I worked out the Shoreshots u16 and U17s yesterday. It’s always fun to train teams in a closed setting. You learn so much more about kids. Like there work ethic, attitude and relationships with peers. Yesterday we had had two hours together. The focus was on transition and defense. Two areas all kids need to work on. But what yesterday was really about was who truly want to learn. Who wants just a chance to grow as a player. ANGELINA BANAS is such a player. She is simply hoping for a chance to make her dreams come true. So she has totally committed herself to her sport of choice.. basketball . There are no guarantees that come with this choice. But it’s clear ANGELINA BANAS is going to do everything in her power to make sure there are no regrets at the end of her journey.

As I sat in the dark with the Shoreshots coach Bob Dubina yesterday. We talked about basketball, dogs and life in general. Coach Dubina is a former D1 asst coach and college head coach. At this point in his career their are few surprises left. He has seen it all. As we were talking there was only one player left in the gym. She was shooting in the dark with the lights waiting for me and coach Dubina to leave. Taking advantage of every precious minute of gym time available to her. Everyone once in a while she would look at her feet and then try to get her foot work right. She was alone in doing this, after I was hurt that I didn’t jump in and help her. I turned to Coach Dubina and said “she really wants it”. He agreed and said she drives 90 mins one way just to get here”. I said I know. Then ANGELINA BANAS did something to make me understand her desire and dedication. She took out her watch. I thought she was calling her mom or dad to maybe pick her up. Instead she was timing herself run sprints.

I looked at Bob Dubina and he looked at me. I said “Bob she just might get there”. I told coach Dubina “it won’t be easy for her but I know this kid is going to make every effort along the”. He said “your right”… because we both know ANGELINA BANAS is locked in and betting on herself.

I told coach Dubina, I am going to give ANGELINA BANAS every bit of time she asks for this summer. That’s because no player who works this hard should ever take the journey ANGELINA BANAS is on alone. I remember her first day at NBS , she threw up multiple times. She had drove two hours to get to NBS that first day. It was not her best moment and she knew it. But she didn’t make excuse, I found out months later. She was up all night sick the day before. But refused to skip NBS and somehow got threw that first NBS session. I was 100% sure that day, she’d be another in a long list of kids to fade away only to be seen working out somewhere on Twitter. Instead Dana returned to NBS. She also got up at 5 am to attend early bird shooting at NBS. She also attended Saturday Core skills with younger grammar school players, when her high school team was not playing. Most high school players ego would prevent them from doing such things. I have never seen her once complain about anything. She has never asked why she is not on the main courts. That’s because she has no ego. Her mission is to clearly get better. To be the best player she can be and she is willing to make any sacrifice to do just that. She is willing to pay any price to get to the mountaintop.

Northern Burlington High School is by no means a high school powerhouse. They are not playing for chips. But ANGELINA BANAS knows this. It’s why she decided to play AAU for someone who know about chips in the Shoreshots Mary Beth Chambers. It why she is willing to travel 90 mins to practice one way, twice a week. She knows that she has to get out of her environment in order to grow as a player and make her dreams come true. Last season she led her team in rebounds and scored almost ten points a game. SHE WAS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL COUNTY. But Dana goal is to take it to another level. She want to prove she can be a dominant player one day. It’s why she spends so much time day after day after day in the gym. She has a strong body and more importantly a strong mind.

Yesterday as everyone left the gym except ANGELINA BANAS. It made me realize some kids are still willing to risk it all, with no promises. There are still kids shooting in the dark .. hoping for opportunity to make there mark. ANGELINA BANASis one of those kids and I hope she knows I believe her. But more importantly, I know ANGELINA BANAS believes in herself!

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