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So far Hoop Dreams has created 39 blog entries.

THE POWER OF ONE VOICE; COURAGE

Chris Herren shares his story across the country with the hope of reaching just one person. At a recent presentation in a middle school, Chris opened it up to Q&A and a student raised her hand and asked to take the microphone. With permission from the administration he handed her the microphone and she shared her story, standing in front of her peers, with tears rolling down her face. What happened next was powerful. One by one her classmates silently walked down from the bleachers and formed a hugging circle around her.

This simple act of kindness and support when it was needed most, was a powerful reminder to everyone present that “It is OK to Share Your Struggle, it is OK to Ask for Help and it is OK to Change.” – Chris Herren

PREVENTION STARTS WITH “ALL”

Chris recently spoke in Oregon and shared his message of prevention with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.

Focusing on the first day of addiction’ with former NBA player and sobriety advocate, Chris Herren
March 13, 2018 By Regence

The idea that “kids will be kids” when it comes to risky behavior is unacceptable. “Drugs and alcohol should have nothing to do with being a kid,” said former NBA player Chris Herren in front of a packed gym of students and community members at Tualatin High School, a community of 27,000 located 14 miles south of Portland.

In her introduction of Chris, Regence’s Chief Pharmacy Officer Kerry Bendel, emphasized what hidden addiction can be and how long it can take to see the effects. She said this event was meant to start a conversation about addiction that families can have around the kitchen table.

Regence was the presenting sponsor of the event as part of our ongoing effort to help decrease opioid misuse while supporting appropriate use. Regence understands the urgency of the opioid crisis in our communities and we are partnering with local organizations to create awareness about the epidemic. The event at Tualatin High School was organized by local anti-substance abuse coalitions Tualatin Together and Tigard Turns the Tide. Participants interacted with a bustling resource fair, including booths highlighting OHSU’s poison control hotline, current research and information on vaping products and opioids, and local police departments connecting with the community to show their support.

Chris’ advice to parents whose kids are found drinking or getting high is to give them a hug and ask them why. “We don’t ask why because parents don’t want the answers. And kids don’t want to talk about it.”

His talk was powerful, and he challenged the community to focus on the ‘first day’ rather than the ‘worst day’ of addiction. “Stop using the words rock bottom,” he said. “Those words are reckless.” A short, documentary-style video played before Chris took the stage, using media clips and commentary to highlight his rise and fall as a student-athlete, a player with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, and as a father. He shared with the audience his struggles with cocaine, oxycontin, and heroin addiction and emphasized, “Until we make wellness a core issue, we will always struggle with the topic of substance abuse.”

In addition to the community event, Chris spoke to two student assemblies at Tigard and Tualatin High Schools. Some students ended up in tears, asking questions and sharing their personal battles at school or at home. All three events ended with a standing ovation.

SUMMER CAMP & CLINICS

2018 “Reaching The Dream” SUMMER BASKETBALL CAMP

Designed to help players reach their basketball dreams and achieve the next level of play, this summer Chris Herren will offer one session of camp focusing on basketball fundamentals, skills and game play. Camp will include guest speakers, game strategy and developing your hoop game on and off the court. Register Today!

July 16th  – July 20th from 9:00am – 3:00pm

      Portsmouth High School New Gym, 120 Education Lane, Portsmouth, RI  

>>LEARN MORE & REGISTER<<

 


SUMMER “Total Player Development” CLINICS

Total Player Development: Summer Session

For the serious basketball player looking to bring their game to the next level, this clinic will include basketball drills, skills, ball handling, strength training and conditioning. The Total Player Development Clinic will help to refine and build basketball skills while maintaining conditioning during the off-season. Offered for three weeks in two locations: Riverside, RI and Portsmouth, RI.

Please note: This clinic is not intended for beginners.

>>LEARN MORE & REGISTER<<

 

LilChrisRosie   Frank

2018 SPRING WORKOUTS

Total Player Development Workouts: Spring Session

7 Weeks / 2 Locations

For the serious basketball player looking to bring their game to the next level, this 7-week clinic will start Monday, March 26th and end May 12th and include basketball drills, skills, ball handling, strength training and conditioning. The Total Player Development Spring Clinic will help to refine and build basketball skills while maintaining conditioning for the AAU basketball season.

Please note: This clinic is not intended for beginners. There will be workouts the week of April Vacation.

 

>>LEARN MORE & REGISTER<<

 

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ONE DREAM: BUTLER BULLDOG ANDREW CHRABASCZ

Andrew Chrabascz started in the gym working with Chris and the Hoop Dreams training team in high school. Today he is in the starting line-up for the nationally ranked Butler Bulldogs and being considered as BIG EAST Player of the Year. The journey consisted of long hours in the gym, the drive to get better and the work ethic to never settle. From a state title at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, RI to Cushing Academy and winning the NEPSAC championship to accepting a full scholarship to Butler University and scoring 1,000 points during his college career, Andrew Chrabascz has accomplished his dreams on and off the court. We are so proud to have him as part of the Hoop Dreams family.

One Dream: Andrew Chrabascz

STUDENT LETTER: THOUGHTS ON HERREN PRESENTATION

Excerpts from Letter to The Editor: Thoughts on Chris Herren

DHS Student, December 7, 2017

On Thursday November 30th, I was one of nearly 1400 Darien High School students who filed into the auditorium expecting to hear the same drug and alcohol lecture we have heard repeatedly from parents, teachers, coaches, and previous presenters.  Students awaited the usual litany of intimidating data on brain development and the statistics on alcohol-related car crashes that had been displayed on screens numerous times before. Ninety minutes later, nearly 1400 students filed out of the auditorium profoundly and unforgettably moved by the honest and often heart-wrenching words that former NBA star and recovered addict Chris Herren came to share with our community.  Aside from two presentations to the student body, Herren also spoke that evening to an audience largely composed of Darien parents.

For the days leading up to Chris Herren’s visit, talk of the event around school consisted mainly of the shortened class times and his prior profession as an NBA player. The general feeling was one of low excitement and little anticipation. A boy in my math class had even said, “I made sure my phone was charged before the assembly because I was expecting a boring presentation, but I did not even end up looking at my phone.”

Chris Herren delivered a captivating, honest, and inclusive presentation that encouraged every individual, teacher or student, freshman or senior, athlete or actor, to reflect on his or her choices. To gain some perspective on Herren’s story, a segment of Unguarded, a documentary on Herren’s life, was shown before Herren spoke.

The video included Herren’s beginning in Fall River, Massachusetts, a town centered around basketball, and followed his underlying, hidden addiction through his short career at Boston College, then to Fresno State, to the Denver Nuggets, and finally with the Boston Celtics. Certainly, the basketball highlights served as an enticement to a student body that prides itself on athletic success.  Yet, after watching this short Emmy-nominated documentary about a former NBA basketball player, the most surreal part was watching Chris Herren walk out from the side of the stage. He walked along the front row, fist bumping and shaking hands with students, and then took his place only several feet in front of the first row of seats. Rather than standing at the podium up on stage, he stood right in front of the students.  He was there with us and, for perhaps the first time in my experience as a high school student, we were all there with him.

In an auditorium filled with students, Herren articulated his hope that today he could help one single person. Herren began not by continuing the description of his life that had been told by the video but by telling the story of a girl, the same age as many of the kids in the auditorium. Seven years ago, Chris Herren walked into an auditorium, just like the one in which we were sitting, to tell his story for the first time. At the end of his talk, when Herren opened up the presentation for questions from his audience, a girl at the top of the bleachers raised her hand, but after being teased and laughed at by the kids around her, she put her hand down and insisted she did not have anything to ask. That same girl emailed Chris Herren two months later and, this time, told him her story. She had a father who was an alcoholic and a mother who was depressed. The girl told him about the cuts that lined her arms, legs, and ribs. She told him about how hard it was to be “ugly” in high school, to not wear the same clothes as everyone else, to be laughed at by the kids around her.  Herren told us that he still emails that girl every month to make sure she is doing well.  What Herren made clear to us with that young girl’s story was that his presentation was going to be much more than simply his story of drug addiction and recovery; it was our story about the choices we make and self-worth.

Throughout the entire talk, Herren used his own story as a reference and a warning.  His experiences throughout high school could have been interchangeable with the experiences of many of the students sitting in the audience. A DHS junior said that “his talk was eye opening and encouraged every student to give second thought to their choices,” whether that means on a Friday night walking down the stairs into a basement or in the school hallways.

The most valuable part of Herren’s talk came after he had talked about the kids he had met and his own high school experience.  At this point, Herren turned to us and asked students to consider whether or not they can confidently say that they are proud of who they are. Herren’s questions for those in the audience were unsettling and thought-provoking because he asked questions that many have not been asked before: Why? Why do you feel the need to get drunk with kids you have known since kindergarten? If you would not want your younger sibling or cousin or anyone who looks up to you to make the same decisions, then why is it good enough for you? And, can you look at yourself after lying to a parent and say I like who I am?

Chris Herren gave every single audience member a place in a story about overcoming adversity. Whether one had a friend, a relative, a sibling, a parent, or no one at all struggling with addiction, his message of openness and acceptance applies.  He went beyond any chart or graph, any statistic; he made every person in the audience feel as though he or she has a place in this story about believing in yourself and having the courage to do that.  Like so many others, I found myself in a daze for the last period of the day, unable to divert my thoughts from his words. Every student I have talked to went home after school and told his or her parents how amazing the experience was, or discussed in class the general feeling of awe following the presentation. A DHS Junior recalled, “the entire audience was mesmerized and utterly silent, which differed from past presentations during which students were relatively disengaged.”

Chris Herren’s talk is a call for the establishment of a permanent reminder in our town, and especially our high school, that every person has worth and that no story should have to end in tragedy.  He asked us to look beyond the labels on clothing or the appearance of someone’s face and to consider the possibility that a person’s struggles are not often visible from the outside.  Nothing changes overnight and teenagers will not suddenly be different, but I am certain that Chris Herren’s words impacted far more that a single person sitting in the audience that day.  As Chris Herren will openly admit, his legacy will not be as a legendary NBA player but instead as a recovered addict who now offers young people a chance to see their world a little differently, to perhaps make different choices, and to remember that the decisions we make need to come from a belief in ourselves rather than a desire to fit in or seem better than we are. What I realize now is not simply how powerful Herren’s message was but how ready we all were to hear it.
 

PICK-UP GAMES TO RESUME SPRING 2018

Sunday morning pick-up games will resume in the Spring of 2018. With so many small groups and individual workouts to accommodate, the Sunday morning pick-up games will start back up in the Spring of 2018.

All pick-up games will be held at the Pennfield School in Portsmouth, RI. The cost to play is $10 per player/ session of pick-up games which “tip off” at 10:00am and run until 11:30am. Join the Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren team for an informal Sunday morning set of hoop games! See you on the court!

Questions? Contact Jenny Swider at jenny@ahoopdream.com. Thank you!