoorah. As a result, they play hard. They give it everything. They know that this is their last go around and they play the game like it is their last, because it literally is. When players dive for loose balls, go after every rebound, and dig in defensively, that is a sight to see. Their passion for the game oozing out of them with every bead of sweat. To create a lasting memory like winning a state or conference championship is something nobody can ever take away from you. You become a sense of pride for the school. People will potentially talk about you and the team you were on for the rest of your life and past it. Playing basketball is like a puff of smoke, once it’s gone, it’s gone. You have to enjoy it and revel in it while you can. Take full advantage. When post season play rolls around that idea usually clicks for some reason. Teams want to reach their peaks and players want to step their game up to another level in order to do what it takes to win. Therefore, as previously stated, everyone is playing hard. But it is the right combination of heart, skill and even a little bit of luck that can turn just another team, or just another player, into a name that no one will ever forget.


The Crazy High School Atmosphere

Finally, probably the best part about Tourney Time is the atmosphere of the games. Nothing quite like a heated high school basketball team between two rivals in a big game. Something about the youthfulness of everyone involved creates a fun time. The pep bands mixed with the cheerleaders and the passionate student body holding it down in the bleachers. Whether it is the San Francisco, California city championship at Kezar Pavilion or the Maine Class C State Championship at the Bangor Auditorium, or our New Jersey State Basketball tournament it doesn’t matter. The setting will be electric. Fans generally come out of the woodwork for these games. Alumni, and faculty who rarely attend show up to show their support. The students in the student section who make up chants for specific players or not as nice ones for opponents is always entertaining to listen to. And by golly if a Freshman starts balling out. The students will not so subtly remind everyone that that player is in 9th grade. “He’s a Freshman! *clap clap clap-clap-clap*” The heat of the building is uncomfortable but no one ever seems to mind. No one goes out for fresh air for fear of missing something.

On top of that, there are usually way more people than should be allowed in the gym which gives the fire marshall a headache but adds to the lore of the environment. No elaborate halftime show is needed, no blaring Hip-Hop music being played in the middle of the action, no promotional give aways, no people dunking off of trampolines during time outs. None of that stuff is needed. The emotion of the game is more than enough to keep people in their seats. Young people giving it 100% to have one shot at Glory is a phenomenal thing. Tourney Time is special. The innocence makes it that much more enticing to be a part of. High School Tourney Time happens once a year, and each year is unique in its own way, but regardless, it is a time of year people should look forward to and never forget how rare and beautiful that time can be. How precious that slice of life can be.



































Pickup Basketball: The Top 4 Benefits

Pickup Basketball Benefits

Pickup Basketball & Benefits Need To Make A Comeback

Pickup hoops, what happened to it? The days of getting together at the local park to “run” are fading fast. These days, with constant AAU tournaments and the fear of injury and overuse, no one makes time to play pick up anymore. Most of the weekend warriors these days are those of the older generation, guys and gals who are still trying to stay in shape and trying to hold on to the glory days of their basketball past. More power to them in my opinion. As far as the youth of America playing pick up? Almost nonexistent. Pick-up basketball was at one point in time, the heartbeat of the game. It desperately needs to make a comeback.

Pickup Basketball Can Aid  Player Development

Pick Up basketball is necessary for a player’s development. Physically and mentally. Physically, a player needs to know where they stack up with their peers and with players who are older, stronger and better than them. The playground or local rec center is the best place to be able to do this. Also, when a serious player spends a lot of time working out in the weight room, putting up shots or working on their skills; a pick-up game is a safe place to strut their new stuff. The playground is the perfect place to show off what you’ve been working on. Because who cares if you mess up a little bit? There’s no coach to yank you for screwing up or anything like that. It’s just you and a bunch of other hoopers doing their thing.

Pick Up Basketball Aids Conditioning

Also, pick-up is a nice way to stay in shape. Whether it’s during the season or not, whenever you can get a bit of a sweat in and run up and down a bit it is an excellent source of exercise. Read what a Denver cardiologist has to say about the benefit of pickup basketball on your heart.  So far as the mental aspect of the game, pick-up basketball has a lot to offer. A pick-up game is a place where a player can easily build confidence. There’s generally not a ton of defense being played so scoring is easy. And nothing builds a players confidence more than seeing that ball go through the hoop. It doesn’t matter who it is against either. Many players report first testing gains in our basketball speed and agility program on the pickup basketball courts.  Plus, like I stated before, young players often get the chance to go against older guys and success there can go a long way for a player’s development.  Conversely, these older guys have the craftiness and tricks that many young players can learn from.

Pickup Basketball Impacted NBA Players And Has History

Whenever you watch some old video of an NBA legend talking about how they fell in love with the game, most of the time they owe it to pick-up basketball. Especially those who grew up in an urban community. Pick-up basketball is a place where a young player can play without the pressure of a coach or a referee and just go out there and hoop.

NYC pickup basketball has been called the essence of basketball by many NBA players and historians.  Check out the trailer for the acclaimed movie “Doin It In The Park.”

Pick-up basketball is a form of basketball all its own. It’s simple and free flowing. It’s where a player can make their name and gain confidence. It’s where a younger player can go up against the older guys and gain some respect. Most importantly, it’s where everyone gets their start.

Pick Up Basketball Increases The Fun Factor

Pick Up basketball is a place where the game remains innocent. A blacktop court is a holy place. There is something magical about a game of pick-up. Or an entire day of pick-up for that matter. To just go out there with a couple of buddies and compete for bragging rights is so much fun. It doesn’t even have to be 5 on 5. It can be 4 on 4 or all the way down to 1 on 1. It can be a game of hunch or a game of 21. It can even be a game of HORSE. It doesn’t make a difference. Pick-up basketball is fun. And it will always remain good fun.

Sure pickup basketball has it’s problems and characters, but we think there are real life lessons that can be learned in dealing with some of them without having refs around to “settle” everything.  This massively popular video examines some of the pickup character stereotypes we all can relate to.

Try to work hard and implement new skills while playing pickup basketball.  Try not to take some of the buffoon characters as outlined above too seriously.

These days the organized game is a lot about money, and politics, and pressure on kids to perform. The good thing about pick-up is that none of those things matter. The only thing that matters on the hoop court that particular day is whether or not you got game.  Remember to try and introduce your new skills on the pickup court, then practice, and then into your game.  If you can’t find a pickup game, you might want to check out  It is a website and app that helps you find pickup games in your area.

New Jersey Pickup Basketball – We Hope You Find Your Way Back Into The Hearts of Players!