Tuesday, July 25, 2000

The Scoop on the RAC

Ok, so it seems like everyone wants to know what is the dealio at the RAC. And as many of you know, I work at the RAC full-time. So naturally I am being looked to for answers. There have been a lot of changes here in recent weeks, and it's no secret that this place has been and is currently in a period of transition. For this reason, I have preferred to say as little as possible when asked about all of the goings on. But here is what I can say.

Yes, Dana Barros is no longer at the RAC. We had high hopes when he first came in that he would be able to run an AAU program, put on camps and clinics, run NEBA (New England Basketball Academy), do private lessons, etc. But due to his prior commitments with the Celtics he just couldn't be here as much as we needed him to be. It just wouldn't work. We have no hard feelings, and wish Dana the best of luck in the future. I enjoyed working with him for the few weeks that he was here.

So what does it mean now that Barros is gone? Well one misconception that some people have is that Barros bought the RAC. He did not. He was the Director of Basketball Operations, that's it. We still have the same owner we have always had, and the facility's Operations Manager is Darrin Nicoli (who took over about 2 months ago).

So with Dana gone, who is the new Director of Basketball Operations at the RAC? At this current time, no one. For now, the responsibilities of the DOB will be shared by Nicoli and myself. We are both working tirelessly to organize basketball tournaments, leagues, camps and programs to be held here. We had a basketball camp last week with 84 kids in it. We had a 3-on-3 basketball tournament just yesterday with 12 teams, over 45 players. There was some really competitive games, and everyone there had a blast. We have 3 AAU tournaments planned for the Fall AAU season. Plus more. We have a "Jr. Ballers" program coming up for younger kids to learn the fundamentals of the game, plus fall basketball leagues for Elementary and Middle School players. Darrin and I will be running these programs. We are also reaching out to local travel team, middle school and high school coaches to help out with coaching. Then hopefully when these coaches come in they will bring kids who play for their team/program with them. The more kids we have in these programs the better.

With the Rivals gone from the RAC and with Dana Barros gone, will the RAC still have its own AAU teams? Right now the plan is to not have an AAU program based out of here. We will put on our own AAU tournaments (fall and spring AAU) and on the weekends that we're not putting on our own tournaments we will rent out the courts so others may run their tournaments here. Our plan is between our tournaments and rentals we will have a tournament going on every weekend in the spring and fall.

We are excited about the direction that the RAC is headed in. We have a ton of new programs that we are introducing. We will have programs for football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, volleyball and wrestling. We will still have plenty of basketball programs, but we are doing much more now. Plus we have the pro shop that is finally open, with jerseys, apparel, equipment, memorabilia, etc. for sale. Our summer recreation program for the kids has also been very successful, with over 45 kids enrolled.

So yes there has been a lot of change over here lately. But I am confident that we will be stronger in the end. For more information on all of our programs, check out www.racathletics.com or call 603.382.0641.

59 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update. The RAC is a great facility( I bought the first beer sold there!!)
    Hope to see you straighten out the hoop situation. Many good basketball people have come thru the doors and left too soon.

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  2. There must be a reason everyone keeps leaving. They have gone through 10 plus directors in the past 2 years.

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  3. ownership cant keep there nose out of it, the qualified people who have come and gone (and unqualified as well) know the owners do not have a clue...yet they continue to try to be hands on...it will not work that way...period.I have personally been watching this facility very closely since its original opening and this owner is fast becoming a laughing stock in the youth basketball world...excuse me..has become...the facilities are fine...let basketball people with the right contacts and connections run the basketball end, thats what it was set up for. adding 35 other "programs" doesnt work because you have more to offer...you still need highly qualified and connected individuals to bring the paying customer in and sustaining the programs as credible and worthy of the traveling expenses and time parents must commit to the facility.In the sports facilities business you dont just throw darts and HOPE you get a bulls eye.Parents want quality and good training for their children and their time no matter what the program they desire.And with these owners they have not been able to sustain anything over time nor will they....it is a shame.But it is a fact.

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  4. Jeremy,everyone is saying madol is going to vermont academy,done deal.

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  5. Scott Hazelton and his crew were the best thing to happen to the RAC. They provided the best quality basketball instruction possible and had a real love for the kids. I don't know any details about why he left, but as a parent it was very disappointing to lose such a great teacher from a wonderful local facility. No disrespect to Dana Barros, but it was a joke to think that he was going to work hands on with the kids the way the RAC promoted him. And now the RAC has no one.

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  6. Thank's for being upfront about the RAC's situation. As a longtime AAU coach I would like to offer a couple of suggestions that might help the RAC down the road. First, develop your own AAU program. The Rivals piss off a lot of parents and AAU organizations on the way they went about their business. You can't raid other programs and then expect those teams to support your facility or tournaments. I know several organizations that will not play at the RAC because of the way Hazelton recruited kids. I also know that promises were made to players that weren't kept. Pissing off parents and other programs will ensure people will not use the RAC.
    My suggestion is whoever take's over the RAC should start up a program with 10u, 11u, and 12u teams. This age group has an abundance of players. Within 4 or 5 years you will have a full program. Second, look toward hiring AAU coaches with a proven track record. My experience is when you hire people who are concerned about the money and not the kids, the program is doomed to fail.
    I hope for the owners sake the RAC makes it. It is by far one of the best facilities in the Northeast. Tell him Rome was not built in a day. Build a good foundation with young teams, coach the kids well and the program and the facility will be successful.

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  7. Scott,Vin and julie were on their way to building a very successful program. Between boys and girls they must of had close to 200 kids.As a parent if I am paying $600-$1000 for an AAU season I expect a few things in return. A nice facility, good coaches and the ability to win some games. The Rivals provided all 3 and then some.
    As a parent of a Rivals boy player that side of the program had great success,winning every NH State title except 13U and 17U, if they had put in a 17U team they would have taken that too. Also, the Rivals provide a program that if your son/daughter has exceptional talent there are elite level teams that travel nationally and are scouted by many colleges.
    The RAC has already had 1 foot in the grave as a forclosure auction was in the papers and all set to happen but someone bailed them out at the last minute.I can see this happening again. The Rivals arent the only AAU program to pull players off other teams. If my son/daughter was offered the chance to move to a stronger program with more opportunities I would seriously look at it. There are only so many parents around southern NH/northern MA who can afford AAU. If programs keep leaving the RAC and taking players with them (Rivals, Bishop Elite, Panthers etc.) there will be no one left to support the RAC and it will fail.

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  8. Yes 2:02 and if you click your heels you'll be back in Kansas also......Rome probably not a good choice............IT BURNT TO THE GROUND.1ST; not about the Rivals about the Rac. 2nd: " being a long time AAU coach" you never pissed off anybody.3rd: name one, only one...come on. 4th: This place has not got 4 or 5 years trust me, with current ownership.5TH:like the rivals or not they produced a solid "Business Foundation", brought in the number's and the high level tournaments and oh yeh... what it takes to run a Sports complex.....THE CASH. All the while selling and training an outstanding product.Again, not about this group or that group about the dysfunctional ownership at the RAC and its inevitable demise if current ownership persists......you make me laugh out loud 2:02.Thanks.

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  9. Regarding the comments above on "raiding other programs"... Competition between programs is a good thing. It forces programs to work harder to attract and retain talent by providing better service and achieving better results. The kids benefit from this. So advertising/marketing/recruiting is a healthy part of the process. The best programs flourish and continue to get better, the poor programs fade out, and the kids win.

    I hope the RAC can put together a new program that will help raise the bar for all the NH AAU programs.

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  10. Actually the better programs stay strong but the lesser programs serve a purpose as well. Sports is about involving kids in activities and occupying their minds to avoid them getting into trouble. So the lesser programs failing should never be looked at as a good thing. If the coaches for the Rivals were really into the betterment of the kids they would support the other programs and look to bring the entire level up in the area not just there teams.
    I really think the recruiting and double rostering of players needs to stop. Anytime you pay for a service you should not be losing time to another player that season. Loyalty to the players that have been with you from the start. I think the lack of rules for players playing for more than one team really hurts the players that are already on the team and it is really unfair. I do not agree with that at all.

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  11. So say you join a health club or a Spanish class or take a college course somewhere. You sign up in April with the notion that there would only be 10 kids in the class and you pay the money. Then halfway through they add a bunch of students and you no longer get to work with the teacher as much and you learn less. Did you get what you pay for? If the health club no longer lets you use the pool or the weight room so a new person can, that wouldnt be fair and neither is adding a player just to make your team better at the expense of others. I do not think it is fair to the kids that started out on that team. Freeze rosters and be loyal to kids that started the season with you.

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  12. AAU sports has been and always will be frought with the good, the bad & the ugly. Teams that a re based on a specific group kids will always need 'outsiders' to round out the roster and boots the coffers. It is a fact.

    People will tell you is not "pay for play", but that your paying for top end intruction and practice. Playing time is dolled out by the coach(es) based on ability and winning games.

    AAU can be a great expereince as long as you fully understand what your getting into and do your research on the program and the individual coaches.

    I will say this, for a great many parents this is the first time they are getting a real honest 3rd party opinion on their son/daughter's abilities. It is not always an easy thing for them to deal with.

    My advice to every parent is put some time into this before you take your kids to a tryout. Its a huge investment your making in money & TIME, so do your research : go watch the teams play & practice and talk to other parents - parents of both starters & reserves! After all that, talk very openly and honestly with your kid and make the best decision you can. This sounds like common sense, but you would be amazed at how many people do not approach this way.

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  13. The way that Jeremy explains the RAC as currently being organized causes me concern for their future. Perhaps their organization is good for little kids (4 - 8)learning the very basics of the game, but there is no way I would pay for any training now at the RAC for my older children. I dont see that the coaching that the RAC has made available is of any value to older, more serious players.

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  14. 12:44,

    If your looking for fair, Stratham just had theirs Derryfield and Rochester are coming up soon.

    Sports is a mirror image of real life. Very little about it is "fair". If your kid busts his rear during the summer and looks to play significant minutes in his senior season in high school and a kid twice a s good as him moves into your town 3 weeks before school starts, is the coach supposed to ignore this new talent and play your kid over the superior talent? Not "fair" to your son obviously, but is it "fair" to his teammates to reduce their chances of winning to placate your idea of things being fair?

    No one should be entering AAU sports blindfolded. If they do, it is their own fault. Do the research and KNOW there are always risks associated with paying money to play a sport!

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  15. AAU is not Rec or town ball. The elite programs are trying to showcase their players. To think that youth sports is not a meat market to some extent is to be in denial. Job applications require competition as does everything in life and not all are good enough. Research and know what you are payijng for and what your child is capable of. Life is hard and aau is not for everyone. 3:52 is absolutely right.
    Too many "dads" coach. Too many people hold false titles up as if they matter - how many NH state champions are the best teams - half of the elite players do not even compete in that tourney. IF you have a tough time with competition in NH - wait until your child leaves the state and competes in the National D1 tourneys.
    Having had experience with different aau clubs over time - everyone offers you something different - its not up to the coach or the parent - in the end - how far a kid gets is based on what they put in and parents need to accept that.

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  16. I think its awful that the rivals are not there any more- your programs now are focused on the developmental side of little kids - you won't get the elite players you have no name coach there. should have worked it out with the rivals - it was the busiest - I had seen the rac...

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  17. Who needs elite AAU? Elite AAU doesn't make enough money. That's what you need. You need to make payroll, to keep the lights on, pay the bills. The RAC is a big facility, it costs a lot to run. Vin and Scott did a nice job running Elite AAU programs, but that was their only focus. And Elite AAU doesn't make enough money. You have huge entry fees to all of these national level tournaments that these teams are going to, hotel costs, airfare, etc. And yes you charge $1,500 a kid but how many of them pay? Many of them are on scholarship. You think Carson Desrosiers ever paid a dime to play for the Rivals? Do you think Noah Vonleh has ever paid the RAC anything? No way. The only Rivals players who paid anything to the RAC were the younger teams, the non-elite teams.

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  18. I liked what Scott Hazleton was doing at the RAC with the Rivals - we seriously considered it for our son but geography ended up causing us to go with the Spartans out of Derry which has worked out well. I know the reason why Scott isnt there any more and it was a bit of a shock but even with that no disrespect to what he had going there.

    The key word to know if you want a successful AAU situation for your rising player is commitment. If you aren't going to commit fully to a program (attend all of the workouts and tournaments, buy into the system, and realize that the practices are for development and improvement and the games are to win) then no AAU program will work for you or be satisfactory for you. The more success an AAU program has (wins) the more buzz they get and the more they grow.

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  19. Hey Mr. Owner, bring back the Rivals , work out a deal. Waiting in the wings are the same crew that were going to buy the RAC at foreclosure and turn it into an MMA/cage fighting training and competition facility. They are still out there. All of us who love hoops deserve more than to lose this fine hoops home to an other sport.If these people buy it kiss B-Ball goodbye.

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  20. There is a ton of talk about the Rac not being successful because of the Rivals or Dana or whatever. The reason the Rac is hard to keep going is the design of the facility only allows itself to be used as basketball or a health club. The Sportszone was smart to make a soccer field and batting cages as well. That allows money to be more consistent through the year. If the Rac could find a way to run some other team sports in that facility the stress would be relieved on the AAU program and allow it to be part of the solution.

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  21. You guys have it all wrong. In order to run a facility like that you have to have the right location first and foremost. You have to park a building like that in a big city that has easy access for people to reach. You ask anyone who did basketball there and they will tell you it was to far out of the way.

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  22. 10 minutes off Rt.495 on the Mass. NH border isn't exactly out of the way.Putting that building on a city lot would have added $$$$$$$$$$ to the cost.

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  23. Lets face it Mass people do not want to go to NH for bball unless you have Mass company running programs and the surrounding towns in NH of the facility are not bball towns.

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  24. Like i said earlier ask anyone that was involved there and see how they like the hour there and hour back just to get there and you know 99 percent of the people had to travel too far. location location location. Look at derry sports zone good location good sucess.

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  25. Maybe the Derry Sportszone is successful because it is owned by someone who has a clue.That place is tougher to get to off Rt. 93 than the RAC off 495.

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  26. The Derry SZ might be owned by someone who has a clue. Now, I wish that person would get a clue and spruce up the courts there. The courts with tile are falling apart and are an injury waiting to happen. One of those courts had a metal pole near mid court that was unpadded. In this day and age, as the Guiness Guys would say:

    BRILLIANT

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  27. I would like to make a comment on aau/recruitment/RAC. First of all, we need to stop coddling our children. In AAU the BEST player gets play time. Reality check...noone is gonna hand you over anything in life just because you have been "on the team", or are a "nice"person. There will ALWAYS be someone better then you that comes along. As far as recruitment for AAU teams, if you want to be competitive, you have to recruit the best! Pulling a player from a team to play on another one will always happen. Any effective coach wants good players.When you reach a level of basketball that plays throughout the country at the highest cpmpetitive level possible, you need to find the best players.As far as the Rivals program is concerned, my child drove an hour 3 times per week to play there. Scott did more then just improve my child's basketball skills, he instilled a sense of value and confidence in my child that they didn't have before. Priorities shifted from partying and having fun to future goals and confidence in ones abilities.Personally if my child had to be driven 2 hours to work with Scott, I would do it. Vin and Scott know what they are doing and I think their program is excellent and my child would play for them if they practiced in a church basement, because it is not the facility as much as it is about having a knowledgeable coach who knows what they are doing!

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  28. Excellent post 5:12 I couldnt agree more. Mr owner if you are reading these work out a deal with Vin/Scott, you need them back. I dropped my son off today to work out on one of the courts and the place is basically a ghost town since the rivals left. A few people in the fitness area and thats it.
    Before the rivals were gone there were players from all ages there every day playing and working out. The rivals were becoming a family of all age players with different abilities who were working together to get better. We can only hope that you Mr. owner can realize a good thing is gone, take a step back and look what has gone on for the last 2 months. You need us to survive and we (parents and kids) sure would love to have the RAC as the Rivals home again.

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  29. Not sure why you are lying, 1:43. It is NOT a ghost town at the RAC. Today we had a basketball camp with 22 kids in it, and we have a summer recreation program for the kids that has 40 kids in it.

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  30. What is the age range for these 22 and 40 kids? I think most posters are talking about a lack of teenage talent at the RAC, not the amount of kids the RAC can get into a daycare camp.

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  31. Let me restate my view, ghost town for older players vs what you used to have around Jeremy, not counting daycare/summer rec.More and more kids were making an effort to get down there to hang out and play. I dont see them anymore.

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  32. The 22 kids in the basketball camp range from age 10 - 14. The 40 kids in the rec. program range from age 6 - 13. Then there was probably about 10-15 teenage / college kids on the other courts playing ball throughout the day, plus the people down in fitness.

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  33. 3:41, you mean there's no more teenage kids coming down, hanging out and playing at the RAC for free? I think what you're referring to is all of the Rivals players who used to be able to just walk in to the RAC without paying anything and just come and go as they pleased and play ball.

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  34. You would think that a facility the size of the RAC would have a lot more than 22 kids in attendance for a basketball camp... and it would if you had the coaching talent there to draw them in.

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  35. When Vin and Scott left we had to put all new camps in and start from scratch. We weren't able to put out the new camps and start promoting them until late June, and when most people make their summer plans long before then it really puts you behind the 8 ball. So when you consider that, I think 22 kids in a basketball camp is pretty good (especially considering we had 84 kids in our first basketball camp 2 weeks ago). Now I'm not saying that this was Vin's fault. He didn't choose to leave. The owner chose to switch management right at the beginning of the summer.

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  36. 3:46,I know I bought a membership for my Rival player so I would think other parents did the same. Parents were also considering joining the fitness portion too so they could have worked out while the kids were at practice. More$$$$$$$ for the RAC.

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  37. I wonder if the camp with 84 kids had parents sign them up when they thought Barros would be running the camp? Now that people realize Barros isn't there the attendance is declining. Again, my point about high profile coaching drawing in talent.

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  38. The RAC needs to stop screwing around and bring in someone like BST/Xact Sports who know how to do things right. They have the connections and the staff to run the place correctly.

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  39. 7:17, Barros DID run the camp 2 weeks ago with 84 kids. He was there for the first but not for the second. However, the camp that Darrin and I are running this week is a BETTER camp. Ask any of the kids who have been to both and they'lll tell you which camp they enjoyed more / learned more at. When Barros was here all he had the kids do was scrimmage and play knockout. This week Darrin and I are running a real camp, with drills, with stations, and teaching the fundamentals of the game. Each day we are doing more advanced drills than the day before and we are seeing the progression in the kids from one day to the next. This is proof that you don't need big name coaches to run high quality programs.

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  40. Keep up the good work Jeremy

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  41. When Barros was here all he had the kids do was scrimmage and play knockout.

    So you saying Barros ran a BS camp? No skill development or individual evaluations based on your current playing position? How much per kid was that camp?

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  42. He did SOME drills and teaching, but not nearly enough. It was definitely too much scrimmaging and shooting games. There was one day he wasn't there at all, one day he was there late and one day he left early. When he wasn't there, that's when we did mostly drills / stations.

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  43. If I remember correctly around $250?? Does that sound right Jeremy?

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  44. No it doesn't sound right. If you really have to know it was $200, but because we released the camps so late in the game we only had 7 kids signed up with just a few days before the camp so we the rest of the kids came in for free. Then to be fair we let the 7 kids who paid come to one of our other 2 summer camps for free.

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  45. I know Brett from BST wants know part of any facility venture. He has been approached many times about partnering or running a facility. They focus mainly on summer programs, and because of their relationships established with colleges, they prefer to do their programs with those facilites. You are right though, it would only makes sense, the way they put together programs and the people they have in place, the facility would thrive!!!!!

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  46. That was a fair price most camps I've seen go from 200-250.

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  47. Cant see how that provides cash flow..nice gesture, but...cant stay in business that way.

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  48. True, most week long camps are in that price range, but they are also much more than scrimmages and knock-out! Vitually every college in New England offers a week long camp that has a great emphasis on skill development and understanding the game and seeing things on the court. If what Jeremy has stated is true, I certainly hope that the camp was marketed for it was. Most people wuld assume that skill development and drills would be a standard component of any camp like that!

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  49. David Cooper has integrity. I pulled my son from the Rivals when they ran Cooper out. David Cooper is professional and an OUTSTANDING COACH..

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  50. 9:42 - Clue me in on the Cooper situation with the Rivals. Who ran Cooper out of the Rivals program?

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  51. Cooper started his own program this last season. Bishop Elite. It is a great program and Sudi Lett went with him. Both of these men are all about the kids. This program is AMAZING. Mind you it was the first year for them but they took atleast 2 teams to nationals.
    So with that said, when Sudi and Cooper left, ya they probably took alot of the boys who USTO b at the rac all the time, and yes played for free.. But not everyone can afford the expenses that go along with AAU but some of those boys are waaayyyyy more talented than many who pay the big bucks.. and that is because of the time and energy Sudi and Cooper put into these boys.

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  52. Cooper leaving the RAC was perhaps the best thing that could have happened for Manchester area basketball. He now runs the Bishop Elite out of the Oneil Center on Elm Street which focusses on developing youth to be the best they can be in both ACADEMICS and BASKETBALL. Their skills progam, which Coop teaches with Sudi Lett, is truly exceptional. The time they put into the kids and the relationships that are developed are amazing. Many of the top players from Jeremy's lists train with them.

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  53. Amen to that.... Cooper and Sudi are great..

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  54. Yes, Sudi and Cooper are fantastic. And no one "ran" them out of the Rivals. That is just plain BS. They started the program in Manchester to be closer to the Manchester kids, and they are doing a great job there.

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  55. If that is what you need to tell yourself.

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  56. Not sure why anyone from the Rivals would want to try and make coach Coop look bad. If there is one coach in the state that is doing all of this for the right reasons it is him. Keeps cost low,is a good role model for the kids and is very loyal to all of them. He should be commended.

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  57. 10:00. Who is trying to make coach Coop look bad? Where does it say that on any of these posts? Lets stop inventing conflicts that do not exist.

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  58. My guess is someones kid that could not make it on the rivals so they have a gripe. But thats no way to treat coop he's a great guy and coach. And your not doing him any favors by saying things that are not true and i'm sure he wouldn't appreaciate it.

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  59. Someone on wrote on July 27 around 8:52.
    "I know the reason why Scott isnt there any more and it was a bit of a shock but even with that no disrespect to what he had going there".

    Why did he get done? is there more to Scott leaving other than a managment change. Dosn't sound like it according to this persons post?

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