New basketball club positive addition to neighborhood

New basketball club positive addition to neighborhood
Grady Noles, Sedarius Randolph, Jack Ganoe, Stanley Bishop, Kyle Ford

Champions Basketball Club’s newest location at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in San Marco is a very positive addition to the community, according to parents whose children are enrolled in the club.

Led by Coach Phillip Hobbs, founder of Champions Basketball Club and head boys basketball coach for St. Johns Country Day School, the club focuses on helping girl and boy athletes of all ages who want to develop into more complete players.

“Phillip is full of energy, positivity and enthusiasm,” said Emery Noles, a Miramar resident. Her son, Grady, 9, started last summer in the club’s Ortega location. “It is great to have the club in our own neighborhood instead of having to drive back and forth to Ortega.”

For Noles, the club’s newest location brings back memories. Her dad, James Abercrombie, coached Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church’s basketball program for 10 years. While her father passed away three years ago, Noles’ mother, Mildred Bishop Abercrombie, still lives in San Marco.

Noles’ brother, Trey Abercrombie, a San Jose resident, played on the HAB team in the 1970s. She remembers her brother had friends from all socioeconomic levels, and they often came to her house to hang out. “I love it when people from all walks of life can come together and enjoy each other,” Noles said. “The kids in the program were not just from San Marco.”

And, while the gym at HAB and the Champions Basketball Club are new, that tradition of engaging all kids who are interested in the program continues on.

“We had gotten requests to open a club in the San Marco area,” Hobbs said. “We chose HAB because it is centrally located.”

Hobbs recalls that the church’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Kyle Reese responded enthusiastically when he approached him about using the church’s gym for the club. Reese’s three children, Peyton, Hannah and Wyatt, attended St. Johns Country Day School. Hannah trained under Hobbs while she was there, and Peyton currently plays for Hobbs.

“I think Champions Basketball builds on the foundation laid by Jim Abercrombie and others,” Reese said. “We are a place for all children to learn and appreciate the game of basketball. The more we open our doors the more faithful we are to our founders.”

Hobbs develops an individualized game plan for each club participant. “My goal is to have kids achieve success on and off court, with basketball as the conduit to becoming successful as adults,” Hobbs said.

Mandarin resident Brian Pargman, director of admissions for St. Johns Country Day School, said his 9-year-old son, Brady, has continued to improve his basketball skills under Coach Hobbs’ direction.

“Coach not only reinforces the fundamentals of basketball, but he also delves deeper into every aspect of the game,” said Pargman.

Former Beauclerc resident Rob Lambert, a realtor with Keller Williams, was referred to Hobbs by another coach who was moving out of town. His 14-year-old son, Gabriel, had a couple of injuries in middle school, and Lambert was looking for someone to help Gabriel get back in shape, build confidence and improve skills.

“Phil did a fantastic job of developing an individualized training program for Gabriel right after Labor Day,” Lambert said. Gabriel just made the JV team at Bishop Kenny High School.

“We plan to have Gabriel continue with Coach Hobbs throughout high school, even though we now live in Mandarin,” said Lambert.

Noles believes her father would be very pleased that a basketball program continues at HAB. In a video filmed about the church’s history, Abercrombie shared his philosophy as coach.

“My hope is that the church will continue to take care of its youth and the youth in the community and send them on their way,” he said in the video. His described his style of coaching as “low pressure” because he wanted “to teach the kids how to enjoy sports.”

Hobbs wants to provide the “D-1 experience,” the best academic and athletic support possible to create Division 1 players. To date, about 12 girls and 24 boys participate in the club. While most are from the San Marco/San Jose area, some travel from other communities throughout the city.

He plans to open additional clubs on the Southside off Baymeadows and near the St. Johns Town Center, depending on parent interest.

“I hope these locations will be a reality by the first of the year,” Hobbs said.

The club offers executive training, in addition to training kids of all ages, at all skill levels. Parents can sign their child up throughout the year by visiting or contacting [email protected], (904) 479-6620.

By Karen Rieley
Resident Community News

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