A golden opportunity to teach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Hoops Camp participants Zack Parker, Grant Holley, Kemen Cross, Will Clark and Sarah O’Brien practice dribbling with two basketballs Tuesday morning. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

When the opportunity arose to teach a basketball camp at Andalusia Middle School, Alabama Basketball Academy (ABA) President and CEO Scott Stapler took it.

Stapler will conclude the two-day Thanksgiving Hoops Camp today at AMS, where boys and girls ages 7-14, and 15-and-up learn skill development for shooting, ball handling, foot work and other fundamentals of the game.

“I had a chance to come down here,” Stapler said. “With my wife (the former Amy Kyle) being from here, we’ve always wanted to have a camp in Andalusia, but we never could find the right time.”

Stapler said his mother-in-law, AMS teacher Linda Kyle, said she thought there would be some interest in the camp this week.

“I think it’s fun for me to teach the kids about basketball,” Stapler said. “Fundamentals — that’s what’s lacking. All of these kids that have the chance to become good players are learning early.”

As CEO of ABA, Stapler works with players from age 7 to high school, to college and even professional players during the off season.

He’s worked with everyone from Chicago Bulls first-round draft pick Jimmy Butler to members of the Junior All-American team.

Stapler was a member of two Class 6A state championship teams at Grissom High School in Huntsville, where his father Ronnie, was the head coach. Ronnie is entering is 44th season as a coach at Randolph School in Huntsville.

After playing in college, Stapler coached with three Division 1 schools, and worked with coach Cliff Ellis at Coastal Carolina University.

Thanksgiving Hoops Camp instructor Scott Stapler teaches how to dribble with two basketballs at once. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

After 13 years coaching in Division 1, Stapler came back home to Alabama to become the new CEO of ABA, and to have more time with his kids, who are 4, 2 and 4 months in age.

“It gave me a chance to come back home and have my own schedule,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it.”

Stapler has been with the ABA for three years.

There will be skills sessions from 8:30 a.m. until 9:45 a.m., and from 10 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. for players ages 7-11, and who are in middle school and high school.

From 12:30 p.m. until 1:45 p.m., a shooting session will take place.

The cost is $20 per 75-minute skill development session, and $10 per 60-minute shooting session.

To register or for more information, contact Stapler at 256-604-0101, or by email at scott@ababball.com, or Ricky Kyle at 222-1741.

Stapler said in the end, it’s all about the players.

“I’m starting to get a reputation around the country to help guys get better,” he said. “For me, it’s fun because you have the littlest kids to the biggest players, so you can find something to help them get better.”