Schueler, Leads PhD Hoops 2021 Los Angeles Skills Tour

PhD Hoops Los Angeles Skills Tour, Kobe Bryant Mural (Photo by Elizabeth Beristain)

“You can use basketball as a vehicle to do so many different things,” PhD Hoops founder Richie Schueler said. “Basketball is a way to teach kids maturity, accountability, teamwork, and working together in a group.”

Schueler holds a plethora of key professional tools serving as a former college basketball player, 10-year college basketball coach, and current basketball analyst for the ESPN Family of Networks and Fox Sports.

PhD Hoops third annual travel skills tour took place July 29 – August 4 in Los Angeles as experienced coaches worked on skill development with young players and shined light on cultural education.

Before COVID, travel tour’s locations included Europe and the Caribbean Island of Barbados, hosting camps as well as coaching clinics.

August 2, 2021 Hawthorne, CA
PhD Hoops Basketball skills session, Photo session at the Betty Ainsworth Sports Center in Hawthorne, California.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Louis Lopez/Modern Exposure

“When we do these travel tours, it’s just more than basketball,” Schueler added.

The group featured 30 players and 10 staff members from over 20 plus states that enjoyed unique experiences in the city including visiting the Manhattan Beach Pier, Venice Beach, and a day of watching Drew League basketball among other places and events.

Players ranged between the ages of 13-23 and some were able to participate in the High School Basketball All-American Showcase against other young talented competition.

“The trip was amazing, I got to meet new people from across America and learn about their backgrounds,” said Damariae Sawyer, PhD Hoops traveling participant. “It truly was a humbling experience for me, knowing that some of these guys are raised in bad environments. It allowed me to understand that there are people out here truly dedicated to getting themselves out of not so good situations.”

Kellan Rush, traveling participant (Photo by Devyn Billingsley)

Coaches led a 3-hour skills session that allowed players to watch film and tutorial videos before hitting the court looking to display those on hand skills.

Players were selected through a considerable Player Application with roster spots being limited, allowing in depth development for each athlete.

“The moment the players do one of the moves they learned, and it works, the look on their face is astonishing,” said Jerrod Gamble, PhD Hoops skills coach. “They feel, and I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

“PhD Hoops had several coaches which helped give a different perspective to each of our players,” Gamble added. “This supported our highly skilled players and also our players that were just at their beginning stages.”

The group of players enjoyed other excursions such as visiting Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and LACMA Urban Lights.

“The trips were honestly the best part,” said Sawyer. “It’s a big difference seeing it from a T.V. screen and reality.”

“Many players coming from across the country allowed [the players] to learn about different cultures and trade one another on different skills,” said Gamble.

Damariae Sawyer, traveling participant (Photo by Devyn Billingsley)

Towards the end of the tour, players continued to apply their new skills to the hardwood and began to build relationships that can last a lifetime.

“It was really a fun experience,” said Kellan Rush, PhD Hoops traveling participant. “I learned a lot of new drills and skills and made meaningful connections with players and coaches from different backgrounds.”

“The coaches were excellent, they understood us as individuals,” said Sawyer. “They looked out for us, made sure we had everything and took care of us.”

The 2022 Los Angeles Skills Tour is already taking applications for next summer looking to grow in all aspects of travel tours, skill development and coaches’ clinics as well.

More details can be found at PhD Hoops Travel Tours.