By Madisen Carter
Unlimited Potential Basketball’s player development coach, Nick Kanno, has had the game of basketball in his life since he was a child. He grew up playing with his two older brothers and his dad who coached them. Although Kanno played almost every sport growing up, when it came down to focusing on one, he realized he could not stay away from basketball, he enjoyed it the most.
Kanno grew up in Hawaii and attended Mililani High School. Before he transferred to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, he played at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, where he met UPB’s Head Training Officer, Coach Packie Turner. The two were roommates at Holy Names and kept in contact throughout the years. When Kanno moved back to the Bay Area in 2021, he joined the UPB team with hopes to help maximize athlete’s potential on and off the court.
There are many things Kanno enjoys about being a part of the UPB team. He said his values align with Coach Packie’s and CEO Bianca Turner’s values, and that he enjoys the camaraderie of the team and the culture at the UPB gym. He also appreciates not only being able to see the players he works with grow and develop in their basketball skills, but being able to get to know them as individuals.
“Questions I always ask any player I work with are what are your goals and why do you play basketball? Aligning our workouts with their goals is important, it’s a continuous dialogue,” Kanno said.
Before UPB, Kanno coached at Kamehameha School, Punahou School, and for Hawaii’s West Coast Elite AAU team. Along with coaching, Kanno also works in finance, and although he works full time at his finance position, Kanno continues to coach and give back to the younger generation.
“Making an impact on the players and the kids that I work with, it just kind of makes sense,” Kanno said. “It's just kind of who I am and I feel [that] it's part of my purpose to give back and [teach] the things that I've learned and to help benefit other people [since] I was in their situation at one point in time.”
Every time Kanno trains an athlete, his goal is for them to feel one step closer to their long term and short term goals. He said that he wants to make the athlete’s time an enjoyable and productive experience, and he does that through reminding them that even if they feel that they are improving by one percent, the hard work adds up over time and the goal is only possible through those daily one percents.
If Kanno could give the younger generation of hoopers advice, it would be to maximize your ability and potential as a basketball player, but more importantly as a human being and to apply the skills and lessons you have learned through basketball in life. He also said to work hard and stay focused on your game through the good times and even the bad times.
“However long it is and whatever your goals are, it's a journey. There's going to be good times and bad times. You're going to have successes and failures,” Kanno said. “I would say the most important thing if I could look back and give myself advice would just be to stay consistent in what you're doing, and control what you can control in that sense, it’s all you can really do… [and] also having fun, you know, remembering why you started playing basketball.”
We appreciate the time and hard work Kanno has poured into the UPB Training Facility, and we are happy to have Kanno on the team. Basketball has been in Kanno’s life for more than 25 years now, and he has no intentions of pulling away from the game any time soon.
“It's a passion of mine… it kind of makes me feel that part of my purpose in my life is to make a positive impact on other kids and players that are going through that same journey that I experienced,” Kanno said. “I’m happy if I can just give them a little bit of help along the way, whether it's on the court or off the court. I really value the relationships I’m able to build through basketball because I think life is about relationships. Basketball is the perfect vehicle to build through, and I’m thankful for the opportunity”.