Former Penn Hills basketball star looks to establish AAU chapter
Basketball has always been a major part of Drew Schifino's life.
The Penn Hills native and former West Virginia University hoops standout was inducted into the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame last year and is preparing to organize the New Generation Sports Academy (NGSA) as a chapter of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Western Pennsylvania region.
“During my professional playing career overseas, I knew someday I would want to give back to the Pittsburgh youth,” he said.
Schifino spoke with the Progress recently about his love of the game and his hopes to impart that passion to local children:
Q: What is your vision for how the organization will run?
A: The vision behind NGSA is large. We will start out with a boys' basketball team. Then, we will incorporate female teams, football and branch out through additional avenues: camps, three-on-three events, tournaments and some nonprofit aspects. I want this to be a program that everyone is excited to be a part of and that hosts Pittsburgh's most elite athletes.
Q: How do you plan to raise funds to pursue the various goals you've set for the New Generation Sports Academy?
A: The funding will come from various donations, sponsorships and events.
Q: Particularly when it comes to basketball, AAU groups have caught some flak for devaluing the team game and emphasizing individual players — do you believe that perception, and what will be your approach to teaching younger kids the game of basketball?
A: I do believe it's the perception of AAU basketball, unfortunately. The reason is because most people that run these programs are in it for the wrong reasons. They are all about the money. I am doing it because I love working with kids and making kids better on the court and most importantly, off the court. Also, these people who run programs haven't been around a ton of basketball, so they don't necessarily know the importance of good fundamental basketball. I've played at every level of basketball. So, I know the importance of fundamentals and with that mindset it will definitely rub off on all the kids. At the end of the day, it's all about how you construct your practices, camps and clinics.
Q: What are some of the most important lessons you've learned in your basketball career that you can impart to Academy participants?
A: The two most important lessons I've learned are that you must master the fundamentals to be a great basketball player. And that team success brings individual success.
Q: What is the most difficult lesson you've learned while playing basketball?
A: To trust in your coach and trust in your teammates.
Q: What are your goals for the Academy's first year, and where would you like to see it in five years?
A: My goal in the first year is to gain many loyal participants and followers and to establish a strong foundation for many years to come. My five-year goal is to be known nationwide and to become Western Pennsylvania's most credible AAU organization that includes the best amateur athletes in the area.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Game Commission enters battle between hunters, Penn Hills residents
- Department of Education to give Penn Hills money toward first school police officer
- Penn Hills considers updating code enforcement to fight blight