High School Basketball

The newly renovated E&S High School. The Building did not look like this when I went there.

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The newly renovated E&S High School. The Building did not look like this when I went there.

“What is this ‘my fault’ stuff??!??! We KNOW it’s your fault! Everybody in the daggone GYM knows it’s your fault!!” – Coach Charlie Brown, HSES

(My full basketball story from it’s beginnings thru college — is covered in my first book “Buy A Game”)

Let’s start in high school. Well, actually, starting is something I rarely experienced until college. I started playing basketball at the age of 14, which overlapped my 8th grade and 9th grade years of schooling. I proceeded to try out for my high school bball team, and got cut, the first cuts, as a freshman. And again as a sophomore. And again as a junior (the details of that day can be rehashed here). I made the team as a senior, and played about 3 minutes per game, averaging about 2 points per game.

I did manage, however, to play for my neighborhood basketball team at Finley Playground during my 11th grade year. A dude named Baron was coaching, and he gave me my first real chance to be a difference- making player on a basketball team. I was either the first or second- leading scorer on the squad. Our team was pretty good- we made it to the finals of our league, a game in which I scored the first basket… and did not record another point. I bounced back from that, though, as I needed to do from a lot of hardwood setbacks over the years.

Finally making the team at E&S High School was big for me- it gave me some validation for all the work I had put in to become an at least respectable ballplayer. Even though I didn’t play much, having practice every day, one- on- one games with teammates, and observing the games from closeup were valuable experiences that would shape my future as a player.

Being a part of the team was fun. We cracked jokes on each other daily- before, during, and after practice, even during the games- and everybody came to respect everyone else’s contributions and abilities, to a point. There was occasional joking about who played how many minutes– i had to come up with good ammunition to retort those ones– but I was glad to finally be on the team after 3 years, so it didn’t bother me none.

As my senior year came to a close, I found my way onto a Sonny Hill League team that featured the best collection of talent that I have ever been a part of, by far. Dam near the entire Philadelphia All-City team was on the roster (there were so many good players that there were actually two teams, and we practiced together). I didn’t get much run in the games- I vividly recall scoring a total of 4 points in the games I played- but the practices were pivotal for me. By this time in my life, I knew I had the skills and talent to play on the same floor with the best payers my age, which was exactly what this was. I more than proved that to myself in the practice sessions, in which many times I could say I was the only player in the gym that everyone else in the gym didn’t know who he was. I could literally tell you the full name and school of every other guy in there, and I was holding my own, though far from being a star in that setting (I told you I only had 4 points).

Despite the fact that I hadn’t played many minutes for E&S and even fewer for Sonny Hill (I got into a game in the SH league once- at McGonigle Hall on Temple’s campus- while the other team was shooting free throws, and ended up on the low block to box out. The guy I was supposed to box out beat me for the offensive rebound and laid the ball in the basket. 10 seconds later, the coach– this guy– subbed me right back out of the game, which I did not re-enter. The crowd behind our bench had a ball with that one. The coach even took the time to trash my rebounding “efforts” in the locker room. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I knew I’d be playing college ball wherever I ended up matriculating. I had no evidence or reason to believe it, but there was no doubt in my mind.

Music of the Moment:

Figgaz 4 Life, Major Figgaz

Best Memory:

Finally being on the damned team! The endless joke-telling on each other- in practices, on bus trips, before games, after games. The most I laughed in all 4 yeahs of high school was the 4 months of basketball season.

Worst Memory:

Being a senior and playing less than damn near everybody. Not that I would’ve contributed anything if I had got in.


  1. I have jumpers knee and idk what to do about it when I jump once it just kills me the rest of the game

  2. First of all I would like to say that your videos and your story motivated work harder and longer on my game, so thanks! I am a 12 year old 7th grader with a lot ahead of me, and I was thinking how long did you practice and how did you practice?

  3. Hey Dre,
    I got cut from my middle school 7th grade basketball team a few months ago.I think that my problem is my conditioning.everyone at my school knows I’m a ballplayer. I play competitive league basketball now .I just needed some advice. By the way, great website .thanks to you I’ve gotten stronger and faster.

  4. Yo Dre, I saw the video about your highschool years of basketball , you said you played basketball all day, watch a little TV, and go to your job. I know a lot of viewers who watch you including me are in highschool in about 11 or 12th grade, we have a lot of scholarly tasks to accomplish also, it takes a huge chunk out of our day. I can’t find the balance to meet basketball the sport I love and my studies for school. I meet them half way. How did you balance your school with basketball.

    • See Guides & Tips page I wrote about this. You don’t “find” time. U have 24 hours every day. You make time for what matters to you. If it matters you will make time and if it is not important you will make an excuse. Read why I wrote on that page.

  5. Dre I’m a 6’6 freshman this year, with a decent enough vertical to do some nice dunks. In 8th grade I dominated with my size, but now that I’m in highschool (and probably will swing JV and Varsity) everybody is a lot stronger than me because I’m lanky. My highschool expects me to guard the biggest player on the other team because I’m the tallest player in the program and want me to be their center. I know if have a chance to make it to the next level than I’m going to have to develop my outside game along with my inside game. Any tips for me to work on my guard play too?

  6. Hey, amazing story im about to buy the book!

    ~Quick question: As a small forward what should i be focusing on practicing the most? (Shot, post, ball handling)

    Thanks alot, youre extremely motivational. The best is yet to come and God has a plan for you. God bless! #WOYG

    • Thanks!

      You must figure out what your fame is and practice that. No requirements by position; you are only limited by your own beliefs.

  7. What a small World Dre. I have been watching your videos for a while and I just found out that you also went to E&S Alumni. Don’t worry the building didn’t look like that when I Graduated in 2008 lol. Your videos are very good and helpful!


    P.S Did you play with Lynn Greer?

  8. Hey Dre,
    I just wanted to let you know that your videos have done so much for me. I just got cut from my schools team a few weeks ago and everyday I have been working on my game. Im a sophomore now and I am determined to not only make the team next year but to start. Thank You

  9. The high school position u were in is just like mine except i have junior tryouts in a month. Im gonna try to persuade my parents to let me get ur program. Any tips for coditioning? Should i just run alot every day?

    • Good to hear you’re working. All the workouts you need are in the Hoop Handbooks. I have a new workouts site coming soon also.

  10. this is so much like the position im in right now, i play in australia for a WABL team which is a team outside of school, you have to try out for it and ive made it for two years now, im 15 and we just got a new coach this year(you get a new coach every 2 years) and everyone was really hype about him before the season and while we played tournaments over the weekend, then the season came and thats what im relating to you. Im not a bad player by any standards, i can score, play defense, do whatever, you name it i can do it but coach never plays me, against some of the bad teams ill get half the game which is 20 minutes (full timed 40 minutes) but against the good teams, ill be lucky to get anything close to 10, i work on my game constantly, i play for my school, and two other teams apart from this one. I even did individuals with my coach at the start of the season but it hasnt done anything for my playing time. my team mates know i can score and they know im a good player but i never get on. hopefully something will change, good wedsite too, loving it

      • Just read your whole high school bio and I’m just like you this is my very 1st time on a real team I’ve been cut so many times. But made it on my jv team but as a junior and I get about 1min of play time I try my hardest and go hard in practice but ot s hard BC we have 12 players and someone is always sitting out. Any advice. I wanna get to the college lvl.

        • Keep working hard in practice and practicing on your own also to improve. It won;t happen overnight but you must stick to the plan. Good luck, keep me updated.

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