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 — isΒ 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.

  11. Hey Dre,I must say this:THANK YOU!4 months ago I accidentally found your video “How to increase shooting range” and I started to watch your videos and one day I decided to use your ball handling drills and every week I was better and better and next week I will buy Ball Handling DVD and Shooting Program and I started to prove that I am the best in the team,I proved to my coach,my teammates and my family and I will continue practicing everyday and If been possible to play professionally in Europe,or maybe in the NBA.
    Gabriel from Croatia

      • Next week I will buy Ball Handling DVD and Shooting Program to improve my shooting and my ball handling ability to next level

  12. thanks dre i been playing basketball since i was 12 on a team im right know 14 turning 15 i got serious in the end of 7th grade an watched your videos sometime and i became team captain in 8th grade and now im planing to play varsity my freshman year cuz i got better handles then the point guard and when i go agiant the athelitic center i always come close to beating him i thrive to be the best and im starting to beat older guys and other highschool basketball players Thanks you motivate me and do have any tips when driving into the hole when facing a taller player

  13. hey Dre, I started practicing and playing in a basketball club 6 months ago(14 years old) and I can already notice that I’m better.Now I will practice every day during the summer vacation to become even better.Because I started to play basketball when I was 14 years old, I didn’t believe that I can become as good as you are, but now when I read that you also started playing when you were 14 years old I got more inspiration.

    Thanks man and keep up with good work πŸ™‚

      • I will, no problem.Our club will have preparations before the new school year starts.I’ll tell you how I did there.

  14. Hey Dre. Seen your videos but didn’t know you were from Philly. My family on my father’s side is from Philly. My Uncle Vince Miller (you most likely know him being from Philly) played at Overbrook with Wilt, coached Frankford High and helped start the Sonny Hill and Baker League. Are you still in the area? We live in Boston, but have family in Philly still. We visit frequently. I spent some of my summers at Temple at the camps. My little brother is 6’10” high school freshman – Jeremy Miller. He plays prep in New Hampshire. You is listed on the ESPN top 100 prospects for 2015. We have been looking for someone to train him without any luck here in Boston. My father is willing to let him stay in the Philly area for a few weeks of training. If you are free and my father is seriously considering the idea I would like to get this going. 3 weeks / 5 days a week for 4 hours. Concentrating on wing, mid and low post moves. Ball handling with a focus of strengthening his left hand. My brother will be out of school in two weeks. So probably 3 to 4 weeks from now would sound reasonable.

  15. Hey Dre, My parents aren’t well financially and the only way I can practice is with my 7 foot hoop in my backyard. I am 14 and my parents didn’t let me try out because of religious stuff. I can tryout next year but it will be a major challenge finding a way to practice. I’m also not in shape, I am 5 foot 10 inches but I can’t dunk on a 10 foot rim, I am working on it though. Just like you i really want to make it to the NBA but my parents have no faith and on top of that they dislike it when I practice. they don’t got faith in me bro. Please help me. Please…

      • May you help me a find a way to practice under these conditions. Like when I go to bed, I have this small toy ball that I just shoot to practice a little. Is there anything I can do with a 7 foot hoop, or just in general without a ball that will help my shot? Thanks so much.

        • Make use of what you have. I have over 2k vids, on and off the court, discussing the game and the mental/ motivational side of it. You still have to think for yourself, however — I cannot plan out everything for you. You are smart enough to use a computer, you can think of ways to make use of what is available to you. Good luck.

  16. heey dre,
    how do i stay commited to keep practince but i cant seem to stay commited do u have any advice for me πŸ™‚

  17. Im a 5 8 small forward. I’m thought of as being in the top 5 players at school. I have mid range down , but my three point shot needs work.

  18. Im 17 moving to Fl 5’10 and to the high school im going now im gonna be smallest one on the team and i got great court vission but doont have good handles :\\ but i dunk and got decent shoot but my dam drible what i should do??? sometimes i think i will never get handles skiills πŸ™

  19. why is it hard for me to score when am in practice but when i am in a reguler court chillin its easy

  20. dre i bevieve in practcing as much as i can and the quote “its not the hours you put in but what you put in the hours”. in one of your vidz you said that its phyiscly impossible to go hard for than a hour in 15 mins, and you also said that you have to practice more than the people better than you to get past their level, so how does that work? ( i’m not trying to contidict you, but i got injured and the doctors said it was from me practicing hard 6 days a week for long periods of time and my knees couldn’t handle all the strss)

    • The 1h15min comment was told to me by a pro trainer I worked with. It is work put in over time, not doing a whole bunch every day or on one day. If you are putting in consistent work over a year or 5 years, the results will show. So think long term.

  21. Just wondering what you did between your junior and senior your to really get yourself on the roster?

  22. hey dre, i am 16 and live in europe and I tried 4 times to do air alert but everytime I managed to finish only six weeks after these weeks i wasn’t able to go on to the seven’th week, I feel very tired after finishing the exercises and i have the worst dispozition I’ve ever had so after six weeks I quit because I can’t go to school with that dispozition.When do I have to do these workouts so I will manage to finish air alert 3

  23. how much time do you train air alert 3???My english is bad,i’m sorry about that.

    • If the player with talent doesnt work or play harder than you then yes but if he does then im sorry to say but no……..Do what you gotta do to get on his level……..he didnt come out of his mothers womb dribbling a basketball, he puts his pants on the same way you do

    • Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard trust me man πŸ™‚

  24. Dear Dre
    I wanna know what i can do to get in the best shape for my high school basketball tryouts because it starts on october. And what can i do to be the best player available?

    From Albin Inigo

  25. Wassup Dre…, My name Is Chris, I just seen your videos on youtube, and I gotta say you got Some Dangerous Ball Handling !! Real Talks!

  26. hey Dre im 13 years old and play for my 8th grade team and go to the gym alot and play with older people all the time but do you think i should practice more than just playing games? and i have watched many of your vids thanks for all the advice

  27. Hey ran across you on youtube and thought the videos were great but out of all the advice i think you give the best i think the same way and im going to get better and im going to continue to check out your vids an website Luck with your B-ball career look foward to playing against you

  28. i’m 15 and 5’9″ and can grab the rim with 2 hands easily, but i cant dunk. i always come extremely close and it rolls out. any advice?

  29. Hey What up dre my name is kenny.im 13 years old and in the 8th grade. People say that im good.i have really good mid range game and i can work inside but i cant shoot a 3 pointer for my life. I air ball most of the time most of the time.do you have any tips ? thanks in advance

  30. het Dre I got the same problem like Shermond and Brandon Wilson,and as much i understand i need to train as much and as hard i can to build my confidence???Thats for me a important question, so can you plz replay thanks πŸ™‚

    • along with practicing,play in games! playing in games will give you experience and you will be much more comfortable when it counts.pickup games, rec leagues, whatever you can find.

  31. hey man saw your website and read your story and thought that u would be the perfect person to ask for advice.. im 16 years old, about 6’6′ or 6’7′, and ive been playing ball for about 9 years. I played on lots of different teams throughout northern california and was one of the top players in the county. but once my mother remarried i was forced to move down south to San Diego where I have no teams at my school to play on! So i havent been able to play on a team my whole highschool career so far…and im a junior right now.. i just wanted to ask u for way i can get my name out there and play for some leagues that can get my ball career to greater heights. My goal is to become professional but i dont know where to start. especially since my school doesnt have a team… any advice would be great! And youve got a sick shot man!

    • hey thanks for the comment and for reading my site! your HS doesnt have a team? well if thats the case, then if you arent going to transfer (and being that you probably want a college scholarship, this may be a good idea if you can do it), find out who the local AAU outfit is, or the best one that you can get involved with, and get in touch with the people in charge. their information should be readily available online if they are a strong program. i didnt have an athletic scholarship but i do know that getting one is all about being seen by the right poeple — so go to where those people are going!

  32. So then what? did u play d2 college or go straight overseas. im curious man. mad respect i hope u make d league bro.

  33. Hey dre, I have really been paying a lot of attention to your videos and they have really helped me out a lot. But one problem that I have is confidence in myself. What are some things that I can do to give myself confidence? I know that I am better than most players on my team but when it comes to the games, i choke and play really crappy. What are some things i can do to build confidence in myself?

  34. hey dre im 14 years old like u were when u started was there any particular drills or anything like that u did ?

  35. hey i really like this blog, this is extremely similar to my situation i had this year, I am a senior and didn’t play much at my high school either but I know I have the ability to compete with D1 players. I just always get nervous whenever I get the ball, this voice just keeps telling me to give the ball away. That is the only thing stopping me from operating on the floor. you got any advice on how to deal with that?

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