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10 Things College Coaches Look for

As we near the end of July, we are in the middle of a live period. A live period is when college coaches can come out and evaluate perspective players. Per NCAA rules, college coaches are limited to how often and when they can evaluate players throughout the course of a year. As a result, a player might only get five minutes to gain the attention of a college coach. With so little time to impress, it is imperative that a player has a good showing. In order to help a player make the most of their five minutes, I’ve put together 10 things that college coaches look for when they are evaluating.


  1. Passion

Passion is what drives work ethic. When you are passionate about something, you desire to become great at it and you are willing to spend as much time with it as possible. Being passionate means you work, even when no one is watching. I can’t remember a time ever hearing my college coach say, “work harder”! The truth of the matter is, if a coach has to motivate you to give effort toward something you love, that is a big issue.

Basketball players with passion are the ones who:

  • Are ‘gym rats’! The ‘gym rat’ will spend an unlimited amount of time working on their game. ‘Gym rats’ get to practice early and stay after to work on their game.
  • Are enthusiastic about the game of basketball. They are a person who enjoys talking about the game, players and basketball topics.
  • Get excited to practice
  • Look forward to getting better


Passionate players are culture guys, they are infectious, they are grinders, they are workers, and they have winning habits. When other players see that passionate ‘gym rat’ working day in and day out, it becomes infectious and creates a working culture. Culture is everything to college coaches. When they are recruiting, they are looking for players that will fit in their culture as well as add to it.


  1. Winning Habits: Intangibles

How do you contribute to winning? How much of your game will transfer over to the collegiate level? These are questions that college coaches have to answer in their post tournament recruiting meetings when making a decision on who they are going to offer a scholarship. Putting up 30 points in a high school or AAU game may sound good, but stats can be misleading. College coaches are evaluating you through a college lense, so of that 30 points, only 10 of it may transfer over the college game. Since 10 points will not be enough to earn you a scholarship, how else can you garner the attention of college coaches?…Intangibles!

What are intangibles?

  • Motor
  • Toughness (check out the Toughness blog)
  • IQ
  • Multiple efforts: loose balls, offensive rebounds, etc.

Intangibles often times get overshadowed by 20 point games, double digit rebound games, and flashy passes, but not by college coaches. Players like Tristan Thompson, Draymond Green and Kenneth Faried are great examples of players who excel in the intangible category, and are being paid nicely for it. Before selecting Draymond Green in the draft, the Golden State Warriors had a question they needed an answer to, “what position does Draymond play?” So the Warriors staff decided to call his college coach Tom Izzo to ask his thoughts. When asked, Tom Izzo replied, “He plays winner that’s what he plays, *explicit* winner!.” Fast forward to five years later, Draymond has helped lead the Warriors to 4 consecutive NBA championship appearances, won 2 NBA titles, earned 3x NBA All Defensive awards, earned 2x All NBA awards, and the 2017 NBA Defensive player of the year award.

In the NCAA, there were only two players that averaged over 25 points per game. Scoring 20 points per game is not going to be enough to get a scholarship offer. Start excelling at the intangibles.


  1. Confidence & Attitude

Coaches cannot instill confidence in a player; they can only inflate what is already there. Self-confidence is what allows a player to overcome the adversities of basketball. College coaches watch to see how you respond when things don’t go your way. Do you put your head down after a missed shot? Do you hustle back on defense after turning the ball over? Do you yell at your teammates for making mistakes? Basketball is an emotional game; so keeping your emotions in check and remaining calm, are very important in the heat of the game.



  1. Academics

You are a STUDENT athlete, student first. Every college institute has academic requirements that have to be met in order to gain acceptance into that school. It does not matter how talented you are or high you can jump if your grades and test scores are poor, you will not get accepted. Poor grades keep a lot of talented players from even being recruited. Visit ncaa.org and find out the NCAA requirements for athletes to make sure you are on the right track academically.


  1. Fit

When recruiting, college coaches have a specific profile for what they are looking for. Sometimes the right FIT can be out of your control. For example, that program could be looking for a specific position, skill set or body type. With this being said, it is important that you excel in the right FIT categories you can control.

Right FIT…




Good Teammate


  1. Defense

Unfortunately, for some players you have to play both sides of the ball in basketball. At M14 we tell our players, no coach wants a 30 for 30 player (score 30 and give up 30). Most AAU/Travel teams do not get much time to practice before tournaments, if any. Consequently, the defense is poor and basic defensive principles like help-defense, off the ball positioning, and defending screening actions are non-existent. In the midst of this bad defense, this can be a great opportunity for a player to get noticed by a college coach. If you are a point guard, pick up the opposing point guard full court and turn him/her three to four times. Post players hedge hard on a ball screen action and force the ball handler to give up the ball. When you are two passes away, get to the help line and slide over to take a charge. These are great ways to get a college coaches attention.


  1. Skill Set

To play in college your skill level must be high. The game of basketball has evolved over the years and is very different from when your mom, dad or coach used to play. With the addition of the three-point line, the heavy influence of the European style of play, and the huge emphasis on floor spacing. The ability to pass, shoot and dribble at a high level is at a premium right now. College coaches are looking for players with skills sets that fit a specific mold for their system. By developing a broad skill set, like your ability to handle the ball, shoot from the perimeter and defend multiple positions, you can showcase versatility that can fit into any system.


  1. Character

A scholarship can be worth more that $15K which makes each player a huge investment. To ensure their success, college coaches want to fill their team with high character players. Qualities of a high character player:

  • Respect for their coaches, teammates and the game of basketball.
  • Accountability- Not a finger pointer, but a player who looks themselves in the mirror.
  • Team first mentality- College coaches want selfless players.

Anthony Davis is a shinning example of a selfless player. While at Kentucky, Anthony Davis led the Wildcats to the 2012 National Championship, won the National Player of the Year award and was selected number one overall in the NBA draft. David accomplished this by only taking the fourth most shots for his team that year. By putting his individual success to the side and making the team a priority, Kentucky was able to win a national championship. Coaches long for this type of player.


  1. Performance under pressure

What do you do in the big games, when competition is intense, and when the game is on the line? Do you hide or shy or away? Or do you have the refuse to lose mentality? College coaches are attracted to players who show up in big games.


  1. Coachable

A coach cannot help a player that does not want to be coached. College coaches look for players who can take constructive criticism. Accepting constructive criticism is very important on the next level as you will be challenged and pushed to your limits daily. No matter the level (D1, 2 or 3), the teams’ success is tied directly to the player’s willingness to be coached. In the heat of battle, that coach needs to know that you will be able to take the criticism and apply it as each possession can be critical to winning and losing.

Characteristics of a Coachable player:

  • Eye contact- Players that look their coach in the eye when being coached is a great sign of a coachable player.
  • Body language- Do you put your head down when a coach gets on you? Do you run to the end of the bench when you’re subbed out?
  • Understand your role
  • High Basketball IQ

Parents, share this information with your player. Players, apply these things in your games for the rest of July. Coaches, share this information with your players and parents to use as a tool to help your players gain the attention of college coaches and get closer to making their dream a reality.

5 Steps to Maximize Extra Hours in Summer

The summertime is where dreams become reality for athletes. For basketball players, the summertime means joining an AAU or travel basketball team, traveling from state to state and competing against the top players around the country. It’s the chance for players to play in front of collegiate coaches in hopes of gaining their interest for a potential scholarship. However, the truth of the matter is, you may only get 30 seconds to impress that coach.


So how can a young aspiring basketball player make their dream a reality?


The extra hours in the summertime! With no classes to attend, no homework, and no test to study for this two to three month period is prime time for developing new skills, getting stronger, and taking one’s game to the next level.


Here are 5 tips for taking advantage of the extra time in the summer:


Identify areas of Improvement:

What are the most urgent improvements needed?

For the perfectionist we could get better at everything, but, unfortunately, two to three months is just not enough time to master the game of basketball. As an athlete, it is important to be realistic and understand that becoming great at anything takes time. Rome wasn’t built in one day, neither was Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. At M14, we believe that life lessons can be taught through the game of basketball such as hard work and patience. In order to figure out what improvements are most urgent, you need to prioritize by making a list. First, write down two to three areas that you would like to expand your game in the most. That could be extending your range to the three-point line, breaking your defender down off the dribble, or finishing through contact. Next, list out the skills associated to those areas. For example, next to extending your range to the three-point line you would write: shooting form, footwork, and strength (no particular order). This will later help you develop a clear plan you can execute.



Extra Time:

How much extra time do you actually have?

Everyone has the same 24 hours – how are you spending yours? We’ve all heard that saying, but how many of us really breakdown the time we spend on each activity each day. Another life lesson we teach through the game of basketball is time management. By figuring out how much extra time you have, you can narrow down what you can actually get accomplished. Being realistic is an important key to successfully using your time. If you give yourself too little or too much time to get something done it can be detrimental to your success down the road. Write down to the minute what a normal summer day will consist of; from what time you will wake up to what time you will eat each meal. From there, you should be able to identify the free time you have in your daily schedule.




As an athlete it is a very good idea to set goals. Goal setting helps promote motivation, commitment, and dedication; which help athletes stay focused on what they are trying to accomplish. Setting goals and tracking them along the way can help build confidence. Often times as athletes we forget how far we have come and how far we still have to go. To help remind yourself of the progress you have made, set mini goals that are small victories on the way to accomplishing the big goal. An example of a mini goal for extending my range to the three-point line would be: making 60% of my threes when practicing after one month of training.



What tools do you have to get better?

Do you currently work with a basketball or strength trainer? Do you have access to a shooting gun? Are you on an AAU/Travel team? Are signed up for any camps? Seeking out professionals to help guide you in the correct direction can be a very useful tool. Michael Jordan was once quoted saying, “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” A professional can help you maximize your time by teaching you the correct techniques through focused training.


Support System:

How are you going to hold yourself accountable?

Getting better at something is all about repetition. Repetition can get boring, so setting up a support system to hold you accountable is imperative to staying on track. Daily reminders are a good way to stay on track. We use them subconsciously everyday from the street signs with the speed limit to our alarm that wakes us up in the morning. Staying on track for a goal is no different. To help with that, list two places where you will post your goals and daily schedule. Then list two people who you will tell your goal (mom, dad, coach or trainer)- who will support you and hold you accountable to your goal.

Mental Toughness

As a society we have become more educated; the advancements in technology and science prove we are continuing on the endless path to better ourselves. On “hot topic” is exercise. I read an article from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention that said child obesity rates have tripled since the 80’s (wow!).  With this education there has been a huge push for sports.  I must agree, regardless of the sport, it is a great way for young boys and girls to learn very important life skills that will benefit them after their playing days but also it helps promote a healthy life style. Since there are more young athletes playing sports, things have gotten more competitive. So how do you gain an advantage? What are things you can do to help keep yourself on the court? The obvious answers are skill and talent. While I can’t disagree, I think all players (high school and under) do not spend enough time training their minds. Little attention is paid to dealing with adversity they will encounter on/off the court. My college coach would always ask us “Are you being mentally tough right now or a mental midget?” … This question I pose to our players at M14 all the time.

When you think of basketball players that are mentally tough, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul might be some names that come to mind.  These are great examples of what mental toughness looks like. We challenge our players all the time to watch the game from a different angle. It doesn’t matter what level; if you are playing basketball you can guarantee it is going to bring you several adverse situations. A missed shot, a turnover, getting benched, playing for a losing team; all these are examples of the adversity this sport can bring. How you handle those situations can determine your success level.

So what is mental toughness? It is self-belief, confidence, motivation, focus, composure, and handling pressure in adverse situations. Athletes that exemplify this trait have the ability to excel during high stress and pressure situations. A basketball player who has the ability to recover swiftly after a setback and still produce results (even when the likelihood of success is low). They also remain poised through trials. PLEASE! Don’t over look that last sentence “remain poised through trails.” Nobody is perfect, and mistakes will happen but BODY LANGUAGE never whispers, it always screams.  After you miss a shot or maybe a teammate didn’t pass you the ball and you were open, can the crowd tell you are upset?  You turn the ball over and coach pulls you out the game; how did you walk to the bench?  Body language will let any coach know what type of mental toughness a player has!

I find myself having to teach much more than just a crossover to basketball players these days.  To truly be any good at coaching/training, I have to teach them

attributes that will help raise their success level on the court. Of course, height, physical ability, lack of experience in relation to their opponent could affect their success level, but they do not have full control over those things!  It is critical for basketball players to concentrate on the components of their personal game that can be controlled.  Your response to failure is something that is completely in your control. Mental toughness is a key aspect that can be developed or learned … the question is how???

As a trainer and coach, players (parents) frequently ask, “How can I transfer what is learned in practice to games?” This is a great question that has been debated for years. Commonly it is misconstrued that practice makes perfect … in truth game simulated practice is the most beneficial, (stop saying perfect, you never will be and putting yourself up against “perfection” is just setting yourself up for failure).

What is game simulated practice? It is when you insert adverse elements to your practice or training session to replicate the physical, emotional, and mental challenges you will encounter in a game. Here are 3 great examples I suggest:

1) The entire time you practice do it with your weak hand. If you drive with your strong hand or finish at the rim with it, it’s a turnover. Force yourself to do something you cannot because you and bet that your defender in the game is going to.

2) Setting up competitive shooting drills attempting to beat your score daily. Don’t just make 500 shots. See how many attempts it took you to make 500 shots and how much time … then beat it the next day. This will set you on the path of shooting when tired and under pressure.

3) (My favorite) Play one-on-one with a teammate AFTER practice when you’re already exhausted. Don’t just play, WIN! Challenge yourself to make every shot you shoot and defend every possession as if your playing time depended on it … in a game both of these may be true.

Regularly practicing and training under these conditions can help any basketball player develop mental toughness and will maximize their results in a competition.

Parents, players, coaches, and everybody else … you want to know why there are so many players who are mental midgets these days ????  They don’t play enough “pick-up” basketball. There is a tremendous amount of adversity when you go to the park/gym and play 3on3 or 5on5 and have to win or wait for 2 more hours to play again.  When you are the person last picked and it upsets you, when you are the best and have to prove it; all of these situations can help players deal with pressure and adversity. Everything these days is very “neat” and “clean” for players. Think not? Answer this question: When is the last time you went to the gym and played without a coach/parent in the gym ???? My point exactly…

-Nick Daniels

Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.

– Jack Nicklaus


M14 High School Players (2015-16)


Varsity GIRLS

Shea Bayram Senior Batavia
Hannah Frazier Senior Batavia St. Louis University (2016)
Megan Will Senior Benet Academy
Samantha Pryor Senior Burlington Central  Northern Illinois University (2016)
Marissa Metz Sophomore Downers Grove South
Bryana Hopkins Senior Fremd Northwestern University (2016)
Taylor Robinson Sophomore Bolingbrook
Mia Ferrell Senior Joliet Catholic  University of Chicago (2016)
Camryn James Sophomore Lake Park
Nina Scaramella Senior Lyons Township
Brianna Hall Junior Metea Valley
Jahnavi Challagonda Junior Metea Valley
Aaliyah Johnson Junior Metea Valley
Sarah Miranda Junior Metea Valley
Cheyenne Krehl Senior Metea Valley
Emma Bedeker Senior Morris
Lucy Schmid Freshman Naperville Central
Mia Lakstigala Sophomore Naperville Central
Cami Bilardello Junior Naperville North
Sophia Fumagalli Senior Naperville North
Caitlin Kennedy Senior Naperville North
Laurel Pereira Senior Naperville North
Cilycia Pope Senior Naperville North
Kelly Vonnahme Freshman Neuqua Valley
Ashley Ishman Freshman Neuqua Valley
Megan Keefer Junior Neuqua Valley
Makinzie DeHaan Junior Neuqua Valley
Myia Starks Senior Neuqua Valley Northern Illinois University (2016)
Megan Callahan Senior Neuqua Valley
Kai Moon Senior Neuqua Valley Binghamton University (2016)
Jordyn Diaz Senior Neuqua Valley
Courtlyn Smith Senior Neuqua Valley
Gabby Thomas Sophomore Neuqua Valley
Jada Harvey Sophomore Neuqua Valley
Taylor Crowley Sophomore Neuqua Valley
Rachel Lee Sophomore Neuqua Valley
Blair Ripley Junior Oak Park-River Forest
Gillian O’Neal Junior Oswego
Abigail Ragusa Freshman Providence Catholic
Taylor Drozdowski

Sidney Drozdowski





 Augustana (2016)


Gina Offerman Senior Sandburg High School
Mackie Kelleher Junior South Elgin
Molly McCarthy Junior St. Francis
Katie McCarthy Junior St. Francis
Brooklynne Wilson Junior Waubonsie Valley
Iwisyi Osaghae Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Reese Gorshe Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Sarah Struebring Junior Wheaton South
Caylin Rufus Sophomore York
Audrey Macciomei Junior Yorkville
Elysse Trembley Junior Yorkville
Lauren Daffenberg Junior Yorkville
Natalie Malinowski  Junior  Yorkville

Sophomore GIRLS

Ny’a Jones Sophomore Montini Catholic
Jahnari Byrdlong Sophomore Montini Catholic
Lexie Moore Sophomore Geneva
Jenna Roberts Sophomore Minooka
 Sophie Sharpe  Freshman  Geneva

Freshman GIRLS

Rylee Bishop Freshman Geneva
Jenna Segebrecht Freshman Geneva
Kendall McCauley Freshman Naperville North


Varsity BOYS

Zack Smith Sophomore Aurora Central Catholic
Carter Eberhardt Senior Batavia
Andew Kickel Junior Benet Academy
Cameron Harris Junior Bolingbrook
Devin Blake Senior Downers Grove North
Dylan Kaczmarek Junior Downers Grove South
Ryan Cohen Senior Hinsdale Central
Jared Lenoir Senior Joliet Catholic
Zion Young Sophomore Merrillville (IN)
Malik Hall Sophomore Metea Valley
Larry Roberts Senior Minooka Benedictine University (2016)
Noah Swope Junior Naperville Central
Harrison Hallstrom Senior Naperville Central
Brandon Baskin Senior Naperville Central
Tyler Carlson Junior Naperville North
Joseph Sieger Senior Neuqua Valley
Derrick Chaney Senior Oswego
Ryan Ricken Senior Oswego
Michael Hood Junior Plainfield Central
Kameron Williams Junior Plainfield Central
Jalyn Adams Senior Plainfield East
London Stamps Sophomore Romeoville
Eric Cannon Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Michael Chinn Junior Waubonsie Valley
Ben Young Sophomore West Aurora
Tai Bibbs Junior West Chicago
Mike Bibbs Senior West Chicago
Adam Stallworth Junior

Sophomore BOYS

Jake Ronnenberg Sophomore Benet Academy
David Lacey Sophomore Bolingbrook
Max Matan Sophomore Geneva
Caleb Snyder Sophomore Geneva
Matt La Montagna Sophomore Glenbard South
Ryan Crimmins Sophomore Kaneland
Manny Hess Freshman Metea Valley
Payton Thorne Freshman Metea Valley
Tim Bandara Sophomore Metea Valley
Mike Brown Sophomore Metea Valley
Brad Hartje Sophomore Metea Valley
Tyler O’Brien Sophomore Naperville Central
Tyler Rutledge Sophomore Naperville Central
Mike Rapsys Sophomore Naperville North
Thomas Kaminky Sophomore Naperville North
Liam Kujawski Sophomore Naperville North
Matt Stahulak Sophomore Naperville North
Joe Hanneman Sophomore Neuqua Valley
Dylan Engler Freshman Oswego
Jacob Gabreleski Sophomore Plainfield North
Michael Gabreleski Sophomore Plainfield North
Noah Howard Sophomore St. Francis
Quinn Kubiak Sophomore St. Francis
Davis Walker Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Larry Spires Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Jonathan Starks Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Mason Riebe Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Jared Crutcher Sophomore West Aurora
Brad Turner Sophomore Yorkville
Khari Smith Sophomore

Freshman BOYS

Cameron Kalmas Freshman Aurora Central Catholic
Matthew Kickel Freshman Benet Academy
Mark Riley Freshman DePaul Prep
Noah May Freshman Downers Grove North
Miles Moore Freshman IMSA
J.D. O’Bryan Freshman Joliet Catholic
Manny Hess Freshman Metea Valley
Colin Szczesny Freshman Metea Valley
Evan Churchill Freshman Metea Valley
Jackson Tan Freshman Metea Valley
Brandon Sfikas Freshman Metea Valley
Donnie Minor Freshman Montini Catholic
Patrick Zeng Freshman Naperville Central
Tim Dalton Freshman Naperville North
Bo Richter Freshman Naperville North
Anthony Eddy Freshman Neuqua Valley
Justin Blazek Freshman Neuqua Valley
Brendan Readus Freshman Neuqua Valley
Cameron Sulzer Freshman Neuqua Valley
Hayden Castle Freshman Oswego
Griffin Stiles Freshman Oswego
Cameron Knauss Freshman Oswego East
Gerard Shipp Freshman Oswego East
Jonathan Rukujzo Freshman Plainfield Central
Harin Venkatachalam Freshman Plainfield East
Dylan Ichiba Freshman Plainfield North
Ethan Patel Freshman Plainfield North
Craig Ott Freshman Plainfield South
Kevin Kaschke Freshman St. Charles East
Tyler Czerniak Freshman St. Charles North
Quinten Otto Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Caymen Woods Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Matthew Brend Freshman Wheaton North
Sam Hacker Freshman Wheaton North
Matt Tomasek Freshman Wheaton North


M14 High School Players (2014-15 Season)

Emily Eshoo Senior Benet Academy Bradley University (2015)
Allison Hansen Senior Glenbard East
Lisa Logan Senior Metea Valley
Bryce Menendez Senior Neuqua Valley Lehigh University (2015)
Erin Sinnot Senior Oswego University of Evansville (2015)
Faith Suggs Senior Homewood-Flossmoor Duke University (2015)
Shea Bayram Junior Batavia
Emma Bedeker Junior Morris
Cami Bilardello Sophomore Naperville North
Taylor Drozdowski Junior Rosary
Mia Farrell Junior Joliet Catholic
Hannah Frazier Junior Batavia
Sophia Fumagalli Junior Naperville North
Brianna Hall Sophomore Metea Valley
Bryana Hopkins Junior Fremd
Alex Johnston Sophomore Aurora Central Catholic
Catilin Kennedy Junior Naperville North
Cheyenne Krehl Junior Metea Valley
Audrey Macciomei Sophomore Yorkville
McKenzie Mansholt Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Gina Offerman Junior Sandburg High School
Laurel Pereira Junior Naperville North
Lauren Platou Freshman Naperville North
Cilycia Pope Junior Naperville North
Samantha Pryor Junior Burlington Central
Nina Scaramella Junior Lyons Township
Ezgi Ulger Junior Neuqua Valley
Jnaya Walker Sophomore Joliet Catholic
Megan Will Junior Benet Academy
Jordon Kedrowski Senior Downers Grove North
Austin Pauga Senior IMG Academy (FL) Northern Illinois (2015)
Josh Ruggles Senior Wheaton Warrenville South Grace College (2015)
Jalyn Adams Junior Plainfield East
Mike Bibbs Junior West Chicago
Tai Bibbs Sophomore West Chicago
Devin Blake Junior Downers Grove North
Derrick Chaney Junior Oswego
Ryan Cohen Junior Hinsdale Central
Brian Dalton Junior Naperville North
Carter Eberhardt Junior Batavia
Harrison Hallstrom Junior Naperville Central
Jared Lenoir Junior Joliet Catholic
EJ McLaren Junior West Aurora
Ryan Ricken Junior Oswego
Larry Roberts Junior Minooka
Joseph Sieger Junior Neuqua Valley
Zack Smith Freshman Aurora Central Catholic
London Stamps Freshman Romeoville
John Kalen Starkey Senior Glenbard West
Zion Young Freshman Merrillville (IN)
Jahnavi Challagonda Sophomore Metea Valley
Brenna Clausen Freshman Oswego
Aaliyah Johnson Sophomore Metea Valley
Sarah Miranda Sophomore Metea Valley
Deszarai Tate Sophomore Plainfield South
Elysse Trembley Sophomore Yorkville
Brooklyn Wilson Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Michael Chinn Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Cameron Harris Sophomore Bolingbrook
Jaelon Hood Freshman St. Joseph’s
Michael Hood Sophomore
Thomas Kaminky Freshman St. Francis
Justin Mansholt Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Justin Mullinax Sophomore Waubonsie Valley
Jack Peacock Sophomore Aurora Christian
Mike Pryor Sophomore West Aurora
Valentino Rivera Sophomore Plainfield East
Jake Ronnenberg Freshman Benet Academy
John Salinas Sophomore Minooka
Marcus Shugarman Sophomore Oswego
Noah Swope Sophomore Naperville Central
Jayson Thornton Sophomore Plainfield North
Kameron Williams Sophomore Plainfield Central
Ben Young Freshman West Aurora
Kara Aloisio Freshman Yorkville
Francesca Anicteo Freshman Bolingbrook
Jahnari Byrdlong Freshman Montini Catholic
Reese Gorshe Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Jada Harvey Freshman Neuqua Valley
Camryn James Freshman Lake Park
Mia Lakstigala Freshman Naperville Central
Abby Larsen Freshman Minooka
Lexie Moore Freshman Geneva
Jenna Roberts Freshman Minooka
Tim Bandara Freshman Metea Valley
Mike Brown Freshman Metea Valley
Ryan Crimmins Freshman Kaneland
Max Cussans Freshman Metea Valley
Wilson Daghfal Freshman Wheaton Academy
Jacob Gabreleski Freshman Plainfield North
Michael Gabreleski Freshman Plainfield North
Dallas Gooch Freshman Metea Valley
Malik Hall Freshman Metea Valley
DJ Hagen Freshman
Brad Hartje Freshman Metea Valley
Caleb Hoogerheide Freshman Wheaton Academy
Sam Horvath Freshman Benet Academy
Charlie Horvath Freshman Benet Academy
Noah Howard Freshman St. Francis
Dylan Johnson Freshman Geneva
Quinn Kubiak Freshman St. Francis
Liam Kujawski Freshman Naperville North
Matt La Montagna Freshman Glenbard South
David Lacey Freshman Bolingbrook
Max Matan Freshman Geneva
Tyler O’Brien Freshman Naperville Central
Mike Rapsys Freshman Naperville Central
Tyler Rutledge Freshman Naperville Central
Khari Smith Freshman
Caleb Snyder Freshman Geneva
Jonathan Starks Freshman Neuqua Valley
Nick Stokes Freshman Waubonsie Valley
Brad Turner Freshman Yorkville















Explosive Handles: Dynamic Edition Video 1 Sneak Preview

The Dynamic Edition of Explosive Handles is almost here! Our Explosive Handles series are a set of basketball drills focused on improving ball handling and footwork. These drills will challenge a player’s ball handling ability, as well as their footwork, stamina, and desire to improve as a player. These workouts are quick and convenient, which allows players to work on their game even when they don’t have a hoop!

The first video is focused on stationary ball handling and change moves. Drills will start out basic and get more complex as the video progresses. As players follow along with the workout they will find it more and more challenging to keep up!  In a few short weeks, players will start to notice the payoff from their hard work!

The video below is a sneak preview of two basketball drills that are on video 1 of Explosive Handle’s Dynamic Edition. The drills in the video are  a staple of M14’s program when it comes to ball handling. The first drill is a change behind the back where the player has to start with a pound dribble outside of their foot and push the ball behind their back. The second drill is a change between the legs where the player has to start with a pound dribble outside of their and push the ball between their legs. Each basketball drill in the set of videos will have its own tutorial on how to do the move properly for players who may not know how, so they will be able to follow along with the trainers in the video and walk through the moves.

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$10 Ball Handling Clinic -Don’t Miss Out-

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Are you looking for skills to help prepare your player??? Then come join M14Hoops at it’s annual $10 Ball Handling Clinic! This is a great way for players to get professional instruction with their ball handling. The intense 90-minute workout will encourage players to get outside their comfort zone and push themselves to the limit. It will also teach them the proper technique and footwork associated with each drill which will make it easier for them to work on their game while at home! The goals of the session are for players to get a great workout and learn different ways to increase their ball handling skills! Sign up today!!!

Skills that we will be working on:

  • Stationary Ball Handling
  • Footwork
  • Advanced 1on1 Attack Moves
  • Change of Direction
  • And More!!!

Click HERE to sign up!

Basketball Intangibles

Basketball Intangibles Elevate the Great from the Good

Intangibles: not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch

What are basketball intangibles? If you follow college or professional basketball you’ve more than likely heard someone refer to a player’s “intangibles”. But what does that mean? Male and female athletes in general are always graded by physical attributes such as speed, strength, or size because these are much easier to see and track with metrics.

Intangibles are the opposite of physical characteristics: They are the qualities of a player that often go unnoticed by the untrained eye and are relatively difficult to keep track of.

However, basketball intangibles heavily affect the outcome of not just games, but entire seasons. With this being said, intangibles are obviously an important part of a player’s game and without a doubt the most neglected. This is simply because most intangibles are not cool; they often don’t have a column in the box score nor do they have a segment at the end of SportsCenter. But that stuff is for the people who are on the outside looking in. Intangibles are cool to a true hooper. They are cool to that college coach recruiting five different players for one spot on the team.

Whether you are a player or a parent, by the time you have finished reading this series of posts you should definitely be looking at each workout, practice, and game through a new lens.

Basketball Intangibles #1: Love What You Are Doing

So what are some of these basketball intangibles and how do I work on them? Well first, there is an umbrella that they all fall under and that umbrella is love. You have to love the game. You have to eat, sleep, and breathe it.  You have to constantly be around it and want to get better. These skills known as basketball intangibles aren’t all necessarily something you can work on like your ball handling. You have to pick some of them up piece by piece from experiences you have with basketball. You have to earn them.  Others come from good coaching and training. They can be taught as a concept, but will only transfer from teacher to player if the player fully buys into his teacher.

Basketball Intangibles #2: Have Mental Toughness

The first of the Basketball Intangibles that I think every player must have, if they want to be successful in the game of basketball, is mental toughness. If you have read Coach Nick’s blog post on mental toughness you know that, among other things, mental toughness is your ability to recover from a mistake.

You are going to make mistakes. What matters the most is how you play after you make those mistakes. If your mistake becomes three mistakes then it is evident you need more mental toughness.

Mental toughness is also your ability to push through tough situations even when you feel you may not be able to. Once you get to a certain level of your basketball career, tough situations become the norm. Only the mentally tough survive. Your coach will push you to the brink to test your limits because it is most likely you have never gone that far before. Players who are not mentally tough are often afraid of the temporary pain and suffering that they must go through to become successful. Long story short, they are not ready to play and contribute at a competitive or high level.

So how do you get more mentally tough? The first step is to understand that things that have already happened cannot be changed. You have to learn from your mistakes and move on because the game keeps going.  Dwelling on a mistake will take your mind out of the game which will result in your body getting taken out of the game when the coach benches you. Shake it off and get your head into the next play.

Basketball Intangibles #3: Be Your Own Motivator

The next step is to be your own motivator. No matter the situation, you have to mentally keep telling yourself positive things to keep you on track.

Negative thoughts will lead to negative outcomes. If you shoot an airball tell yourself “I’ve got the next one.” If you turn the ball over on a bad pass, calm down and think, “that won’t happen again.” Letting small mistakes get to you will eventually deteriorate your confidence. Assess the error quickly in your head and re-focus on your next objective. This is by no means easy, but it is necessary if you want to prolong your basketball career.

The lack of mental toughness is probably one of the driving forces behind the rarity of high-level players. If you can leap this hurdle you have opened the door to many other valuable intangibles.

Basketball Intangibles #4: Demonstrate Consistency

Mental toughness is the key to many doors in the game of basketball. One of those doors is consistency – The ability to come into a game and perform night in and night out rain, shine, or zombie apocalypse.  Consistency doesn’t just mean averaging 20 points per game. Don’t get me wrong, if you can average 20 points per game you’re not in bad shape. However, consistency goes a bit deeper than the box score.

  • Do you set good screens EVERY TIME?
  • Do you box your man out?
  • Do you sprint back on defense after every missed shot?

If you can find a way to be consistent you are every coaches dream because they know exactly what they are going to get from you any time you are on the floor. I have heard some players ask, “How is that guy at a high major school? He doesn’t do anything!” If you look closer you will see that he does EVERYTHING. Talent can only get you so far in this sport. Eventually, your talent level will tap out. If you don’t bring something else to the table you may find that the guy on your team with less talent but more consistency will be playing over you.

Basketball intangible consistency

So how do you become a consistent player? Details!

If you train with us at M14 Hoops you have heard us say it a million times: YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS!

Setting up your cut, sprinting low, shoulder-to-shoulder, hands ready, call for the ball, inside pivot, jump straight up and shoot!

That is the formula for the proper way to come off of a screen and shoot. Now how many times a game do you do that and complete every step in that formula? That is consistency and that is how you have to develop it.

Pay more attention to details and you will find yourself becoming a more dependable and consistent player.

Practice makes perfect! Or close, I guess. Nobody will ever be perfect, but when you are in practice or working out on your own, your goal should be to complete every drill near perfect.

Again, these are difficult intangibles to attain because you must first have mental toughness and then you must be able to execute over and over again without failure.The next time you watch or play a basketball game start figuring out how to initiate a shift in your basketball intangibles. Put your mental toughness to the test. Go as hard as you can for one whole workout and see where you stand. Don’t be afraid of fatigue or failure. Go at them head on and see who wins the battle. If you lose, big deal do it again until you win. Once you win you should never lose again. That will help build your mental toughness and your consistency. It will be a process, but it will be well worth the journey.

See you in the gym!

Basketball Player Profiles – The Floor General

Player Profiles – The Floor General aka Point Guards

The Floor General aka Point GuardsThe next player up in our series of Player Profiles is the Floor General, also called Point Guards. Floor Generals have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities that fall into their job description and require many traits to be truly successful. With this in mind, the most important of those traits is their ability to be a “coach on the floor”, which is where the term “Floor General” comes from.  In this post I will briefly cover some key characteristics of great point guards and how you can start assuming the role of Floor General on your team!


The best point guards are often the most vocal basketball players. Since the Floor General must be the coach on the floor, he or she must continuously communicate with the coaches, then constantly relay orders from the coach to the rest of the team out on the floor. In each game or practice, coaches will state a list of goals or assignments for their team to carry out. The Floor General must know these goals and constantly keep their team focused on them. If you watch college basketball you will notice that point guards are constantly huddling their team up to discuss what is currently going on in the game and what needs to happen in the upcoming possessions. It is a team sport, so everyone must be on the same page. That starts with the Floor General.


The scary thing about point guards is that they have a huge influence on the turnout of a game. Their play can sometimes make or break a team during competition. One of the ways a Floor General can make sure he or she helps their team dominate the competition is understanding their own team’s personnel. For example, if you know you have a teammate that can really shoot, it would be wise to try and set them up for a long ball when the other team is in a zone. Or, if one of your teammates is on fire you need to get them the ball every trip down the floor.

Understanding tendencies of teammates is also very important. One teammate may run straight to the corner in transition for the three, while another may run the lane and cut it in for a lob. Knowing the difference between these two players is often the result of a highlight play or a costly turnover. If a mistake is made, make sure you pull that teammate aside and discuss what happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.


Well this one is a no brainer. Point guards are the team’s primary ball handler so they must be able to handle the ball.  Now ball handling means a lot more than the moves you see in Explosive Handles.  For point guards, pressure is expected as they bring the ball and set up the team’s offense.  This means protecting the ball while changing speeds under control with eyes up. The team depends on the point guard to get the offense initiated and flowing.

Passing goes hand-in-hand with ball handling, so to speak. The team relies on the primary ball handler to distribute the ball and create opportunities for other players to score. Passes must be delivered on time with no deflections and have to be catch-able as well. I have watched numerous high school games this winter and seen so many missed opportunities to score easy baskets just because someone can’t throw a simple skip pass on target. The ability to pass with either hand is a must. If a scouting report says that a player has difficulty passing in a certain direction you can bet the other team is going to force them to pass that way.


The most elite point guards rarely turn the ball over. They make great decisions and handle the ball under complete control. They understand when to break their defender down off of the dribble and get to the cup, or when to hit the roll man off of a ball screen.  The best point guards know when it is time to push the ball up the floor after a rebound or slow the drive down and burn time off the clock. Making easy plays is a staple of great point guards. You should never try to make a highlight play. The highlight should be the result of making the easiest play possible.

After reading all this you are most likely thinking, “Wow! How do I become a Great Floor General? There’s a lot to remember!” Well here are some things you should focus on to start the process of becoming a solid point guard:


Yeah! I said it! Practice passing! Go to the gym and practice throwing passes at a wall. Try to hit the same spot repetitively with two hands, your right hand, and your left hand.


Your ability to bring the ball up the court against pressure or break people down off of 1-on-1 moves is crucial to being an effective Floor General. Try regular one ball dribbling drills as well as two balls to increase your ability to multitask. Explosive handles shows you the ones you need to know and will make you a better player if you are dedicated. Great points guards POUND the ball. You must dribble as hard as you can when you working on ball handling.


Point guards have to be in incredible shape. They play a majority of the game. Point guards are also constantly either bringing the ball up the floor or defending the other point guard. Running sprints or doing full court dribbling drills are great ways to make sure you are in Floor General shape!


Great Floor Generals are great defenders. Their job is to pester the other team’s point guard effecting the flow and continuity of their offense. A good point guard exhibits defense end leadership to “rally the troops” and tighten the playing up. Stop dribble-penetration and on-ball defense need to be a central part of the workout. Expect to get ball-screened. Plan for it, learn to defend the pick and roll. DEFEND WITHOUT FOULING! This is very important.  A team with their premier point guard sitting on the bench because of a foul is a team that isn’t going to win.


Be a leader on your team. Pay attention to details.  Study the game.  Make the easy plays. These are great ways to improve your intangibles. Intangibles are the mental side of basketball. Your focus has to be consistent throughout practices, games, and even workouts to improve in this area. Great Floor Generals truly understand how to play the game. They are controlled, patient, and understand when to score and when to help others score.


To keep teams honest, point guards need to be able to score. Practice making layups, attack moves, and make sure you can shoot. If you can penetrate and get easy layups, that will open up the floor for everyone else. If you can stroke it from long range, you just added another element to your team that the opposition has to worry about.


As I stated above there are many more characteristics of effective point guards. The topics covered in this post are definitely not the only defining traits of a Floor General, but they are some of the most important. Start paying attention to these things the next time you practice or play with your team. What do you do well? What do you need to work on? See if you can become an effective Floor General for your team!

The Player Profiles blog series will continue next month with the Stretch 4-Man. See you in the gym!

– Bobby Catchings