A group of about a dozen youth basketball players and a few coaches and trainers surrounded Jordan Augustine at Bourgade High School in Phoenix. The Ironwood High School varsity boys’ coach showed the group of athletes proper defensive footwork in a drill.
Teaching basketball, and the life lessons that lie within the game, has always been Augustine’s focus as a coach, scout and trainer.
“Every basketball drill is a leadership drill, and that’s why I love the sport so much,” he told the young boys in the huddle.
And he hopes to use his platform as a leader for the good of the game and community. The camp is the manifestation of a goal to create an all-encompassing company to teach as much of the sport as possible to players and coaches of all levels. Augustine partnered with longtime trainer David Allen to form the Hoop Network around the start of May.
“It started when he wanted me to come out and help with a youth camp and his varsity team. Once he saw me work with the varsity guys, he told me he liked how detail oriented I was, and we had similar goals for the future,” Allen said.
The Hoop Network is based on the idea of “do more,” according to its website, thehoopnetwork.org. That extends to the drills and lessons learned on the court. The coaches want the players to do more in their practices than just learn basketball.
More than anything, the Hoop Network’s goal, in individual and group training and coaching sessions, is to provide skills necessary to succeed long after the ball stops bouncing, at whatever level reached.
“There are some kids that won’t play in high school, or won’t play in college. Who knows if some will even play for their middle school? Even if they are blessed enough to do any of that, you play for a limited period of time. All of us do. The life skills you learn from it go much longer than the game,” Augustine said.
The Hoop Network will likely host more clinics after the July club basketball season, and even has plans to host a skills camp in Utah in the future. However, both Augustine and Allen want to offer more than just in-person coaching tips as well.
There are plans to start an official Hoop Network podcast on the website, which will answer questions and go over several issues facing the local basketball community, especially Arizona. The company will also upload free coaching videos for those who cannot afford a clinic session to practice drills on their own.
The Hoop Network has even hosted a coaching clinic, and hopes to be able to provide adults the knowledge and motivation to coach at a high level, spreading their lessons in a domino effect to the players they oversee.
“We want to spread the information everywhere we can. We have a lot of connections, and we’ve learned a lot over the years, so there’s no reason that we should hide any of it,” Allen said.
Sweat dripped from the faces of the players and coaches alike as the practice ended. The players have learned several dribbling, scoring and defensive strategies in an intense-yet-encouraging environment. In a final huddle, Augustine yet again harped on leadership, telling the kids to appreciate the opportunities and be leaders in their lives. Allen nodded in agreement before nearly every player and coach slapped hands, congratulating each other’s effort.
Around two months into what the pair hopes is a long journey, the base is set for the Hoop Network to have a big impact on the surrounding area, for whoever is interested.
“Ultimately, if there’s a hoop, and there’s kids that want to put the work in, we’re going to have a resource for that. We welcome it,” Augustine said.
For more information or to inquire about training, visit thehoopnetwork.org or call 623-418-2085.