Elite Basketball Training in the News

Metuchen Hoop Camp adding autumn session

BY SHAWN Correspondent

Due to the increased success of the Metuchen Summer Hoop Camp, an autumn version will hit the hardwood for the first time next month. Metuchen High School head coach Rich Stoner saw his summer camp enrollment increase fourfold in just its second year in existence, and figured it was time to open camp for the fall.

“I like to run the summer camp outside,” Stoner said. “Outside in the sun gives the camp an old-school feel that I think is appropriate for the summer months. This fall the camp will move indoors to Sports Zone in Edison.”

At Sports Zone, formerly known as the Basketball Academy, Stoner’s campers will experience a program that places heavy emphasis on the strength and conditioning aspects utilized by elite basketball players.

“We’ll be doing a lot of speed and agility exercises made basketball-specific,” Stoner said. “We’ll use a lot of different methods and tools, such as sandbags, kettle bells, sled drags and a bunch of other stuff that we’ve taken from body training programs and fine-tuned into our own basketball-specific program.”

Stoner’s camp will also stress team-concept basketball, but the top priority is making basketball players into elite athletes.

“Our philosophy is to create the complete basketball player,” Stoner said, “one who can outlast his or her opponent in the fourth quarter, one who can jump higher, run faster, and hit that winning shot and still have something left in the tank.”

The Autumn Hoop Camp is slated to run Sept. 7-Nov. 4 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. at Sports Zone.

“Just like we had in the summer camp, we expect some really high-level athletes at this camp,” Stoner said. “At the summer camp, we had a player that ended up earning a walk-on spot at Villanova [University]. We’ve had kids as young as 14 and as old as 19 in the camps.”

For younger players, Stoner will hold what he is calling a Half-Day Hoop Series. Hoopsters ages 9-14 can enlist for a 9 a.m.-to-noon class held at the Salvation Army in Red Bank.

“The idea is for kids to take advantage of some days off from school to work on developmental skills as well as speed and agility,” Stoner said. “The series will run Sept. 9 and 10 and Nov. 2, 4 and 5.”

For players ages 9-15, a Saturday morning Skills & Drills Series will be held at the Salvation Army in Red Bank as well. From 9 to 11 a.m., basketball players will work on team concept drills in addition to speed and agility exercises. This series runs Sept. 11-Nov. 13.

“The camps for the younger players are always a lot of fun,” Stoner said. “We’ve had kids from all over, including Bridgewater, come down to Red Bank for the series.”

Interested players can get an up-close look at Stoner’s teaching methods and philosophy later this month when he’ll be teaching a speed and agility class at Sports Zone. Class begins at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 24. For more information, visit or send Stoner an email at

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