By Madisen Carter
High school basketball player, Dallas Washington, has been playing basketball since he was a child. As he got into the seventh grade, that was when Washington knew that basketball was something he wanted to play seriously and continue to work on. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Washington took his free time to work hard and train at the Unlimited Potential Basketball training facility, whether that was in person or over the Zoom training sessions. During that time, he knew he needed to focus, improve his work ethic, and continue to put time and effort into his game.
With all of that commitment to getting better over the pandemic, that hard work has paid off so far for Washington. Washington recently became the second freshman at his high school, Saint Francis, to ever make the Varsity Basketball Team.
Washington’s parents, Nelson and Heather, want him to not only be successful on the basketball court, but also off the court as a great human being. They believe at UPB, Washington is achieving both of those things. Nelson took the time to speak with us and give us more insight on why the Washington family chose UPB as their primary training facility and how UPB has affected Washington’s game.
Q: How did you hear about UPB, and how long has Dallas been training at UPB?
A: “[Dallas has been training at UPB] four years now, closing in on five. I heard [about UPB] from a friend. Her son and Dallas were playing for the same club at the time, just a different team. She was going to a group session that they had, and she called me and [said,] ‘Oh, I think it'd be cool for Dallas, Ibrahim is going to be there.’ And so I was able to take Dallas the first time he went. [We] loved it and have been there ever since.”
Q: Out of all the training facilities Dallas could have worked out with, what made your family decide UPB?
A: “He just trained with different people along with training with me, [so starting with UPB,] it was just a great situation where it took some of the pressure off of me training him. The consistency of the people [at UPB] made it better than some of the other people Dallas had worked with.”
Q: As a coach yourself, how does it feel to be able to trust other trainers with your son to give him the training you think he needs to be successful?
A: “It's a huge relief and it's great. When I coach and when I work with my own program, I have control issues. So being able to take a step back, I can kind of relinquish some of that control and have the staff there, you know, work with Dallas. [I have been able to] see him improve so much.”
Q: Since Dallas has been at UPB, have you seen Dallas’ skills improve?
A: “Oh, yeah. His shooting mechanics, his getting to the basket, but also just his overall work ethic has improved. Because he could have just sat around and been decent just off of God given talent… He works out more there. Like Sunday, he was [at UPB] for two hours, he has practice today for his high school and he’s going to go train later on today. So he gets it where he knows he needs to put in that work and [UPB] is just a great place for him to do that.”
Q: How has UPB helped Dallas grow as an individual off of the basketball court?
A: “Just making sure you do your best with the things you're doing whether it’s basketball or school. Whether it's doing physical training outside like weights, just to understand that, you know, you can't expect results from things without putting some time and effort into it, and that goes with the schoolwork. They've been great with [him.] He's had some ups and downs with his former team, and [they] just help[ed] guide his way through that… So he knows that they're invested in him, not just as someone who shows up, trains and can leave. They're invested in seeing him be successful on and off the court. So when he has struggles or some frustrations, it's been nice for them to give us some encouragement… You can’t always get that from different places. UPB is just not just a training place, it's a community. They want to see kids achieve.”
Over the last week of November, the Saints placed in the D2SIDA Women’s Basketball Division II Media Poll for the first time in program History. The team tied with Southwestern Oklahoma State at No. 25. Sopak not only credits the team’s defense for their success, but also credits the relationships that she and her teammates have built together.