"Discipins" and Coach Carter

Our MSA day camps provide great opportunities to teach character with our players. Last week at our MFA and MBA day camps, MSA coaches and Beyond The Sport Coordinator Eric Hollis focused on what it means to be a good teammate, play with class, and have discipline in practices and games.

At the MFA day camp our coaches handed out a pin recognizing discipline, being consistent within your passion. Maddox Krugler, one of the older and more talented players, consistently lead others in the camp to become better. He helped others follow instructions, picked up soccer balls, and consistently displayed effort and focus. Maddox was ecstatic to find out he was awarded the pin, or as we call it, our "DisciPIN." 

Meanwhile on the courts at Woodland, two players stood out to Boys Basketball Coordinator Bryan Powell. Aiden Barnes got a, "Discipin" due to his, "constant focus and encouraging his teammates throughout each drill." Coach Powell praised, "His character was contagious and created a very positive atmosphere all week at camp."  

Layer 1

Bryan also chose to hand out a most improved award. Brady Ashcroft was a younger player at the camp who was very new to basketball. Bryan adds, "Throughout the week our coaches could tell he was being pushed outside of his comfort zone, at times he would get overwhelmed and want to quit. Despite that struggle he never missed a day and embraced the struggle with many different drills. By the end of the camp he was able to keep up (despite being a bit younger) and attack his development at a great pace!"

Furthermore, during All Day MBA Camp, campers and coaches ate lunch and watched a couple clips from the movie Coach Carter, a true story of the Richmond high school basketball program. (While watching, there were a couple inappropriate words that the coaches skipped.)


The first clip emphasized teamwork when a player who quit the team violated rules and owed countless push-ups and sprints. Watch how the team responded and note the quote, "One player triumphs we all triumph, one player struggles we all struggle."

The next day MBA players watched a second clip from Coach Carter. Richmond's team was having success in their league and dominating their opponents. Players started to taunt, demean, and humiliate their opponent. After watching the clip, our Beyond The Sport Coordinator Eric Hollis pointed out that while posing after a dunk, players were not getting back on defense and potentially giving up easy points to the other team.  

MBA players were then encouraged to be relentless in letting their playing do the talking. Their efforts should instead be on the attention to detail, getting better, and giving focus. If another basketball player thinks they’re better? Play them one on one or against their team, no need to talk.   

Character conversations are important to our athletes developing to their fullest potential - in sport and in life.

Stay up to date on our character topics and conversations through our blog and Instagram and Facebook! #TeachLifeSport #BeyondTheSport

MFA | Grit + Discipline Lessons | GRFC Speakers

speakers 2

This week, GRFC players Noble Sullivan and Joe Broekhuizen came out to speak to our Revolution players regarding grit and discipline. Grit, MSA's core value for May is defined as, "Never stopping and excelling in hardship." Or an easier phrase to remember it by would be, "grit don't quit." June's core value is discipline, "Being consistent within your passion."

On Wednesday Broekhuizen, the 6'6 center forward shared stories of his playing career for the Dayton Dutch Lions and a semi-professional team out in Finland. Broekhuizen was humble enough to admit, "there were plenty of players in my career who weren't as talented as me but surpassed me because of their grit and discipline." Joe also told a story from the book, "Living with a Seal,"  about a marathon runner repeating, "I don't quit when I'm tired, I quit when I'm finished." If you attend a GRFC match it's easy to note Joe's grit as he consistently puts his body on the line and will not quit until the whistle is blown.

On Thursday, Sullivan, the all-time top scorer for GRFC, made his way slowly across the Fieldhouse turf on crutches. He recently ruptured his achilles at a GRFC session counting him out for the "Boys in Blue" this season. Sullivan mentioned how discipline is not just on the field, but off of the field as well - whether it's doing rehab for your injury or juggling in your backyard.

Sullivan also mentioned, "It doesn't matter if you're the tallest, fastest, or strongest player...discipline is the great equalizer. Players who have discipline will go far in sports and life. It's all related." Turns out that Sullivan doesn't just say that, but lives it. In his bio for GRFC it reads, "As a redshirt junior (at the University of Michigan) in 2012, Sullivan was honored by the Big Ten Conference as a Sportsmanship Award recipient. In addition to his on-field duties, Sullivan earned back-to-back U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Awards from 2009-10."

After our friends from GRFC finished, we honored one player from each team who exemplifies grit. The grit players then got a picture with Sullivan and Broekhuizen. Congrats to all players who received pins and cards from their coaches!

grit collage

Sports provide a one of a kind opportunity to teach character. We're excited about who our players are becoming.


MVA | What's Your Why? | Grit players

MVA's theme for the year has been, "purpose" and "what's your why." The quote on the back of all the MVA team practice shirts is, "Efforts and courage is nothing without purpose and direction." 

This theme of purpose ties in perfectly with May's core value of Grit because in order to exert grit and excel in hardship you have to have a reason for doing so. For some players it may be becoming the best they can be for themselves and the team. For others it may be aspiring to play in college. Regardless, there are goals and in mind that allow players to push through when the going gets tough.  

MSA defines grit as never stopping and excelling in hardship, a value that can be developed and grown throughout player's careers. 

As the spring season comes to an end for most MVA teams, coaches were able to identify one player from each team who not only exerted grit once or twice, but consistently throughout the season. The players listed below received a pin as well as a hand-written note from their coach signed by MSA Directors.  

Congrats to all players picked by their coaches! The MVA grit players are listed and pictured below.

Whether it's in sports or life, we encourage everyone to think, what's YOUR why? May you pursue your why with grit. For more on grit in life and how it separates successful people from others, click here. Also, check out this great article on letting failure fuel your power. 

Layer 1

(Not all players pictured)

12's: Layla Visser, Hope Davies, Grace Reidel, Emma Leonard, Jordann Hudnell

13's: Ellen McNair, Averie Zashak, Anna Kinsman, Amanda Wolf, Avery Palmateer, Frances Young, Katarina Lalic

14's: Lizzie McIntosh, Hannah Lourido, Ainsley Weeber, Avery Greene, Kaylin Mccullough, Alexis Hofmann, Ellie Smith, Mackenzie Davis, Maria McFarland

15's: Katie Stotts, Rachel Carlson, Avery Walta, Madison Bott, Grace Greenop, Leah Kramer

16's: Jordyn Gates, Kendall Kreuger, Sophie Duits, Conally Cooper

17's + 18's: Andi Salasky, Andrea Schriver, Heather Coffman, Catherine Geers, Nicole Whan

MBA| Grit: Overcoming Adversity | Speakers Visser and Morris

visser morris

This week Michigan Basketball Academy hosted two speakers, Brian Morris and Kyle Visser, to talk about the importance of Grit - never stopping and excelling in hardship.

Kyle Visser, a 6'11 former professional basketball player, came to speak to MBA high school players about grit on Wednesday night.

Visser told the players, "As a freshman in high school (at Forest Hills Central), I barely played at all. It was then I decided to work hard in the offseason. I actually enjoyed doing it too - it never felt like work. Next thing I knew I was playing in front of college coaches. And you know one of the main reasons Wake Forest selected me? It wasn't based on talent, but grit. I ran end to end simply displaying work ethic and they said, "that's the kind of attitude we want in our program."

Visser averaged 17 points per game his senior season at Wake Forest and was the only player in the ACC conference to rank in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, and blocks. Visser was considered by ESPN to be the nation's most improved college basketball player, after scoring 466 points during his senior season, which was more than his previous three seasons combined.

Visser continued, "After college, I was hoping to get drafted to the NBA. My former high school coach threw a big draft party for me on that night. I never got the call. That was hard...really hard. But that's where grit comes in. I kept working then was able to play professionally in Germany from 2007 - 2015." 

Brian Morris, the Assistant Coach for the Aquinas Womens Basketball Team, spoke to the MBA teams on Tuesday regarding grit and what it means at the next level on and off the court.

"In order to possess grit, you have to know what your why is. Why do you get out of bed? Why play basketball? Why practice?

At the next level the competition is going to get more intense and competitive. Are you going to be the one to continue to play hard in practice when you're not the best one on the team anymore? Will you possess grit and hard work when you're on the bench for most of the season trying to compete for minutes? Are you going to remember your why outside of the court when you need to get your studies accomplished?" 

Visser spoke a bit on the topic of studies too. "There were a lot of guys that had more talent than me. But they couldn't get it done in the classroom so they ended up having to drop out. It's a bummer but that's important at the next level."

After the speakers, each MBA team voted for one player on their team who was the grit player. Below is a representative from each team. Congrats to our MBA players for being exceptional examples!

Layer 1

From left to right: Tyler Brand, Matthew Guppy, Eli Carlson, Chris Brown, Max Tucker, Scott Cargil, Kensey Armock, Michael Lomonoco, Nyoun Nhial, Hailey McBride, Kelly Olthof, Danielle Lamancusa, Katy Majick.

Big thanks to Brian and Kyle for investing in the character of our high school players! When we invest in our players character in all sports, we hope it will not only show on the court, but in their life outside of the court too. #BeyondTheSport #TeachLifeSport #CreateACulture

Confidence Recognition | 3 attributes of confident people and athletes

Welcome to the Michigan Sports Academies Blog, a storytelling platform to go deeper on topics relevant to athletes and their families, share MSA updates, and tell stories from our MSA family.

MSA’s mission of, “Teach, Life, Sport,” acknowledges our goal to teach the game, teach life lessons, and enjoy sport to its greatest potential.

Every month, Michigan Sports Academies highlights a #BeyondTheSport core value to focus on with players, coaches, and employees. April’s core value is confidence.ImageThrough engaging stories and teachings, all of our athlete’s learned regarding the three attributes of confident players this month. One athlete from each team is recognized in front of multiple teams in the club, receives a pin to put on their bag, and a personal card and note from their coach.  


Through teaching these core values, we can all learn a lot regarding playing, coaching, and life. So we’ll share what we taught the athletes with YOU as well.

We explained that the three attributes of confident people and athletes:

1. Celebrate their uniqueness.

Everyone is unique and one of a kind. Every player can contribute something incredibly unique to the team and to the world that no one else can.

Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player currently, grew up with a growth hormone deficiency. He was always the smallest on the field, but he focused on his unique abilities - his quickness and ball skills. Instead of focusing on what he wasn’t, he focused on what he was.

Stephen Curry, the fastest player in the NBA to reach 2,000 3-pointers, didn’t get any major Division 1 college looks coming out of high school. He was an undersized guard and still is, but he focused on improving his strengths, his 3 point shot. Curry celebrating his uniqueness then changed the game and was the point-man (no pun intended) for starting the, "3 point revolution."

Players can look up to athletes or celebrities and try to play like they play. But at the end of the day, it’s important to tell athletes, “You be You.”     

2. Know that their best is enough.

Confident players strive to give 100% in the aspects of the game they can control -  focus and effort. Confident players do not play scared or worry about the team they are playing. Confident players can play a professional team or a team at the bottom of the division and they will play with the same drive.

John Wooden, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, refers to this mindset of confidence through explaining success: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

3. Help their teammates become confident.

They not only are confident in their own abilities, but they transfer it to others. They celebrate the accomplishments of their teammates, boost their teammates up when they’re down, and lead by example through consistently playing strong mentally and physically.

For the month of May, our core value of focus is Grit, learning how to dig deep and play hard in all circumstances. In other words, Grit never quits! 

Congrats to all of our athletes in MSA who were recognized for being exceptional examples of confidence! Check out our MSA athletes who received recognition  below.


12's: Ava Bennett, Agata Stasiuk, Kendra Vanderlugt, Vanessa Walker, Ava Krebill

13's: Mackenzie Schoen, Makayla Kyes, Maryanna Oconnor, Ally Olszewski, Kennedy Louisell, Emma Costello, Paige Williamson

14's: Abby Ames, Sammie Wing, Grace Kormash, Jaycee Rider, Gwen Farmer, Maddi Mazeikis, Ellie Devries, Ava Young, Sierra Nauseida

15's, 16's: Brianna Miller, Karsyn Delbridge, Alex Widner, Julia Bouma, Kendall Krueger, Addie Vanderweide, Emily Howard, Coletta Kalumbula, Kyrsten Thorpe, Emma Henkey

17's, 18's: Morgan Smith, Andrea Salasky, Jamie Rozell, Bell Gorsline, Alyssa Meekof, Olivia Mcmullen



 (Birth year) 11 - 10: Andrew Stiffler, Jack Avery, Ben Williams, Mya Tschaenn, Gray Hartman

09 - 08: George Tesseris, Christian Afman, Kalyn Coleman, Easton Howe, Hudson Kersetter, Lexie Smith, Madelyn Mulder, Noah Peterson, Quincy Stiffler

07 - 06: Jack Ratchford, Soren White, Connor Alguire, Priya Patra, Emory Rusell, Allye Risner, Abby Kramer, Alex Kuo, Boras Lilac, Annalise Brinks

05 - 04: Kyle Webb, Nathan Bagley, Jack Mulder, Pascal Parraguez, Megan Hart, Uduak Umo, Maura Hunt

03 - 01: David Nshyime, Parker Doornbos, Cale Allaire



Boys: Ethan Coady, Braydon Bower, Justin Holtz, Trevor Dunn, Andrew Brands, Sam Sheridan

Girls: Ali Carlson, Audrey Sidebotham, Maddie Petroelje, Maddie Hutchings, Danielle Lamancusa, Olivia Vallone, Claire Cassiday