An Experience for the Ages

What’s up people. If you are a true basketball fan, this is the best time of the year. The best players in the world on the grandest stage. The NBA Finals. There is no bigger spotlight and no greater drama. If you have noticed, the Cleveland Cavaliers have opened up the Quicken Loans Arena on game nights when the Cavs are playing at Golden State. Fans likely pay a very small amount to come in, watch the game with other fans, and get the full game experience that includes everything. Well, except the teams themselves. Sounds silly? Sounds awesome? Both are correct. How do I know? I’ll share in one second…


First, Summer is upon us! BT Basketball has so many offerings for you to get your game to the next level. From Summer Camps, to Summer League, to Summer Improvement Series, we have you COVERED during these hot, wonderful days. Remember, Summer is always the time where you make massive gains and come back next season a new player. Take advantage of these few months and combine them with our knowledge and expertise. Click on any one of the tabs right up top of this page to get all the info you need for every event we are holding. Make it happen! Now, back to the story…


To say I was a Bulls fan back in the day is a wee bit of an understatement. MJ was king of the world during that time and the Bulls were the rock show of rock shows. Every game they played was an event. I saw them a number of times live and did my best to watch every televised game and catch every Sportscenter highlight. It was 1998 and the Bulls were once again in the Finals. 3rd year in a row and the 6th time in 8 years (thanks to a certain baseball getaway). They were in the midst of what they called the Last Dance. The contracts of Jordan, Rodman, Pippen and Phil Jackson were all up after this year and there were tons of rumblings that this was going to be it, win or lose. The drama surrounding the series was at an absolute fever pitch due to all of these factors. End of an era, one of the most dominant stretches of basketball by a team and individual the league had ever seen. Could they pull it off and cap it with their second 3peat?  They were in a hard fought series with the Utah Jazz for the second year in a row. A team with two Hall of Famers (some guys named Stockton and Malone) and this time, Utah were the favorites. After going up 3-1 on their home court, the Bulls got a tad lazy and lost a close out Game 5 at home. Meaning they had to travel back to one of the most hostile arenas in all the land to try to finish off the Jazz in Game 6 or possibly have to go to a game 7.  I was pumped, nervous, all the emotions you feel when your squad is on the brink of a championship. Couldn’t wait for that night to come and get myself back in front of the TV and see how it all played out. Little did I know the opportunity that was about to present itself.


The phone rings and it’s my step dad, Roger. We were chatting briefly about the series when he said, so what are you doing for the game? A bit confounded, I simply replied that I would be watching here with friends. Why do you ask? I remember the response like it was yesterday. “Turns out they open the doors at the United Center (in Chicago) to fans for only $10. They play it like the game is actually there. Concessions, cheerleaders, lineups, halftime show, you name it. And they play the game up on the big screen. I have a friend who lives in Chicago, is going, and said they would meet up with you and take you. You in?”

Wait, what? Yes, yes, andddddd YESSSSS! Are you kidding? Not just watching the game, in that atmosphere, but the energy of the city, the building, the experience. Holy moly what if they win?! Would it be crazy? Would they be turning cars over? Would it be something I remember for the rest of my life? Only one way to find out.


I hop a flight to Chicago on game day. This would be my first trip to the “House that MJ built”. A veritable mecca for any die hard MJ or hoops fan. The statue, the trophies, the banners. Here I come. Now back up a second. I’ve had people ask me in the past… you went alone? Best believe it! I knew I was meeting with some other diehards and so what if we had never met before. Sometimes you just have to take a leap and allow life to be life. Adventures are amazing if you let them breathe. We meet up and head straight to the stadium. I’m so excited I can barely contain any of it. Even more pumped now that I know the people I’m with are just as jacked as I am. We pull up and there it is, sitting right out front. The statue…


Incredible, etched right out of stone and capturing every essence, down to the helpless defenders!


There are people everywhere, the energy is palpable. Bulls jerseys, signs, you name it!



Time to enter the stadium and wow, just took it up another notch. All the stores were open as were all the areas showing off the hardware. Some pretty amazing stuff. I was like a kid in a candy store, wide eyed on Christmas morning. We passed the five trophies sittig side by side (would six come this night?) and I screeched like a little girl.


We moved along a little further and saw the center circle of the old Chicago Stadium where they had won the first three of their world championships. The new stadium was built during the brief MJ retirement. Parts of the legendary old floor were also on display.


The energy and momentum just kept building and building as we moved closer to game time and entering the arena. I will always contend that any live event you go to, basketball, baseball, football, a concert, that very first moment where you lay eyes on the court, field, or stage are the moments it all becomes real. Walking down that concourse, right to the moment where it is on full display, is a moment that always gives me the chills. This time was no different.


The crowd was still filing in but man oh man was it hyped. On every seat was a cutout that proclaimed “Repeat the 3Peat”. I still have this in my closet today as a great memento from that night! Getting closer to gametime. If you remember that time, you absolutely and unequivocally remember when they announced the lineups for the Bulls. Spine tingling fun. If you don’t recall, well let’s refresh your memory as it’s the BEST intros of any sport ever! Froooooom North CAAAAAROLINAAAA…

And here we go! What unfolded from here is truly remarkable and forever in the history books. It was honestly like the teams were playing there. I know that sounds crazy. But every aspect of a live game was in tact. The crowd (including myself) was frenzied throughout. Knowing what was on the line, the incredibly high stakes, only served to heighten the tension and energy of every single possession. Pippen hurt himself early on in the game, Rodman had rendered himself useless at that point and they were fighting a crowd that was up there with the best in the NBA. It became clear that MJ was either going to bring the team home, or they were going to a Game 7. Possibly without Pippen. In enemy territory. Against multiple future Hall of Famers. Oh boy.

I remember at one point during a timeout in the 4th quarter taking a deep breath and looking around, just soaking it all in. How did I get here? How fortunate am I? How freaking awesome is this????

The game continues and down to the last minute where the Jazz take the lead by 3. Uh oh. What transpired from here is not only classic MJ, but NBA Finals lore. People only remember the last shot. What they often forget is the quick bucket to cut the lead to 1, and the following steal from Malone that led to the game winner. Let’s revisit….

The United Center instantly became the loudest place I had ever been. Jumping up and down, hugging people you didn’t even know. Absolute pandemonium and mayhem. The final shot of the Jazz missed and it was official, I was part of history in a place that 36 hours earlier I had no idea about. Total and complete bedlam. Not only did they win, but I may have just seen the final shot of MJ’s career after a 45 point effort to win a 6th ring! Was this happening???


Notice the score. This was soon after the buzzer sounded and not only were the players in the midst of their initial celebration, but confetti was flying everywhere, much to the pleasure of every fan in attendance. It seemed to go on forever. Nobody wanted to leave. Music was playing. Then they stopped it so we could hear the interviews. The lights went back down and the trophy presentation began. They referenced all the fans back in Chicago and the building erupted as Jordan raised the hardware to the sky!!!!


Everyone was still on their feet, clapping, shouting, dancing. It was truly a breathtaking moment. 20150613_155518

It felt like I had played in the game myself! So much energy expended, both physical and emotional! I finally got to the point where I was so overwhelmed with joy that I had to rest my bones. And this, folks, captured on a now old camera, is joy, and exhaustion, personified…

We left the building but the party was just getting started. The craziness continued into the streets. People waving their Repeat the 3Peat signs up and down every street. High 5’s all around. The city of Chicago had a good night that night.

Back in my hotel room later that night, all alone. Trying to make sense of what just happened. It was a dream come true that I didn’t know could come true, yet alone that I even had. All the circumstances came together for one evening that could not ever be forgotten. I turned on the tv and layed down in the bed. I decided to watch the local news and absorb every last drop of this that I could before hopping on the plane the next morning. The news went on for hours and hours and as tired as I was from the quick traveling and the game, I was intent on catching every ounce. And that’s what I did. Until finally, close to 3am, the broadcast began to sign off. They played a montage of the Bulls season and their playoff run with a song running behind it. A song that to this day, when I hear it, brings me back to that hotel room. As I lay there watching, I made a promise to myself to remember that risks are good. Adventures should never be turned down. Experiences are what life is all about. When the song begins to fade and I realize how fortunate I am, a tear drops from my eye…



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31 ways to make 2015 better than 2014

2014 is almost over. Crazy, just crazy! Where are our jetpacks and flying cars already???
No matter how this year went, there is always room for improvement right? Below check out the 31 ways you can make 2015 just a bit better. But first…

We’ve got tons and tons of offerings for you this Winter at BT Basketball. Check out all the tabs up top of this page. From first graders (Little Ballers and Holiday Clinic) to Middle Schoolers (Winter Sessions and Holiday Clinic) to High Schoolers (Insider Program), we have something for every age. We are excited to help you get STRONGER as the season goes on. Also visit out Videos page to check out some helpful tips for your skills and mentality. Here are a few of the new ones…

Ok let’s get to it! Please comment and add to this list!

-Smile more (with your friends, with your family, with yourself, with strangers. If nothing else, people will wonder why you’re smiling so much. Which will provide you with entertainment. Which will make you smile)
-Get outside more (even in the cold weather, go take a quick stroll. Something about nature and fresh air that clears a foggy head)
-Eat more fruits and veges
-Eat less crapola
-Drop the macho stuff and tell the people that you love, that you love them. Life is short
-Sleep better (aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep. Kill the devices and start powering down the mind before bedtime)
-Be more grateful, appreciative and thankful (not just during the holidays)
-Look at things in more of a positive light (we all choose exactly how we react and see everything that happens. Certainly often easier to look at things in a negative light. Try the sunny side a little more often)
-Watch a movie that you know is incredibly inspiring to you
-Watch less garbage TV and listen to more kick a$$ tunes
-Do something for someone without any expectation whatsoever of something in return
-Over tip (even when the service doesn’t deserve it)
-Say hello to random people (this is normal for Southerners, yet foreign to most of us above the Mason Dixon line. I mean really, ever been to the south and everyone is so kind and friendly and we all think it’s so strange. Maybe we are the strange ones!)
-Take 5 deep breaths in a row
-Throw anyone that has a negative influence in your life overboard (without a raft or anything that will allow them to climb back into the boat of your mind)
-Challenge yourself in a way that only you will know if you completed said challenge (now go make it happen)
-Read more good stuff (doesn’t include People magazine. Take 10 minutes or so a day and read something educational, motivating, inspiring, or fun)
-Find something in the clutter of life that is yours and yours alone (something that makes you feel truly alive, that nobody can take from you)
-Cultivate that passion, and make a career out of it
-Laugh, a lot (at yourself, with others. Enjoy life, enjoy the people and situations in it)
-Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages
-Be a good friend
-No, be a great friend!
-Find something to be disciplined at, even for a short time (physical activity, food come to mind)
-Say please and thank you more often
-Give little regard to what others think of you
-Find out who you truly are and embrace it
-Go to a concert
-Give someone a hug (not a one handed bro hug. A full on, double armed, please let me go I can’t breath hug!)
-When you catch yourself saying to someone “I’m too busy”, honestly evaluate if you really are (ever seen the movie Yes Man?)
-Be committed to enjoying life more this year!

Here’s to finishing off 2014 strong and having the best year of your life in 2015! If you would be so kind, please share this with anyone you think may benefit!

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Studying isn’t just for school

Did you hear the news? That’s right, high schoolers, they moved up tryout dates one week this year. What does that mean? You have less time to prepare yourself. Fortunately, we are working hard here at BT Basketball to provide you with every opportunity to be ready to go come Day 1 of tryouts. Check out our Fall Skills Clinics (tab above), Teacher’s Convention Clinic (tab above) as well as a bunch of new videos (tab above, and…)

So let’s talk real quick. Just the word study gets me an eye roll from basically every player in our program. I get it, there’s plenty of studying that needs to get done for school that the thought of adding more to that is almost intolerable.


This is a different type of studying. Take regular school work. For most people, if they don’t study at all, they will end up with a poor grade. Sure, there are some people that don’t have to study and they still do well. Those are a rare breed. Most need to study and study well. Quick side note, what happens to the person who doesn’t need to study, but still does? They excel and dominate (keep that in mind). Studying is what helps you take your game to the ultimate next level, on the court or in the classroom. The more information that you can use in practical application, the better you become. Quite simple really.

Quick story. Back when I was in middle school, I idolized Jon Deeb, who was 5 years older than me and an outstanding point guard at Sparta HS. I wanted to do the things that he was doing. I wanted to wow crowds the way he did. I wanted to dribble, shoot, dominate in the same way. As I got into high school and he moved on to college, we became friends. I had already been studying his game in person, watching his every move. How he used his body, or his footwork, or his vision. I dissected every piece of his game.

But I needed more.

I knew his family recorded his high school games. So what did I do? Yep, I commandeered about 7 tapes. Still have those VHS tapes to this day (google it young folks). I immediately popped them in and began my work. I watched tape after tape after tape. Then I watched them again and again and again to the point where I knew what he was going to do before he did (at least on tape). I picked and chose aspects of his game that I thought I could incorporate into mine and took to the driveway to begin my own transformation. At times I felt like I was cheating. I had such valuable information at my fingertips. These tapes were pure gold for me.

I took this same principle and applied it directly to myself. I was fortunate to have a family that was willing to record each of my games in high school. After every game, win or loss, I would watch the tape of that night. What did I do wrong. Are they mental or physical mistakes. What can I improve upon. What did I do well that I can do better. Every game, dissecting each play, offensively and defensively. Looking for every edge on the competition. I wanted that edge. I NEEDED that edge.

Today it’s 1,000,000 times easier. Information is so simple to attain now. Whether it be YouTube, Google or any other number of avenues, information is right at your fingertips. The question, as always, is what will you decide to do with it. You are here, reading this, so the good news is that you are interested in learning. Just our site alone provides you with informational blogs, videos and more to help you get rolling. But don’t stop here. Find all the info you can and study it like your final grade depends on it.

Because it does.

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Are you willing to start over?

Bad habits sure are a pain in the you know what. On the court or off, they can seem insurmountable and unbreakable. What’s the best way to break a bad habit? Never form one. However, since we are all human and inevitably create them in our lives and our games, we have to ask ourselves one very important question. Once these habits have been formed, and once you recognize that they are there, wreaking havoc…

Are you willing to start over and do what it takes to break that bad habit and lay the foundation for a good one?

You answer to that question will help to determine your success as a player. Bad habits are easy to come by. Too much playground ball can lead to numerous aspects of your game becoming less effective. Jumpshot, defense, turnovers, just to name a few. They can be small, barely recognizable. Or glaring like a spotlight. Whatever they are, they are not allowing you to maximize your talent as a player. Let me tell you one habit that almost ruined my career as a shooter.

It was my sophomore year in high school, I was the starting point guard. For some reason that I’m still not sure of to this day, my shooting form starting becoming “off ” throughout the course of the season. Maybe I wasn’t yet strong enough, who knows. It wasn’t a lack of practice and repetition, as I attending every off season camp and diligently worked out all summer long. But here I was, instead of shooting the proper way, with the shooting window open (meaning taking the ball from my right hip directly up to over my right eye, then releasing), it was starting to close on me. I was now taking the ball across my body, so not only did I not have a clear view of the basket the entire time, but I also wasn’t releasing it from the proper point. Have you even seen Kevin Martin shoot (Rockets, Thunder, Wolves)? Think that, yet way less effective. My shooting didn’t tank completely, but it was enough to effect my percentage and it was clear to see on tape that it just wasn’t right.


So I had a decision to make.


I could go on with this new found improper shooting form. Or I could fix it. One option was easy, the other was hard. One option gave me limited long term success, the other removed all limits.

I immediately chose option #2. No, not hashtag 2, number 2 (keep up kids).

Once the season finished, I got to work. With what, you say? The most basic of the basic shooting drills.

Form shooting, naturally. I started 2 feet in front of the basket and slowly, monotonously, worked on transforming my bad habit into a good one. Every day, shot after shot after shot. I didn’t even take a full jumpshot for a few weeks. Simply every day, right in front of the basket, 2 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet. One hand form shooting, then adding the guide hand. Over and over and over again until that window stayed open. I reprogramed my brain in order to reprogram my body.

Sure, it was painstaking. Sure, it was frustrating at times, wondering why in the heck it got to that point in the first place. But you know what else is was?


And that’s all that matters. Results. There are results, and then there are MAXIMUM results. It’s our choice as players to decide what we want.

Every player will get results by playing or working on their game. But the ones that are willing to analyze their games honestly, and then fix the bad habits, big or small, will be the ones that squeeze every last ounce out of the talent that was given to them.


The great news? After that off season of fixing my busted shot, I’ve never had to fix it again. I also gained some added benefits that I didn’t expect. I proved to myself once again that if I put in the work, gains would come. There was nothing but upside physically and mentally. It gave me the edge to know that if something became broken in my game in the future, I could fix it. There is nothing that can replace that. It gives you the confidence of an animal. When you know that you are not really truly willing to put in the work that it takes, there is always a hesitancy in the back on your mind. Hesitancy does not breed the ultimate confidence you will need to dominate.

So, are you willing to start over? What’s waiting for you on the other side is more exciting than you can imagine.



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Open your mouth!

It is the ultimate young people paradox. How many times, at each age level and both genders, do I have to tell players to quiet down while the coaches are talking. Fairly often (until the suicide runs start). How many times, at each level and both genders, do I have to tell players to speak MORE while on the court during gameplay? Based on the initial statement, you would think the answer would be zero. Since they enjoy speaking to each other so much, this would be a piece of cake. Right? Wrong! It is often like pulling teeth to get proper communication. So the ultimate paradox… speaking when not supposed to, not speaking when you need to. Why is this so important? Let me explain.

But first, we’ve released a few new videos lately (with more to come). Once you finish reading this, it will be right there waiting for you. We also just started our Fall Skills Clinics. With 6 more to go, there is plenty of time to get registered and prepare yourself for the season that is hurling towards us at the speed of light. Just click on the above link for Fall Clinics and get on board. Now where were we…

Communication is important in every relationship, and the sport of basketball is no different. You have a relationship with your teammates, coaches, and even the ball itself. Without clear, open lines, every possession suffers. When possessions suffer, final scores suffer.

What are some of the scenarios where communication is vital?

  • Substitutions – making sure the player coming off the floor tells the player entering the game who he/she is guarding. This responsibility lies on both players. Saying that he didn’t tell me does not fly. There’s nothing lazier than coming into the game and giving up an easy bucket only because you don’t know who you are supposed to be guarding.
  • Defensive screens. The type of communication here will depend on how your coach plays screens. I am a big believer at the youth level of NOT switching. Rather, teach the kids how to hedge, fight through, recover. This is more complicated and requires tons of talk. But it also teaches kids a more advanced way to play the game. Switching at an early age all the time just breeds laziness. A screen must be called out early if you want any chance of protecting against an easy scoring opportunity for the opponent. This is the same for a pick and roll out top or a cross screen from block to block. The same theories apply and the bottom line is that if your teammate doesn’t know the screen is coming, it’s hard to keep up.
  • Weak side defense. This is a huge one in the BT Basketball system. We work on it a ton due to it’s importance. Verbalizing is as important as positioning when you are on the weak or help side. It notifies your teammates that you are in the right spot. When they know you are working hard to be in the right spot, it motivates them to have your back as well. It energizes not only yourself but your teammates and an energetic cohesive defense is very difficult to score against.
  • Bench. There is nothing worse than a silent bench where all the players are secretly rooting against their teammates to mess up so they can get in the game! An encouraging, motivating bench is a sign of a well coached team. It is also a sign of an unselfish one. Teammates that cheer for each other after a great play and pick each other up after a poor one, have better team chemistry, attitude, and chance to win. Goes back to an old rule, treat people the way you would like to be treated. If you are a grouchy bench player, you can’t expect royal treatment once it’s your turn to shine.
  • Player-coach. Sometimes players will see things on the court that the coach does not. Do your best to forge a positive, open relationship with your coach. One where the lines of communication are open and you can feel free to express your opinion and share ideas. This is especially important, but not confined to, the point guard position.

As you can see, communication is huge. Each possession, there is an opportunity to win. Win more possessions throughout the course of a game, win the game itself.

Speak up, don’t be afraid, get out of your comfort zone, and see what it does to the entire team. You will be amazed at the difference in energy and fun between a team that communicates well and one that doesn’t!

Check out some of our new videos and please pass them along to basketball players and parents alike! Check out and Like our BT Basketball Facebook page for upcoming videos!

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FREE High School clinic, August Clinics, Fall AAU and more‏

Welcome to August! I know, crazy right? We have had a spectacular summer here at BT Basketball and plan to continue that this month. Check out all the things we have going on below, and to view all the pictures from our various summer events, please visit (and Like!!) the BT Basketball page.

Are you ready for the…

FREE High School Event of the Summer!

This will not be your ordinary skills clinic. We have designed this to cover areas of the game that are not usually taught in detail. They will include, but not be limited to…

  • Mental toughness in every aspect of the game including-Bouncing back from bad plays and bad games -Dealing with difficult teammates (and not becoming one) -Positive attitude in the face of adversity-How to easily build your confidence
  • The importance of discipline on the court and off including-Making the simple and correct play-Defensive accountability-Working on your game, the right way
  • Personal responsibility and decision making-Admitting and accepting your mistakes-Not blaming others -Building up your teammates
  • All players will be put through a sample workout that they can use for the remainder of the summer

    Special guest Rob Agnoli (owner of NJ Muscle) will be coming by to speak on the importance of building the proper strength for hoops


We will have classroom as well as court work so bring your sneakers as well as a notebook!

This event is for anyone entering high school, already in high school, or in college, and yes, it’s


To register click



August Clinics

Shooting Clinic 8/16

Shooting the ball is elemental to the game of basketball. There is always room for learning and improvement. In this clinic we will cover…

  • Catch and shoot
  • shooting off the dribble
  • how to quicken your release
  • proper footwork on all shots
  • how to pull up so quickly that your shot is unblockable
  • the one reason why most players don’t have proper arc
  • much more

Group 1: 5th-8th grade boys and girls 9:30-10:45

Group 2: High School boys and girls 10:45-12:00

Scoring Clinic 8/23

Shooting and scoring are two vastly different skill sets. Our second clinic will build upon the first and expand with…

  • How to get to the foul line at will
  • How to use your body to shield your defender
  • How to properly attack a defender based on his positioning
  • How to finish around the rim
  • How and when to properly use shot fakes
  • And, the one shot that will separate you from every player out there today

Group 1: 5th-8th grade boys and girls 9:00-10:15

Group 2: High School boys and girls 10:15-11:30


If you attend both clinics the cost is only $40 total

To attend an individual clinic is $25 per

To register click



Individual and Small Group Training
Individual and small group training will be available in August on a limited, week to week basis. If you are interested, contact us directly at


Fall AAU Tryouts

We are incredibly excited for another AAU season that is fast approaching. Please mark your calendar for tryouts on Sunday September 7th. Exact times will be announced in the coming weeks but we will have tryouts for girls 5th-HS and
 boys 3rd-HS. Registration is required but we do NOT charge a tryout fee. To register please click

Crazy campers!!

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