Life lessons can be found in many places. Over the years many Hoop Dreams players were given so much more than basketball training and workouts, they were part of something bigger. They were part of a team that expanded outside of the gym doors with friendships and a unique connection that could only be found through getting through workouts together. Chris Herren and the Hoop Dreams team mentored many who came into the gym and taught them to embrace challenges, overcome obstacles and to push themselves to be better. The results were impressive with many going on to play at the next level and even professionally, but the impact is immeasurable and will be felt for years to come.

We recently asked a few players to share their thoughts on their time in the gym, what they remembered most and what piece of advice or lesson they would share.

“In my years training under Chris Herren in the Hoop Dreams gym, I remember not necessarily the specific drills, but the intensity of every session. I remember doing a countless number of “seventeens” and the dreaded conditioning drills at the end. Each session was non-stop and would always push us further than we ever thought that we could be pushed. Training in this gym has taught me the value of hard work, dedication and that you really can accomplish anything if you are willing to push yourself. It also taught me the value and power of building relationships that I know will be lifelong friendships.

After high school, I continued my education at the University of Rhode Island. I decided that I wanted to try out for the women’s basketball team, so I started to train again with Hoop Dreams. I accomplished my goal and walked on to a Division 1 program in 2016. Today, I continue to use what I learned from Chris and the Hoop Dreams program and I help coach the Rogers High School girls’ basketball team.

One lesson that I have learned from working with and for the Hoop Dreams gym is the power of paying it forward. Chris Herren took the time and energy to improve my basketball game and to help me cope with adversity. He believed in my dream and never gave up on me. Now that I am older, I know that it is very important for me to take what I learned in this program and help the next generation. It has been quite a journey!”Josie Chaves

“I learned that you can always be pushed a lot harder than you think. Just to try to be the best you can be on and off the court, in all aspects of life. Hard work gave me the opportunity to play in front of many college coaches and earning a scholarship from Wichita State University where I will be attending next June.”Noah Fernandes

“Chris always pushed me to be the best I could be and instilled in me to be myself on and off the court. If it wasn’t for chris and putting the time in I would not of went on to play division 2 college basketball and start every single game of my 4-year career. The biggest lesson I learned was what you put into something is what you get out of it. If you work hard and believe in yourself you’ll reach your goals.”Kate McDonald

“Chris taught me to never give up no matter the situation. That anything is possible. If you are persistent and relentless you will prevail no matter the endeavor or obstacle presented in front of you. I was able to receive a scholarship to play basketball in college. I received my bachelor degree in international business. I have been accepted to MBA program for Fall of 2019.“ – Spencer Bode

As we look to 2019 and celebrating 10 years of impacting lives on and off the basketball court, we are grateful for Chris’s willingness to share and the resolve to use his life experience to reach JUST ONE and make a difference.