50 All-Stars is a California nonprofit youth basketball organization centralized in Moraga, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and surrounding areas. We operate year-round and specialize in player development and training utilizing the following categories: Workouts • Team Practices • Private Sessions • Open Gyms • Games • Conditioning • Combines • Clinics • Camps • 4-7 Year Olds • Tryouts

Newsletter #6

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January 1st, 2018The Official Newsletter of 50 All-Stars BasketballIssue #6

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BECOMING PROS AT THIS
Happy New Years! 2017 was by far our most grueling year ever in terms of working hard and going beyond what fate has seemingly defined as our limits. That's the truest battle we face, actually... FATE! Only a select few people on earth are meant to be seriously high level basketball players, and it hurts when you go against the hand you're dealt. But we still fight, and we've fought extremely well. Because of our hard work, several of our players are at the top of their class. 2017 was great, but I'm positive that 2018 will be even better!
NEW HALL OF FAMERS

NEW HALL OF FAMERS: THE KOTARBA BROTHERS!

We'd like to welcome both Calvin and Derek Kotarba into our HALL OF FAME!!! As an added bonus, we've created a workout designed for both of them to add to our other hall of fame workouts. Be sure to try them out for yourself.

The Kotarba boys have done it all for our program. They've set several of our combine records, been in our program for years, they're #1 & #2 on our all-time attendance list, and they've improved more than just about any two kids I've ever met.

Definitely a bit pooped after this marathon of a year, but the way they finished was gold. Both of them reached a point in their skill level that 99% of basketball players on earth could only dream of. Derek going 11-19 from the 3-point arc in one game and Calvin going 10-12 from the arc in another single game were truly milestone stats that could only be accomplished by years of hard work.

I know I've said it before, but I couldn't be more proud of how much of their hearts these two have given. Officially welcoming them into our hall of fame is one of the greatest joys of my life. Thank you Calvin and Derek!

WHAT IT TAKES TO GO PRO

WHAT IT TAKES TO GO PRO

As with each passing year, we attempt to step up our game yet another notch. This upcoming year will be no exception. We've recently been joined by a very special young player by the name of Finley Chastain, who is an extremely high-skilled 4th grade girl who has the ability to hang with even the best 8th grade boys in town. She's definitely one of those rare players destined to play pro, depending on whether she can sustain her current pace of course.

Having her help our 4th grade boys win games is nice, watching her extend her talents in her efforts to play against older players is a treat, but what she provides us by way of pure example on a daily basis practice after practice is invaluable. She's by far one of the most professional people I've ever met, and I'm dead set on getting as many of our players as I can to follow in her pre-destined footsteps.

Our latest challenge is my most difficult yet, and it's definitely one that I might've even failed myself while growing up. Very few items on our professionalism worksheet are "impossible", but the level of focus it would take to consistently accomplish even the smallest of these tasks is what makes Finley so great.

You can find this link by clicking the 6-word quote at the bottom of our site to scroll down to the PROFESSIONALISM portion of that page, but note that this is something only a truly special player can accomplish. So far we've had about 20 players attempt the challenge, and all but one have already faltered. The one still going... Finley Chastain.

THE "EXPLICIT" LANGUAGE I USE

THE "EXPLICIT" LANGUAGE I USE

I've been known to use profanity on occasion during games, but mostly to get a rise out of our older players on the brink of mental collapse. So when a parent told me she didn't like the language I used in front of her 6 year old child, I had to quickly think long and hard about if I slipped up. The next phrase from her mouth, however, shed some light on the situation. The "explicit" language she was referring to were the words "NBA" and "professional". She basically said she didn't want me filling her kid's head with nonsense, and we haven't seen her or her child since.

That was the most insane talk I've ever had with a parent, as inspiring kids beyond belief is my main objective. We're dreamers... and we must continue to dream if we are to invigorate ourselves to work as hard as we're able. It's fun to dream. Dreams are what make life worth living. I will never stop hinting and telling and screaming to our players that they can reach their dreams. If I were an inner city teacher of a kid with a drug addict for a mom and a convicted criminal for a dad, I wouldn't even humor the notion of telling that kid she couldn't become a doctor or lawyer.

I love realism just as much as the next guy, but realistically basketball does our lives very little good if we approach this passion of ours with a low bar for success. We get the most out of this and we're more apt to pass the lessons learned from this by truly giving our all and having enormous dreams. So yea... As profane as that might seem to some people, that's the only language I know.

2018 ELITE TEAM STARTS NOW!

2018 ELITE TEAM STARTS NOW!

We made it! 2017's elite team is over with, and I'm quite proud of the many players who made it through the entire year. Frankly speaking, we're not the top 1% of youth basketball players who were born with the drive to play hours a day all year long regardless of how tired they get... But many of us have done just that.

And now it's time to make way for 2018's elite team. Friday January 5th at 7pm at Seven Hills School is our first TEAM PRACTICE. We'll be handing out jerseys and a few other things, we'll discuss strategy a bit, we'll workout, and we'll play. As great as playing basketball was for me while growing up, the first day of practice receiving all our gear always stood out as something like Christmas. So, before we set out on the long year's journey, join us for our little basketball holiday this Friday. I'll bring the gifts! :-)

4th GRADE FOCUS: GIOVANNI TEAMES

4th GRADE FOCUS: GIOVANNI TEAMES

Giovanni Teames is actually a 3rd grader right now, but we like to prepare our kids for the summer by promoting grade levels starting in January. Goal being to dominate their actual grade level locally come September. Gio is a kid with TONS of swag and heart and a lot of skill that combined really come in handy playing a year up like we have him constantly do. Here's this quarter's FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR FOURTH GRADE FOCUS:

Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF OUR PROGRAM? A. It's very HARDCORE!

Q. WHICH PLAYER IN OUR PROGRAM DO YOU LOOK UP TO THE MOST? A. Ian Salmon, because of his intensity.

Q. WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO DO A MORNING BOOT CAMP? A. Yes, but when I get older. Right now my mom won't let me.

Q. ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT 2018'S ELITE TEAM? A. Yes, because we get to travel.

WE'VE GOT VOLUNTEERS!!!

WE'VE GOT VOLUNTEERS!!!

50 All-Stars continues to grow, and that growth has been putting a strain on my organizational abilities for quite some time now. With each successful event that passes, I take pride in all our extremely small staff has been able to accomplish. But, at the same time, I know these events could be even more amazing if I had time to put 100% of my focus and attention into each and every one. This is where our volunteers come in.

This year we're trying something new. I have 12 parent volunteers who will be splitting up some of my many duties. Each will be in charge of something like one of our 4 yearly fundraiser parties, booking our hotels & flights, or welcoming new members into our program. I've further divided their new gigs into 12 pieces and have set up an automatic monthly email reminder for them to do a small piece of their puzzle. With everyone working for just a few minutes each month, this year's events will undoubtedly be monstrously better than past years.

I'd like to welcome and publicly thank each of these wonderful volunteers!! I'm excited to see what amazing things you have in store for us :-)

2017'S AWARD CEREMONY

2017'S AWARD CEREMONY

The end of the year brings our Awards Ceremony. Honoring our top 50 players is awesome because of a few reasons: 1) To see all their hard work receive acknowledgement is inspiring, 2) Meeting as a group in a strictly fun way is invigorating, and 3) the worst part about basketball depending on being genetically gifted disappears as we only take into account how often one has shown up throughout the year.

This ceremony was highlighted by a rousing fight song by real estate extraordinaire Jennifer Devinney, by our amazing top 10, by Calvin Kotarba lighting up both the free throw contest and 3-point contest narrowly defeating Landon Fly in both, and by Devan Mohanty winning our "1-year free membership" raffle.

As always, we had a ton of fun. These kids inspire me each and every day, but what's happened this year is the parents have also stepped up in their efforts to provide so much for their kids in allowing them to pursue this passion of theirs. It's far too easy to dismiss a kid's passions and dreams as whimsical or fickle, but our parents are some of the special ones that actually believe in their kids believing in themselves. That belief and mindset and love might not equate to an NBA contract, but it will definitely follow your relationships throughout the many subsequent successes their lives now undoubtedly have to offer. You guys are AMAZING!

2018 FUNDRAISER PARTIES

2018 FUNDRAISER PARTIES

I've tweaked 2018's fundraiser parties to be a lot more straightforward and a bit more fun. Take a look at what we have in store by visiting this page, and be sure to mark those dates on your calendar.

Not only do these events allow us to continue onward financially, they are ESSENTIAL to the psyche of our players who are attempting to keep pace with the Steph Currys and Kobe Bryants of the world. Making this quest as fun as possible is our way of giving their minds and bodies the much needed boost to keep pace with their dreams.

The page also lists what we use the money for, and the variety of fun tidbits we have planned for each event. There's a different volunteer and sponsor for all 4 parties, so be prepared to be wowed :-)

NEAR PERFECT GYM TIME

NEAR PERFECT GYM TIME

Not having our own gym SUCKS! It's the main hurdle everyone told me about when I initially started down this road. While I'm not saying we have it completely solved, I will say that we're extremely close to figuring out the puzzle.

Through the several contacts I've established over the years and my steady email harassment of said contacts, we somehow had gym time 92% of the days throughout the 2017 year. Compare that to the 60% mark we had our first and the 78% average we've had the past 3 years and the lower than 20% mark other programs purposely have, and I can honestly say we've done everything outside of building our own gym.

Now I know jumping around from place to place and having random hours on occasion isn't ideal, but keeping my word to you to develop each and every player to the best of our abilities is the greatest feeling on earth. Because of the hours we put in on a daily basis, no other program can hold a candle to us.