Friday, August 2, 2013

From The Director's Desk: Paul Gripper (Team Phenom)

Paul Gripper AKA Uncle P

Since 2003 Paul Gripper has been a major force on the AAU middle level throughout the country. He has coached just about every young star to come of out the Philadelphia area. He’s best known for his days with the legendary RBK All Stars and now has returned to the scene with his new group entitled Team Phenom. We reached out to Paul and here’s what he had to say.

BS: How did you break into the AAU scene years ago? 
PG: I took over the Corey Irving basketball program in 2003 as the general manager after resigning from a very successful first year run with the original Team Philly. 

BS: Name some of the best players that have come through your programs? 
PG: Scoop Jardine, Maalik Waynes, Frantz Massenat, Tony Chennault, Dion Waiters, Michael Gilchrist, Juanya Green, Devon Coleman, Trevor Cooney, Joey Gripper, Jaylen Bond, Eddie Mitchell , Malik Garner, Keeth Armstrong, PJ Boutte, Shawn Grennan, Jabril Trawick, Arron Brown, Tracey Pal, Maurice Watson, Montana Mayfield, Tyrone Garlin, Marcus Kennedy, Xavier Lundy, Maliqe Killings, and Kenny Johnson.

BS: What was your proudest moment on the AAU scene? 
PG: In 2007 my stepson Juanya Green and my nephew Lamont Mclaurin decided to go to middle school state tourney during the Buckeye Prep Elite Tournament hosted by Rob Taylor. We were placed in the Super Pool with Seattle Rotary, Ohio Basketball Club, Team Next, Team St Louis w Bradley Beal, New Heights. We won the pool by a margin of victory of 21pts per game we would then go on to win the entire tournament. We placed six players on the All Tournament Team and after that event we were considered one of the top teams in America. 

BS: What was your saddest moment on the AAU scene? 
PG: The day my wife told me that my stepson wanted to play for another team. 

BS: What do you feel is the biggest issue in AAU basketball today? 
PG: Disloyalty 

BS: In this game success is measured in longevity, what's the secret to your success? 
PG: I train my own kids. I made regular players good and good players great. 

BS: Tell me about your program Team Phenom and what can we expect from these youngsters?  
PG: With the merger with PYO, I now can say that will have a few middle teams that will be relevant for a while. 

BS: Do they have what it takes to be as good as Corey Erving All Stars or the historic RBK All Stars? 
PG: I don’t think we will ever see a team like that RBK Team. You have to understand how good the RBK Team was individually. Michael, Juanny, Dev, Joey, Trevor, Aaron, Doowop, Jaylen, Malik, Doc, Boosie and Eddie Mitchell were all Legendary Middle Schoolers. Cory Erving could have been the closest to the RBK Team.. With Dion Waiters, Ty Garland, Zaahir Allen, Markus Kennedy, Juanya Green but with up and coming stars Zahree Harrison, Tyrese Watson, Nymir Little Glen Sabb and Somaje Mills we might be close. 

BS: Give us your thoughts about Basketball Spotlight and its impact on youth basketball. 
PG: I think Basketball Spotlight has become the premiere basketball source for middle school basketball. Players must perform on the Basketball Spotlight circuit in order to be relevant in middle school basketball. 

BS: In your parting shot tell us something about Paul Gripper that most people don't know. PG: My coaching came from coaching high stake summer league games. Back in the 90's mens summer league there were high stake basketball as I transcended from a basketball player on the summer basketball circuit to the premiere coach. I became the coach to get when the games were at the highest stake I just want people to know that’s why I'm so intense.