It is, by now, a tried and tested statement that practice makes perfect. So what happens when you enhance your basketball practice with the professional hoop talents of NBA players and coaches? Hoop Mountain! With the continued rise of the popularity of Basketball in Kuwait, Hoop Mountain provides a basketball camp that brings a new wave of hope, skills, and tangibility to the basketball dreams of our local youth.
Hoop Mountain’s aim is to offer kids in Kuwait a chance to learn from top-notch coaches in order to aid in getting their skills and talent to a level that is compatible with international basketball players. At the recent launch event for the camp, Adam Harrington, former NBA player, gave us some insight into Hoop Mountain in this special interview:
Tell me about the history of Hoop Mountain?
Co-founders Steven Gibbs and Matt Spencer established Hoop Mountain in 1985. Starting with humble roots as a regional high school basketball magazine, it was not long before it turned into a full-fledged basketball camp. Now, 28 short years later, it has expanded to basketball camps and tournaments across the continental united states.
We are proud to have NBA coaches such as Umass Lowell and Stan Van Gundy as well as NBA players as varied as Rick Brunson, Andre Drummond and Jeff Adrien. We recently had the Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau spend time with the staff at Hoop Mountain as well. We strive to give our coaches and participants at Hoop Mountain the best in terms of coaching and training.
Tell us your history with basketball?
I have been playing basketball since I was 6 years old and I always had this dream to play in the NBA one day. Although it was a lot of hard work and dedication, it eventually paid off when I got to play on full scholarship for both NC State and Auburn University. My ultimate dream was achieved when I played in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets. Later I even went on to play professionally throughout Europe for six years. I eventually retired in 2010 to start the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Foundation in my late sister’s honor. I also started my own personal basketball skills development business about this time.
When did you get involved with Hoop Mountain?
I have been familiar with Hoop Mountain for as long as I can remember. In fact, all through my childhood these camps were run in my home area, so I am very familiar with them. So, in 2012, when I was asked to be part of Hoop Mountain, I had already felt a strong connection to the brand and their values. My continued experience with their training camps since that time has progressed in many facets, including, most recently, the inception of Hoop Mountain Kuwait.
We want to bring American-organized basketball to Kuwait, because we feel it combines the necessary skills for development and success including both nutrition, and fitness. We want to bring creativity and innovation to Kuwaiti basketball that can result in a higher caliber of play.
Is your role coaching? If so: to what degree?
I am the lead coach with Hoop Mountain Kuwait. I will be overseeing two American coaches who will be working the camp full-time locally. I will be in Kuwait for two-week intervals throughout the year. I will also be developing and writing the curriculum for the program and will additionally play the role of strategic advisor to the Hoop Mountain Kuwait administration.
Who are your role models?
It’s important to have good coaches in your life. My role models have been my parents first and my coaches. Good coaches don’t just give you advice on physical training and sports tips, they give you life lessons that you can take away and practice.
Tell us about the transition from player to ambassador of the sport?
This transition has been easier than I thought. I loved playing basketball professionally and you will never be able to replace that experience. However, when I got into training kids in basketball and running my sister’s foundation (an organization that supports kids chasing their dreams), it became such a rewarding experience. I am honored be able to give back. The ability to take basketball knowledge that I have and share it with kids is great. It builds their confidence and makes them successful both on and off the court!
What is your future plans with basketball?
I plan to continue using basketball as a platform to teach young boys and girls around the world life-skills and how you can use them to accomplish many things in your life. Most importantly, I want to teach them that dreams do come true. I love basketball and I pray that I can continue to be involved with the sport my whole life. It’s the greatest job in the world!
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