By Madisen Carter
Junipero Serra High School senior, Miles Klapper, grew up playing basketball and has been fully dedicated to the game since he was in the sixth grade. Klapper is always in the gym putting in work and going the extra mile at the Unlimited Potential Basketball Training facility, and is now preparing for his final season of high school basketball.
Last season was Klapper’s first season with Serra as he transferred from Burlingame High School after two years. The Serra Padres finished their season with an overall record of 6-7, and finished fifth overall in the West Catholic Athletic League. During the season, Klapper averaged 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
Klapper said that although it was a short season, he learned a lot from it. He said he feels more prepared for the upcoming year since he was able to see the level of play and adjust to the competition of the WCAL. He said last season he focused on learning the new coaching system and how to play under the coaches, as well as learning to play with his new teammates.
Over the summer, Klapper had the opportunity to play in two tournaments with the Sneakersteal Hoops AAU basketball team. In one of his games with Sneakersteal Hoops, Klapper had 21 points on the night with six 3-pointers. Klapper stated that the tournaments helped prepare him for the upcoming high school season by allowing him to see more competition, as well as make connections with coaches from potential colleges he can attend.
“[The tournaments] helped a lot, especially with getting seen by colleges and stuff. Before that, I never really [had] gotten the chance to play on a platform where colleges are watching, so it helped a lot just playing in front of them, you know,” Klapper said. “I didn't play my best, but now [I know] what it's like playing in front of coaches, so next time I'm a little more comfortable.”
Along with the tournaments, Klapper has been preparing for the upcoming high school season with UPB’s Coach Packie. Klapper has been working out at UPB with Coach Packie for about five years, and is known around the gym for his dedication and work ethic.
“[We work on] what we feel we need to tune up at that time, but I think overall the general thing is a lot of the mental stuff, and the mental side of it. [Coach Packie has] helped me a lot with [my] confidence,” Klapper said. “Right now we're focusing a lot on shooting [and] specific stuff that I'm going to be doing this season.”
Not only is Klapper in the UPB gym to specifically improve his game, but he also spends a lot of time in the facility as an Intern. As an Intern, Klapper helps out with rebounding and practicing with the athletes that come in the gym to workout.
“It's been great so far. You know, it really feels like a family. Once you start working there, everyone's so nice and everyone's just really close to each other,” Klapper said. “Just seeing the guys back in training and seeing how they work out and stuff has helped me a lot, just knowing what it takes to get better every day.”
During his time as an Intern for UPB, Klapper has had many opportunities to work out with professional basketball players. Over the summer, Klapper and another UPB intern Brady Smith were able to travel to Santa Barbara for a few days with Coach Packie to work out and rebound for players such as the 2021 NBA Draft’s fourth overall pick, Scottie Barnes. In the UPB gym, Klapper has also had the opportunity to work with Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Poole and NBA free agent, Chasson Randle.
“When I first started working there, I was starstruck, you know, seeing them and now it's kind of a normal thing,” Klapper said. “It's just cool to see how hard they work and their focus level, [and figure out how] I can apply it to my working out now, which is cool.”
Klapper enjoys being around the game of basketball and has the goal of playing D1 college basketball. Until then, his focus for his final season of high school basketball is just one thing: To win. The Padres’ season starts in November kicking off with a few scrimmages, and Klapper will be focusing on getting better every day until then.
“Just seeing yourself get better every day, you know, it's really satisfying, and thinking about how far you have come, it's a good feeling,” Klapper said. “That's pretty much the main motivation, is just trying to get better.”