By Madisen Carter
Twelve-year-old John Rudolph has been dedicated to the game of basketball since he put a ball in his hands at an Unlimited Potential Basketball camp four years ago. Since then, Rudolph has been at the UPB Training Facility whenever he can make it in and has even made it into UPB’s “100 Club” for putting in more than 100 hours of training at UPB. He has put so much time into his game with more than 425 workouts at UPB.
Rudolph started off his athletic career playing soccer. His mother, Joanne Yun, really liked the sport of basketball and wanted her son to try it out. Although there were not too many opportunities for children his age at that time, Rudolph and his family came across UPB. After that first camp Rudolph attended, he told his mother he wanted to go back and actually did that same day for an additional session.
He had put hours and hours of work in during the pandemic as UPB was the only place Rudolph's family trusted while the virus was going around the city. He has made many memories at the facility and said one of the coolest highlights so far at UPB is when Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Poole wished him a happy birthday in September. Even with school back in session and things getting back to normal, Rudolph has continued to put time into his game and has even made his first club team this year.
We talked to Yun more about why Rudolph's family continues to choose UPB and how it has improved his game over the past four years.
Q: How did you hear about UPB?
A: “When our friend mentioned it, we [thought] let's check it out, let's see what they are. Then we probably looked into it, and it didn't look like there was anything that fit in his schedule at that point because he was doing club soccer, which took up a lot of time… We got [a] flier for the one day President's Camp, and it fit in our schedule. That's actually how we found it. That actually was our very first introduction… [The facility] was just done so nicely and so differently. I think the care and the attention that the trainer's did on the camp that day and how much attention they paid to each basketball player was really special to my son John, and that's how he got hooked. We've been there as much as possible.”
Q: Since John has been at UPB, have you seen his skills improve?
A: “We've definitely seen that the fundamentals that UPB has helped him with really pays off now in the team setting. The fundamentals are there. He was just at a tournament this past weekend… And so you can kind of see that he has skills that are just different because, you know, he's been working on his ball handling so much or he's been working on his shot. His form is just different [from] the kids who haven't had the fortunate opportunity that he's had to do these training [sessions] with Packie.”
Q: How is John’s relationship with the trainers at UPB?
A: “We love all of them, we just really enjoy the trainers. They all have a similar philosophy, so I think that's really important. It's not that, you know, you work out one day with one trainer [and then] it's something completely different if you go to somebody else, right? He loves all of the trainers. Sometimes my mother will bake cookies or bake muffins [and] the first thing he always thinks is, ‘we got to bring something for Packie, we got to bring something for Coach Ashley or bring something for Coach Mike,’ so he's constantly thinking about them and he really enjoys going there.”
Q: How has UPB played a role in John’s confidence?
A: “I think it makes such a huge difference. The way the trainers work with them... They do I suppose a bit of psychology, right? There's a bit of imagining what you want to do, imagining what you are aspiring to do, and what you need to do to get there. I think there were a number of times where you would hear the trainers talk about this with the kids and it makes a difference. I know that [for] John when he goes in, and even if there's a day where he doesn't shoot well [or] he doesn't have a good practice, he's able to brush it off, which I think is really great at this age because he just continues to try. He's like, ‘Look, Packie says if there's an open shot, I should just take it right.’ It's like what they say gets quoted back at our house… So it gives him the confidence to say, ’I may miss a couple but I'm going to keep shooting because I know I could make these.’”
Q: What is it about UPB that makes John want to continue working out at the facility?
A: “We love the trainers, we love the way they work with them. They take each individual really seriously. They really know their strengths, their weaknesses, they know how to build their confidence and their skills, they know what to work towards. They know where he needs to work harder, and they're not afraid to call him out on it, and he's not afraid to step up to the challenge… Quite frankly, the other places just don't have trainers at the same level that UPB has put together. Coach Oderah [Chidom] was somebody who John worked with for a while before she went [overseas, and] she was on the Nigerian National team, so we watched the Olympics… or when we were watching the NCAA Women’s Elite Eight the other night when Stanford was playing, John [said,] ‘There’s Haley, she trains at UPB! I see her with Packie.’ To be able to watch on National TV people who have come through UPB’s gym and how he sees them working with [the trainers…] it just inspires them to work and train harder and realize that [with] these players, there's a lot of hard work that goes into it.”