TERRANCE “MUNCH” WILLIAMS – DIRECTOR OF THE PSA CARDINALS AAU PROGRAM – EPISODE 405

Terrance "Munch" Williams

Website – https://www.proscholarsathletics.com/

Twitter – @PSACardinals

Terrance “Munch” Williams has been the Executive Director of ProScholars Athletics since 2008, Williams attended and graduated from the Holderness School, a selective boarding school in New Hampshire.  Terrance holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Wesleyan University in 2002.  After graduating from Wesleyan, Terrance served two years in the Teach for America program and went on to teach 1st grade for three years in a school located in the NYC’s South Bronx.  After teaching he spent two years as Dean of Students at East New York Preparatory Charter School and earned a Master’s in Education/Building Leadership at the University of Phoenix during this time.  It was at this point that Terrance decided to return to his roots and accepted a position as Educational Coordinator of the SCAN “Reach for the Stars” program at Mulally Recreation Center, a program he participated in as a child.  

Within a year and a half of returning to SCAN, Terrance was promoted to Center Director of the Mulally Recreation Center. While returning to the SCAN organization, he began working with the initial group of students who would help create the foundation for the ProScholars Athletics program. Under his leadership, ProScholars Athletics has grown from one team of a handful of afterschool students to a basketball program recognized as the top men’s basketball AAU program in the country.  Understanding that team sports can be a spring board to numerous academic and social opportunities, Williams has spearheaded an educational movement that has seen student athletes earn admission to prestigious boarding and Catholic schools located throughout the Northeast as well as numerous Division I scholarship offers for its participants. 

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Grab your notebook before you listen to this episode with Terrance “Munch” Williams, Director of the PSA Cardinals AAU Program in the Bronx, New York.

What We Discuss with Terrance “Munch” Williams

  • Learning the game on the playgrounds in the Bronx
  • Playing together with guys from the neighborhood from sun up to sun down
  • “When I was a kid, we never did that. We never did the cones. We never did the trainers. We never did any of that.”
  • “Everything came down to the same thing. You win, you stay on, you lose, you are literally lost without anything to do for fun.”
  • The myth of all AAU teams playing 85 games a summer. Quality over quantity.
  • Teaching his guys to love winning
  • Tips for building competitive practices
  • Helping players perform well even when they are fatigued
  • “We just started to get guys who honestly are at least somewhat, naturally competitive and hate losing. And then we try to put them in environments where they have to compete in practice.”
  • Aligning individual goals with team goals
  • “You get to your roles on the team and you try to master those roles because it all equals winning.”
  • How winning leads to more exposure and more rankings and more camps
  • Why team building is so important in AAU basketball
  • Why he collects his player’s phones prior to a weekend tournament trip
  • “What we’re trying to accomplish has been the same “why” for a long period of time, which is let’s get everybody to school for free.”
  • How PSA got started with a group of sixth graders that were part of the after school program he was running
  • That original group had a lot of success and the staff had a great feel for them academically, socially, and athletically because of the time spent with them
  • Attending the Holderness School in New Hampshire after graduating from Taft High School in the Bronx on the advice of his mentor
  • How those two years at Holderness set him on a different course academically
  • Attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he played basketball for three years and then focused on finding a job during his senior year
  • Being determined not to end up back at home with nothing to show for all the work he put in
  • Teaching first grade back in New York City as part of Teach for America
  • Helping kids understand “You don’t have to limit yourself just to what you see.”
  • Why he felt compelled not to leave the kids when his Teach for America experience was over
  • Your story’s not worse than mine. If I can be here, you can be here
  • Teaching kids that learning is cool and being smart is the new thing.
  • “My teacher looks like these other guys, but he’s different.”
  • There’s no ceiling on the court. There’s no ceiling off the court.
  • “They’re watching every move we make and we need to be the best we can possibly be. every chance we get.”
  • “You’re a role model and not a basketball coach.”
  • What he looks for in a staff member at PSA, why they become friends, and why he doesn’t want Yes Men
  • “If we’re better at our craft, our kids will become better.”
  • How he built relationships with college coaches
  • “No matter what you do in this game, if the kid doesn’t get to college, you failed.”
  • What a player’s schedule at PSA looks like on a daily basis
  • How their program mimics what players will see in college in terms of structure, commitment, and hard work required.
  • “We’re able to coach them hard on the court because they know we love them hard off the court.”
  • Production is what keeps you on the court
  • Helping his players to find the best fit for them athletically, academically, and socially
  • Working with players’ high school coaches to benefit the player
  • What made same of the best players he’s worked with so special, Mo Bamba, Thomas Bryant, Chieck Diallo, Cole Anthony, Omari Spellman, Tye Jerome
  • Making sure you don’t become complacent and keep working at your craft
  • Earning respect in your own backyard
  • Being in control of your own time.

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THANKS, TERRANCE “MUNCH” WILIAMS

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TRANSCRIPT FOR TERRANCE “MUNCH” WILLIAMS – DIRECTOR OF THE PSA CARDINALS AAU PROGRAM – EPISODE 405

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host, Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast Terrence “Munch” Williams, the executive director of the PSA Cardinals, AAU basketball program. Terrence. Welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Terrance Williams: [00:00:16] Thank you guys for having me.

Pleasure’s all mine looking forward to being on a podcast.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:22] We are excited to have you on and be able to dig into all the great things that you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball and outside of the game of basketball. You have a lot of interesting things on your resume. So let’s start out by going back in time to when you were a kid, just give us an idea of what your athletic background was as a kid.

What sports you played, how you got into the game of basketball, and we’ll just kind of take it from there.

Terrance Williams: [00:00:45] Yeah. I mean, young age, you’re running around, you’re doing a bunch of sports, baseball, football, basketball, soccer, whatever you get yourself into to stay out of trouble growing up in the Bronx and in New York City and the inner city in the heart of the ghetto.

So. We were just doing [00:01:00] everything from kick the cans or any sport that we could think of as youth. and then kind of we, I settled into basketball sport kind of based around the finances that came with that particular sport.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:16]  You need some shorts and a pair of shoes.

Terrance Williams: [00:01:20] Basically you needed whatever you were wearing that day.

And, you walked through the park and you started running around. Whoever had the basketball. It was pretty much a free opportunity. And my mom was like, look, I can’t afford all the rest of those sports that you’re thinking about. So start making that your home, the basketball court in the park.

So that, that was when I kind of picked it up and like, 123 and never looked back to be honest with you.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:45] What was the playground basketball scene like in the Bronx while you were growing up?

Terrance Williams: [00:01:50] I mean, at that time, everything was about street ball or the coming outside in the park and trying to find a way to win and stay on the court.

And if you lose, you [00:02:00] have to wait six or seven games. Young guys trying to play with the older guys, the guys trying to bully you And then the way we kind of operated was it was. You know, the guys who played together was based on your neighborhood.

So you would come to the park like five or six, a year friends, and all these different locations of neighborhoods would show up to that same location. And we would kind of battled it out, but it was good bonding, good friendships. But those games are Wars. You know, they were.

You didn’t want to lose, cause you just didn’t want to get off the court because you had nothing else to do for the rest of the day. You know? So we spent a lot of time outside of that block. It was walking distance from our apartment building. Parents never had to worry about where you were and you got all the exercise you could possibly have.

I mean, we played from sunup to sundown, literally and drink out of the water fountain and continued on. So it was beautiful to be honest. [00:03:00]

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:00] Did you ever get an opportunity to go courts on by yourself where you can kind of work on your game or, or it was working on your game limited to just playing pickup basketball?

Terrance Williams: [00:03:09] Yeah, man, like when I was a kid, we never did that. We never did the cones. We never did the trainers. We never did any of that. Like, you got better playing competitive competition, older guys, like it could be a 25 year old going against a 15 year old. Like it never registered to us that age was mattered or you never spent time trying to perfect your craft or everything happened over natural instincts.

Like you learn how to take bumps. You learn how to finish the layups. You don’t know how to take floaters because you’re playing older guys and you learn how to pass and defend stronger guys just because everything came down to the same thing. You win, you stay on, you lose, you are literally lost without anything to do with for fun.

So, we didn’t grow up with the things that the guys have now.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:59] So when you [00:04:00] think about the differences. In the two systems and I didn’t grow up in New York city. I grew up in Cleveland and a suburb, but I was always kind of like you in terms of looking for. Games and trying to find the best games in the city and driving around and always searching out and being able to play and just do those kinds of things.

And obviously, as you said, kids today don’t do that. They don’t have those same opportunities to play against older players who kind of teach them the tricks of the trade. And you gotta learn how to use your body. And you got to know. How to bump and you got to know how to do this and do that, that some of those older players teach you.

Whereas today, kids who up in the gym with mom and dad watching it, or with a trainer there with them, with a scoreboard. And so there’s something I think that is missing from the game of basketball in terms of players development, that kids that grew up in the way that you and I did had that kids today don’t have.

So when you’re looking about where you’re thinking about your. PSA Cardinal program. How do you try to [00:05:00] instill or incorporate aspects of that? What you think are the positives that you took away from playground basketball? Is there any way that you can try to incorporate that or anything that you do to maybe help those kids that are part of your program?

Maintain that competitive spirit. Cause I think that’s one of the things that you always hear about when you have people that knock a, you, they say, Oh, there’s playing so many games and winning just isn’t as important. So how do you try to get that message across to the kids that are a part of your program?

That was just something that you picked up naturally.

Terrance Williams: [00:05:32] Yeah, well, first of all,nwe do quality over quantity when it comes to them. So I’ll schedule. So the myth is that, Oh, you guys are playing 85 games a year when the reality is we’re probably playing 20 to 25, maybe 30 at the high school level.

Everything that we do is in a competitive environment, as far as the games are concerned, and then what the being structured the way it is, every [00:06:00] single game counts on our record. So it’s kind of like an NBA schedule where you play, you can get to a city and you play four or five games.

You get to another city in a couple of weeks and you play another games all in China, trying to win a certain amount of games and come in four or five in your conference, or to order to qualify for the Peach Jam, which is the equivalent of like the NBA playoffs. So we are teaching our guys to love winning.

With teaching them how to be competitive, and not just jump on the basketball court for any and everything. Like, we don’t just run around doing a hundred games. Then from the practice standpoint, all of our drills, all our components, our workout, the way we design our practices are extremely competitive where there’s consequences for not performing well or there’s consequences for not making something happen in a certain amount of time is structured. As far as everything is on a time of strength, from any drill or any shots from any workouts. there’s always [00:07:00] some type of like goal oriented.

So we’re trying to build competitive guys. Within our practice structure and then we practice for a long period of time. We practice on-site hours on a Saturday and five hours on a Sunday. So it was two hours on, one hour off, and two hours back on. And we’re trying to build those guys’ bodies and make sure that they could perform already fatigued.

And that’s the equivalent of what we did when we were younger. We would be in a park for a lot of hours and try to concentrate and focus when you’re tired for three hours. And you’re still trying to stay on the court and it’s similar to our practices where you can be going for two and a half, three hours. And then the third hour, we’re going into a shell drill and rotations and box outs and diving on the floor for loose balls. So it kind of leads into each other, but we just started to get guys who honestly are at least somewhat, naturally competitive and, and hate losing.

And then we try to put them in environments where they have to compete [00:08:00] in practice. And then in games,

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:04] I think by setting it up the way you just described and putting kids in those positions where you put pressure on them to be able to perform when they’re tired. And obviously when you have the level of teams that you’ve been able to put together and the quality of players that you’ve been able to have then you’re putting those kids into situations where maybe they haven’t been in those situations before competing against other great players who are part of their team, because let’s face it when you’re on your high school team. And you’re on the level of some of the guys that you’ve been able to have as part of your program. Those kids are clearly far and away the best player on their high school team. So they kind of naturally become the leader of that high school team. The ball’s in their hands all the time, and then they come and they play basketball with you. And now suddenly. They might just be one guy of 12 and you got to kind of find your place.

So talk about how you maybe help kids to adjust to that mentality, that change from [00:09:00] being the man to being a guy who maybe has to fit in a little bit more and find out what their role is to be able to help the team be successful.

Terrance Williams: [00:09:08] Yeah. I mean, we were fortunate, right? Well, we’ve already placed about 82 guys in Division one in the last, like eight years.

So. We come with a certain pedigree for guys being able to get to the next level and in doing so, we try to develop and structure our entire program in somewhat of a college bubble where we design things where everything is done from that fashion. So we find guys who understand that they need to play with other talent.

We find guys who want to win. We find us, we want to share, we developed those guys here year in and year out as they move up the ladder from one grade to the next, but we put winning at a premium. We, we put competitiveness, team orientated goals in the forefront. We discuss individual [00:10:00] goals, before we get on the court and we discussed team goals and we try to align those two entities and so on.

And then most importantly, we explain each person’s role from that team’s perspective and break it down and say, Hey, listen. You might’ve been a guy taking the most shots on your high school team, but here we need you to limit those shots because this other guy’s here and  this other big, guy’s going to be the guy who blocked shots would rebound and run the floor.

And so the guy’s going to be the defender and we kinda get, you get to your roles on the team and you try to master those roles because it all equals winning. And if you win, you’re going to get a chance to play in front of more college coaches. And if you, and you got to get a chance to get more scholarships, and if you win, you’re going to get more exposure and more rankings and more camps.

And all of the things that they’re gunning for, it all comes back to winning. And we can’t win if everyone’s on an individual court. So we try to do things from a team concept. [00:11:00] We do a lot of team building. we do a lot of like going out to museums and going out to the movies and going to church together and doing community service together and doing a group text and just anything and everything that can lead to those guys, having some type of comradery.

One of the things that we do, that’s a little different than most programs is on the weekends, our guy’s given his cell phones for the entire weekend. So all cell phones are in the drawer. and then those guys are able to eat lunch together, eat breakfast together, eat dinner together, communicate in a hotel room, do study hall.

Okay, communicate on the van ride communicate in on the flight, communicate in a lobby. It’s just everything that has to do with building these guys to be friends and getting to know each other. And now we’re doing an investing in banking classes and stop talking about stocks, talking about real estate, just all those different things on the road.

So it’s a different type of structure. But it all comes down [00:12:00] to having unselfish guys that get it and families honestly, to get the big picture. So what we’re trying to accomplish in is, has been the same why for a long period of time, which is let’s get everybody to school for free.

Mike Klinzing: [00:12:14] All right.

So let’s work backwards here. And now that you’ve had your program established and clearly you’ve had a tremendous amount of success. And as you’ve mentioned, a number of guys that you’ve been able to send on to division one, That kind of feeds on itself where people now know your reputation and they know what you’re all about.

But I imagine that when you started that wasn’t the case and you had to do a lot more selling of you and selling of your program in order to get it to the point where it is now and where you can do the things that you just described. And people are almost already bought in before they even set foot in the door because your reputation precedes you.

So take us back to when you first started. What was [00:13:00] the Genesis of starting the AAU program? Just think back to that time, when it first began, what was your vision at the time? And then how did you go about trying to make that vision a reality?

Terrance Williams: [00:13:10] Yeah, I mean, it was a beautiful grind.

I mean, it was literally trying to put a seed in the ground and water the flower and hope the sun comes out and build from the bottom. I mean, there was no rush. There was no pressure. There was strictly some young men at the age of about 12, sixth graders that were in the after-school program that I was running, and I was a director of the center and it was really like somewhat of a gimmick in many ways.

Like, Hey, listen, come to the afterschool program, do your homework, get your tutoring on do these classes. And then at six o’clock we’ll put you guys through some workouts and kind of just built from that where it was like, okay, I trust that. And you know, the guys will come in every single day [00:14:00] and Monday through Friday, we would do the same structure, feed those guys, make sure they did their homework, make sure they did their classes. And then 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. We would put them through drills and we will work them out and we teach them the game. And then we started playing on the weekends and local events whether it’s just around the city, in Harlem, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, we made those guys and we allowed them to connect the academics with their athletics.

And we did that for like two years and we did a ton of winning in a local area. Right. And then we started to branch out with the same guys. They moved up to seventh grade and we added maybe one kid or two kids and kept it real small, mom and pop, Had the right staff. And we spent a lot of time with those guys.

We were doing weightlifting, we were doing track workouts. We were running stairs. We had on stations, we were doing a study hall together. We used this, doing everything. We got summer jobs and everything you could think of. We had those guys all year round in a facility, [00:15:00] That we touched them every single day.

So academically we knew where they were. Socially we knew where they were and athletically, we knew where they were. So we had some really good gauges on them. And then we started playing in like New Jersey or Philadelphia in  smaller events in like seventh grade. And we started winning and we kept winning and the team got to like eighth grade and then ninth grade.

And we were doing a lot of fundraising, a lot of car washes and scratch off cards to everything you could think of to continue, to keep it going, right? And the kids were doing great. They were going to really good academic schools. We were getting kids into private schools, at an early age, like seventh grade. The parents were great.

They were super supportive and we were traveling around in like one of the parents’ cars and a couple of coach’s cars and we were just making it happen at the end of the day. and you know, one thing led to another and then Nike came into play. I think when those guys, I was like the 2014 class, I think when those guys [00:16:00] were in like maybe 10th grade, we became like one of the, I guess the number one team in the country, according to some polls, for a couple of years and then got the Nike sponsorship and kind of like it is what it is today.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:13] All right. So one of the things that has kind of been a theme through what you’ve said, and maybe something that our audience is aware of is you kept talking about some of the offerings that you have for your kids and the things that you have available to them that are not strictly basketball related.

And so I think that ties in really well with your own background. So let’s go back in time, too. When you’re in high school, just give us a little bit of your background as a student, and then kind of what your goals were when you went to college. And then obviously you came out and went into teach for America, just kind of give us the rundown of your academic career and then how that played into ultimately what your vision was for what you ended up doing as this thing came together on the AAU front.

Terrance Williams: [00:16:59] Yeah. [00:17:00] So I’ll just jump right to high school. Like I went to Taft High School in the Bronx, which was at that time considered one of the worst public schools in New York City and at minimum, probably in the country. I graduated from there in four years. I was just an average student, loved basketball, spent a ton of time just doing that and getting good enough grades to continue to matriculate up the ladder.

Then when it became time to graduate, I had a mentor named Marshall Scipio who ran the reach for the stars program, which is like your local boys and girls club. And I was a part of that program and she, when it came time for me to pick a college, she was like, listen, I don’t think that you’re ready for college academically. And I’m like, what are you talking about? I just passed all my classes for four years. I got a diploma saying, I’m ready. You know, and I have options. Like I can go to school. So she’s like, listen, you’re not ready. we should do this boarding school. And I’m like, what are you talking about?

She was like, there’s a boarding school called Holderness school in New Hampshire. [00:18:00] Right. And I’m like, Holderness school I’m like New Hampshire. So, I trusted, basically that’s the fork in the road that changed my entire life to be honest academically. So I go to the Holderness School, but the trick to it was.

I didn’t realize that they put me back in the 11th grade when I got there. So they made me like repeat two grades. So when most people think of, Hey, reclass, you do a year over or post-grad I didn’t realize that they was sending me back until I’m like fully invested in the classes. It seems like, yeah, you’re in 11th grade because you needed just your foundation to be fixed academically.

because at the end of the day I was passing classes, but I didn’t take school seriously whatsoever. So when I got to that place, it was small, 250 students. co-ed, majority are Caucasian and it’s probably like five black kids in the entire school at the time. two, three black staff [00:19:00] members.

but. Basketball wasn’t that good? You know, I’m coming in from the city of New York, sort of like. The first day there I’m canoeing and going camping. And I’m like, what the hell are we doing here? This is crazy. Right. So what is at that place where I learned how to be competitive academically? Cause there was a small class setting.

It was like 12 kids there. You know, teach a small group around the clock, tutoring, real hands-on everything from chapel to dress code. It was like, honestly, just a whole new world. The first week I called home. You know, and I’m like, Hey, I’m talking to my brother. And I’m like, Hey, I’m ready to come home.

And he’s like, well, what are you coming home to? There’s nothing like at that time, reality is I’m sleeping on two chairs in my mom’s living room, in the Bronx. Like there’s nothing for me to come home to, like we’re on welfare. My sister’s at the apartment with a newborn baby and my brother’s like, listen, I [00:20:00] don’t know where you’re coming from, but it’s nothing here.

You need to figure it out. And I called my mint. So, and she’s like, look, I don’t know how you’re going to get home. Cause I’m not coming to get you. It’s seven hours away. So needless to say two years are out, I’m getting in. I learn how to become competitive academically. Like the basketball was at that point.

It just became whatever to me, like I was in there and it was time I was passing time and you know, obviously I love the game, but. I started to yearn for knowledge and academia and what I can do with it and reading and remembering things and comprehending what I’m reading and just learning structures and study habits.

And everything was such a rigid thing with everything was time sensitive. You had to put your best foot forward in that realm, as opposed to the sports, like sports came easy to me, I was playing football and track and doing a bunch of stuff. It wasn’t that complicated to me, but the academics is where I kind of  had something to prove. So fast forward I graduate from, [00:21:00] from Holderness probably like a B plus student.

I’m an honor roll kid. And then I ended up getting accepted to Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut they recruited me and my mentor was like, Hey, this is big time. You should go there. You know, it’s kinda like a little Yale. And honestly speaking, I didn’t realize how academically respected it was at the time.

And when I got in, I just remember a bunch of kids coming up to me saying, damn like you got into that place. And that’s where I really, really wanted to go since I was 10. And you got in, so went over the Wesleyan, played three years. My last year I decided not to play cause I really wanted to focus on getting a job.

One of the things I didn’t want to do is become that guy that did all of this and it ended up back in the neighborhood with nothing to show for it. So. My last year, I was like, look, I’m just spending my time trying to figure out what I’m doing when I come out of this place, because I’m not going back to the hood with nothing.

My family is not structured in that [00:22:00] manner where there’s a job waiting for me. So I ended up applying for teach for America. And then you go through the process and I got in and once again, by the grace of God, a bunch of people were like, wow, that’s really hard to get into.

And I was able to come back to New York city to do the training. And then I ended up teaching like first grade and in a community that I kind of knew from the neighborhood that I grew up in. So now I’m coming back and I’m looking like somewhat of a hero because I’ve already graduated from college, from prep school. you know, now I’ve got a good job and I’m in grad school at night coaching. I’m just doing a bunch of things that are all positive, you know? So that’s kind of where it starts at. And then the academic stuff. I took it serious. And once I got to the Holderness school, when I learned the difference between the education that I was able to get from being a kid from the Bronx, [00:23:00] that was like a public school, my neighborhood and the education I was able to obtain from being at Holderness is in pretty much the same age range, right?

Like when I was at 10, 16, 17, 18 years old, same thing, those guys were that age. What they were able to capture and afford in this resources that they had was completely different than what I had when I was young. So we tried to kind of move that into what we do on a daily basis.

And I say that from the standpoint of just giving guys different opportunities that let them see that you have the choice to go to public school, you have a choice to go to private school. You have the choice of going to boarding school. There’s a lot of different opportunities that your family can have and construct your network base and construct, the education level and things of that nature.

You don’t have to limit yourself just to what you see, because you don’t know about this other stuff. So we were able to walk them through the introduction of these other opportunities from boarding schools in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and [00:24:00] Delaware, just up and down the Northeast, we kind of was able to open that door.

So now we have a ton of guys in our program that they go to boarding schools, and we have some guys who go to Catholic schools and a couple of guys who go to public school. So our framework has always been from the academics lead and incident athletics.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:19] So do you think that when you first started taking academics seriously, and then you get done and you apply to be part of teach for America, did you always have it in your mind that for your career, as you started looking at what your options were when you graduated that working with kids or being an education or being in coaching was what you wanted to do or did you have.

Maybe something else long-term in mind, because typically when you think of teach for America, that’s, isn’t it usually a two year program or a three year program, and then you can transition and do something do something else. Obviously you didn’t necessarily have a teaching degree when you did that.

So just maybe explain what your mindset was in terms of. [00:25:00] Was that a long-term play that you knew that you were going to end up with working in education and sports with kids? Or was it something that you’re like, I want to try this challenge myself, and then you had something else in mind that when you first started.

Terrance Williams: [00:25:10] Yeah. I always knew that I was really good with kids. and I love basketball. Like those two things I knew somehow some way they need to connect. When I did the teach for America, when I learned like, Hey, a lot of people are doing this program and  it’s a bad setup from the standpoint of you’re taking the least experienced people in that field of teaching and putting them in the most desperate situations that these kids are in. So. A lot of times, people were just doing the two years to get the master’s paid for and then moving on. Right? So a different profession or coming from being a lawyer into doing that and getting a master’s and leaving, I was saying, Hey, listen, I’m not going to leave these kids.

After the two years, there was a certain level of guilt for me because me being a rookie. [00:26:00] in that field, I was kind of like behind. So these kids, I was affecting the education. I was teaching first grade. So like you got a kid in the first grade, this is the beginning of the academic life. And you don’t know what you’re doing just yet.

Right? So to begin the first year, I’m a rookie, there’s a rookie second grade teacher. There’s a rookie third grade teacher and I’m saying to myself, wow, what if this kid went from me to her, to him, he’s only going to get half his education because we’re all learning on the fly. Right? So it did become all about the masses.

For me, it became really about just, Hey, I’m a black man in the, in, in the, in the heart of the Bronx and needs sometimes for these kids. That’s the first time they see a positive black man, in their life as a role model, right. Their teacher for someone on the dads are not home or for others, it’s just like I can be somebody look at him.

Right. Cause I look just like them. Right. Like there’s weekdays while I’m dressing down and wearing the stuff that they want to wear. [00:27:00] So I think for me, it was always just, just get your feet wet. And then once I learned like, Hey, you can really affect people’s lives. I was doing the teaching and then I was doing a few things simultaneously.

I mean, it’s tiring, but I’m affecting a ton of kids at one. You know, in one lump sum. So I didn’t think that I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher going into undergrad, or I didn’t know how long I wanted to stay in teaching when I was getting my master’s, but I knew that I didn’t want to be just like the typical teach for America teacher and come in for two years, reap the benefits and then walk away from these kids.

Right. Because there just wasn’t a lot of guys that look like me in that building or in those buildings. So I kind of owed it to them and I got better. And once I got better at it, I’m like, Oh, now it really affects these kids. Like, I can take a kid from a first grade level to a third grade level in a year because I know that the discipline that they need and I know what it’s like to go home and there’s no [00:28:00] lights on or go home and there’s no one there to sit with you to do your homework. So I was designing a bunch of different ways for them to get things done in advance, where they didn’t have to worry about mom and dad helping them when they got home or having them come early to school.

They certain tutoring done. Like I eliminated all of the excuses that they would have being kids when they’re in the city, because my story was worse than theirs. Like I’ve been homeless, I’ve lived in shelters. I’ve I’ve lived in crack infested Buildings and everything that you can think of, it was worse than their situation.

And when I told them my story, they were like, okay, Mr. Williams, whatever you want us to do, let’s do it. And it’s the same thing now with the PSA guys, like your story’s not worse than mine. So if I’m here today, then you can actually do better than me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:28:45] All right. Let’s, let’s zoom out for a second, big picture because I think what you just described when we start thinking about how we can have.

And impact on cause both Jason and I are teachers. So I teach right [00:29:00] now. I’ve taught third grade for a long time. I taught fifth grade for 14 years now I’m teaching  and Jason’s taught fourth grade and now he’s teaching eighth grade math. So we we’re right there. We’re right there with you in terms of being educators, I’ve been doing it for 20 some odd years, whatever

Jason Sunkle: [00:29:18] I’m at year 11, for me, Mike all, that’s it for me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:29:21] And you’re, you’re getting old Jason. So I think one of the things that we always talk about and that you hear it talked about in education all the time is how can we close that achievement gap?

How can we make certain that the kids that need, as you said, I thought one of the interesting points that you made was. You know, here, they throw me in there in the worst possible environment with kids who are in desperate need of having not a beginning, new, not sure what he’s doing, teacher, but those people they need those kids need the best, the best teachers in front of them to be able to, to be able to lift them out of a situation that they’re in.

So if you look at the [00:30:00] big picture, do you think that what you did is the way that it has to be done in order to effect change. In other words, I think it has to be almost one person at a time with the type of passion and the type of story that you brought to the table to be able to impact.

And to me, it comes down to more of that. One-to-one just look, I’m determined to be able to help these kids. Cause I think a lot of times we hear about these big sweeping educational reforms that don’t, don’t go anywhere. And I think your story, as I’m sitting there listening to you tell it to me, that’s just a story of like one guy saying I might not be able to change 10,000 lives, but I might be able to change 50 through what I’m doing.

And to me, I think that’s where. You really start to see change when there’s people that invest again, you went back and were fortunate to be able to invest in the community where you started [00:31:00] and that’s powerful.

When you think about that and you go and you look at your time in the classroom, and what do you think was, what do you think was the most impactful piece of what you were able to bring every day?

Do you think it was the fact that the kids could see themselves in you?+

Terrance Williams: [00:31:21] Yeah. I mean, I think, I mean, first of all, you, you’re starting at a young age, right? Like, You can get them before those efficiencies kick in. Like you guys are taught fourth grade, fifth grade, like there’s a high probability that kids in the fifth grade are on a third grade reading level.

Right. Or there’s always those stories. Like for me, I was able to put them on a right once I was good at it and I understood the ins and outs. I was able to put them on either the equal track or even further along in case the next teacher that they went to wasn’t as passionate as I was for, I didn’t have that same connection to the [00:32:00] kids. So a kid can walk up to you and be in the mid second grade level in September, if you know what I mean. So I think having that desire to just make sure that they weren’t behind when they went to the next step or they were ahead in case some things went left.

And they liked what they tell you. Like, I think it’s, if you don’t know how to read by the third grade, it might be completely open for you. Right? So me having these guys and these young ladies at a young age, I made education fun for them, but we had structure and obviously procedures to everything that went on in the classroom, but we made learning fun and at the time when they’re sponges, where everything for them is just about I can learn anything like it’s magical for them in their minds because they don’t know anything. They started from scratch. And now you’re teaching them multiplication, in the first grade and double digit multiplication and division and all these things that they’re going to learn at the next grade.

And [00:33:00] I’m telling them, Hey, listen, we’re gonna do some second grade stuff now, are we going to do some third grade stuff now? And they’re excited because they just want to keep learning new things. So I think I gave them somewhat of that fire, at an early age to say learning is cool and being smart is the new thing.

It’s the new wave. And ultimately for the parents, they looked at me like, wow, this is the same dude that I see at the corner store, this is the same dude. I see coaching kids on the weekends. Like this dude is dedicated to my kid. My kid could relate to him, you know?

And then for the kids, it’s literally like, I mean, when, at what age, as a young black kid in the ghetto sometimes see a positive black role model that can take you to 10, 11 and 12 years old sometimes longer than that. So I was able to say, okay, I gotta be on point and it kept me structured, honestly, like away from [00:34:00] work and away from coaching.

I always knew that I couldn’t mess up because you’re in a profession that requires you to be on point. So these kids are seen, I think that’s the biggest thing. They’re seeing someone that resembles something different than the neighborhood drug dealer or the neighborhood gangster or whatever it is when you’re trying to walk in the front of your building.

You know, like my teacher looks like these guys, but he’s different. And it’s okay to be like that. It’s okay to wear a tie. You know,

Mike Klinzing: [00:34:29] Do you think that translates in the same way to what you’re doing with the AAU stuff? And you start talking about having classes and real estate and having classes in investing in the stock market and having classes in personal finance and being able to teach kids something beyond just what they’re gonna learn from you on the basketball court.

Do you think that same. That same feeling of being a role model and that same way that those kids who, yeah, they’re not in first grade anymore. Maybe they’re 13, 14, 15 when you’re seeing them [00:35:00] for the first time. But you still feel like that same power that you have to be an inspiration to be a role model.

You still feel like that same thing enables you to have an impact on those kids and their families. Even though they’re at a little bit older age.

Terrance Williams: [00:35:13] Yeah,  I think it’s even bigger now because like our monsters is only a destiny, which is control your faith, don’t allow somebody to put you in a box be a boss in your own right. and I think what those guys see is a bunch of black males that they’re dealing with on a daily basis in this program that are pushing them to be all that they can be. You know what I mean? Like not allow any limits to your growth. There’s no ceiling on the court. There’s no ceiling off the court.

There’s this free space  to try new things while there’s poetry, while this fight being a violinist, whether it’s being a pastor, just different things that you might be into, we give you that, that freedom to try it along with your [00:36:00] basketball talent, you want to be into photography, bring your camera with you on the road.

So I think when these guys looking at you. I’m kind of like an entire staff. We were kind of those guys lawyers, like did Johnny Cochran’s to be able to protect them from the world and allowed him to challenge themselves in different ways outside of just the basketball. and it’s weird because as I go forward, I see things that I’m like, wow.

Like I didn’t realize they were watching me to that capacity. Like I see guys get older and start wearing stuff that I was wearing five years ago or three years ago. And the guys who make the NBA, the next thing I know they’re wearing Gucci and they’re teasing me because you know, when they didn’t have the funds.

To get it. It probably was something they was idolizing. Right. But they also know that it comes with hard work. It comes with dedication. It comes with this innate desire to be great and to be the best at something. So [00:37:00] everything that we’re doing as the leaders of the program, we do.

Take the understanding that they’re watching, every move we make and we need to be as best we can possibly be. every chance we get, which is why you don’t see me on social media or, or anything like that to showcase anything negative. So I think. Yeah. I think what I’m doing is similar now, but is that  a higher level?

Like you’re talking to kids about balancing bank books, and you’re talking about like the younger guys, we probably was the first ones to buy them a wallet and try to teach them how that symbolizes manhood. And you know, it’s all about teaching guys how to wear a tie and they’re teaching other guys how to wear a tie and just to be selfless and do these community service projects in your community and how they give back. So it’s, it’s a lot of different layers to it. but the simplest thing is to know that you’re a role model and not, and not a basketball coach. Like I tell people all the time, I deal with these guys 12 [00:38:00] months, a year, 365 days.

Right. I coach 25 to 30 games. I don’t think I’m a basketball coach at this point.

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:10] My question that goes along with that. And as you’ve mentioned, a couple of times your staff, so clearly the type of person that you are and the type of role model that you want to be. If you’re going to bring on somebody to be a part of your staff, You want them to espouse those same values and be the same type of role model that you are.

So can you tell us a little bit about how you’ve put together your staff, where maybe the background is of the people that you’ve hired to work with your to work with your kids and just what that process is like and how you having managers?

Terrance Williams: [00:38:47] Yeah, I mean, first of all, I mean, every coach in the program is a college graduate.

We want our guys to, when we’re preaching academics, we want them to know that the he has walked the walk [00:39:00] that we’re asking you to walk. So we want to make sure that we have that and then we have loyalty and respect and just good people. Like we don’t, we don’t select people to be part of our program based on X’s And O’s from a coaching standpoint,  we really recruit guys based on who they are and then more rules and being aligned with the vision of making these the best case possible. we, we, we’re not even a staff. Like it’s weird because when I say the word staff, I feel like I’m belittling their talent.

Right. And the people that’s next to me, these are literally my brothers because at this point the guys that are working with every day are people that are, I go to their baby showers, we go to weddings. We hang out, we go to double dates. We go to movies. We’re like connected, right? It’s not, these are not people that I see on a weekend.

These are like, these are my friends where everything that we do is connected. so. [00:40:00] I mean, I got smart people around me, and I think anyone that understands how to run a business, it’s how you, Hey, surround yourself with people that know more than you, or surround yourself with people that can cover your weaknesses.

So while most people look at me and say, Hey, this is the leader of the program. It’s so broken down into these different departments with every department has like a Steph Curry or these guys, the equivalent of having covering the ranch, this guys, the equivalent might be LeBron, but you know, I got Chris Paul, like everybody does with me and that we work together.

They’re elite at what they do. I always tell people that bosses, we don’t have any yes-men so there’s going to always be some tug of war over becoming better. Right? we have knockout drag outs because we’re trying to get better at our craft. And if we’re better at our craft, our kids will become better.

So the guys next to me are there for kids like everything they do. If you look at like our social media, [00:41:00] you look at how we do community service. You look at how we structure our road trips to our study halls. This is all in-house like, we don’t hire anybody outside to do our events, to how college recruitment, our marketing, like everything is done inside.

Like we do our own podcasts. We do our own interviews. Like it’s literally just maybe 20 to 25 guys. And everybody’s really, really good at what they do.

Mike Klinzing: [00:41:29] Yeah. When you can put that together. I think what you said about surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you, better than you can fill in your weaknesses.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that as a leader, when you can do that, that allows you to be able to grow exponentially beyond what you might’ve been able to put together and do. Yourself. So when you start, when you start thinking about those people that are part of

your team and the impact that they can have on the young people, [00:42:00] and just the fact of what you’ve been able to build, and as you said, keep things in house.

Mike Klinzing: [00:42:06] What would you say has been the biggest challenge in terms of being able to do that and keep things in-house and not have to look outside your organization for. Things that you might have needed, maybe let’s say back when you first started. So how have you been able to sort of build this thing out into what it’s become utilizing your staff?

Terrance Williams: [00:42:29] Yeah, I mean, I think that the biggest challenge  is if you call it a business, What’s your working with family members, right? So, and then when you have family members, you’re in a space where things that you want to get done or accomplish in a certain manner, you have to use a certain language that you have to be delicate.

or you can just argue it out, but it is going to somehow affect your friendship. Right? So it’s not like, Hey, I’m [00:43:00]  just talking to an assistant coach, I can just tell him, Hey, do this and not worry about his films. And, I’m not the godfather of his son, you know? So I’m in a space where like, everyone that that’s here because they’re really good.

And because we were really connected. We have friendships. So you don’t want to lose a friendship based on this. And this is obviously God’s work, but it’s still, can’t be bigger than the friends that you’ve had for 15, 16, 20, 20 years. Like the four major guys. And I mean the other three, pretty much the guys in the program with the college together.

Right. And then, so we look at our staff, there’s been guys who are here 10 years, eight years, nine years, seven years. They’ve given a lot of sweat and tears  to this situation. And ultimately we want it to feel like it’s theirs, but they don’t own it. Right. It’s you still working to help a bigger cause, but it’s not sure.

[00:44:00] So you gotta be respectful of what people bring to the table. Be respectful of their feelings, of their emotions, and one of the biggest things is as you get older, What used to be fun, isn’t fun anymore, or becomes somewhat a bits down. Right. You know, you don’t want to have, like, you got guys who are firefighters and police officers and teachers and you know, counselors and these guys construction workers and all these different professions.

That’s your nine to five. You don’t want to another Nine to five. It is supposed to be something that makes you laugh and smile and feel good inside. So I think the biggest thing is just making sure that it doesn’t interfere with the friendship.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:44] Yeah that makes a ton of sense to me. I think that when you’re getting and you’re putting your staff together and clearly you have expectations for what you need them to do, what you want them to do.

And then they have things that they enjoy. Just like you said, they don’t want to go in and go through the [00:45:00] same drudgery that they might feel towards their career and in their day job, they want to be able to come and be energized by what they do with a basketball program. And I think that that’s really, really important when you start started this thing, and you were beginning to realize that, Hey, we’ve got this group that you started with.

And as they started to spread out for winning locally to win a little bit regionally, and now you start getting involved with Nike and things start happening. At what point do you start to build relationships with college coaches to be able to help your kids to connect with those coaches. In other words, I’m guessing that when you first started that you really didn’t have any connections to college coaches.

So how did you go about building that network so that you could tap into it to be able to help your kids?

Terrance Williams: [00:45:54] Yeah. I mean, there was times when we were cold calling people or cold email and [00:46:00] random random schools. Like if we would literally look it up, look up the numbers, look at the emails, the culture, and send them a roster, send a mix tape or the guys  video, the GPA, their report cards, just everything like we’ll draft up an email and basically cut, copy, cut, paste it right to 200 coaches. I mean, as they got older we were playing, we were playing on a circuit, so guys will see in us, in the live period, but. We were extremely proactive with getting to know coaches or getting to know universities.

And we weren’t the best at it yet. Obviously we were doing it in the beginning. but we didn’t have any issues with once we got business cards and we followed up and we were proactive. We were going after it and wanted to make sure our kids were all aligned to get to college because no matter what you do in this game, if the kid doesn’t get to college, you failed.

Like that’s it. There’s no reason behind it. It’s no excuses. If that parent trusts you to take a kid from [00:47:00] 12 to 18 years old and he doesn’t make it the school, especially for free. They’re looking at every single trip you took and everything you did was just for nothing. So our job has always been no matter how it has to happen, these kids got to go to school for free. And then we just started building relationships little by little year after year, year after year. to the point now where we pretty much, we could pretty much get in contact with any college in the country.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:28] Yeah, I believe that. And I clearly, when you have the quality of players that you’ve been able to come through and we can talk about that here in a little bit, but when you’ve had the quality of players that you’ve had to come through the program and you have guys that not only make it to the college level, but eventually make it to the pro level that tends to give you a lot more credibility in terms of what you’re doing and the success that your guys have had moving on through the ranks and being able to do that, give people an idea of what.

A player’s life is like, or what the, what a day in the life of a player, who’s part of your program? The [00:48:00] summer, let’s say it’s during the time when you’re playing on the  circuit, maybe kind of walk us through a week where you’re going to have a tournament on the weekend. What does that week look like for your team, your players for you?

What does that look like?

Terrance Williams: [00:48:13] Just give you, like, let’s say we’re preparing for Peach Jam. Okay. it’d be maybe four straight days of a double practices and double practices consist of two hour practices on court. there’ll be an hour of like basically conditioning, running the track, running the Hills, running mountains, anything ladders and it just, anything that got to do with conditioning, right?

Getting them back in shape at that time is the beginning of July. You have film session for about an hour or two to, go over the stuff that we need to get better at. And then by that time, we’ll notice teams that we’re playing when we get to peach jam so that we’ll do a film session, each practice of the teams that [00:49:00] we’re going to play and come up with a scouting report.

We’ll have lunch together. We’ll have dinner together. those guys are all staying at each other’s houses in New York. What else would we do obviously we might be just doing some community stuff, or working at a local camp to give back or just things, things that keep us bonded, but we’ll spend I want to say like nine o’clock in the morning to like seven o’clock at night for like four or five, three days. just perfecting everything that we needed before we went, before we went on that trip. And then on the trip, it’d be the same type of thing. Study hall. if we need to do anything academically, It’d be ice baths.

There’s no fast food or the phones will be taken away. We’ll do the film sessions. We’ll do yoga. [00:50:00] We’ll do pool workouts. We’ll obviously have a bedtime, wake up time morning runs, just an agenda of everything we need to do that week in order to try to be successful. So, I mean, it really would be a pretty hectic time for those guys to get to play in front of the college coaches.

We’ll go four or five straight days of hard work like, Oh, and then we’ll get on the road and try to win.

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:28] What kind of feedback do you get from your players that have gone through the program? And then they go to college and they go through their first freshman year of college basketball.

And then you have, you have a conversation with them during that season, after that season, what do they tell you in terms of feedback about. Hey, but this really prepared me for my first year of college basketball. What are some things that they feel are really beneficial to them in the transition from being a high school basketball player to being a college [00:51:00] basketball player?

Terrance Williams: [00:51:00]  Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on your level too, right? If we, if we got guys who were going to select the Ivy league, the Patriot league, a low major. They’re like, this is easy. Like the practices, the practices that we have are harder, if you got guys that’s going to high major, they’re like the structure that we had on the road is perfect for what I’m going through, because everything is on a schedule and everything is already mapped out for you.

And that’s kinda like how it is for college. When you’re traveling and you got to get some reading done on the plane, or you got the tutors right there. So those guys are excited about that. I think the one negative that they find, and they’re a little delusional in the fact that they think the coaching staff is going to love them the way that we love them holistically right away. And so we put in a lot of sweat equity with them. So we have this bond and we’re able to [00:52:00] coach them hard, on the court because they know we love them hard off the court, but they’re expecting. Like the coach, the head coach after practice to be like spending time with them when the coach was like, no, I got to go to the next thing.

So I think they struggle with that. as far as understanding shot selection, minutes played and how hard you got to play there, they’re more than prepared. Like our guys, honestly, as freshmen, they’re averaging 20 minutes a game, depending on whatever level they go to that they’re picking good spots and they’re playing right away.

And you’re affecting the game. So the things that we do, like from a practice standpoint, from a technique standpoint, from an expectation standpoint, it aligns itself with what a lot of the colleges and a lot of that comes from us taking college visits to schools and watching practices, or sitting down with coaches and asking them questions about things we can get better at, from sleeping habits, to eating habits, to, film sessions, whatever we can do that.

[00:53:00] mimics what they do at the next level. We try to incorporate that more and more each year. So that way the transition is not difficult, but a lot of our guys feel extremely prepared. I mean, obviously the speed of the game is faster, right. and once they really get a chance to attack the weight room, the strength of the game catches up.

But we’ve, we’ve been fortunate enough with college coaches are like, listen, He’s coachable. He works hard. He’s on time. He’s ready to work. You can coach him hard. He’s not emotional. Like these are the things that they need you to be ready for. And they’re great teammates, right? They understand their job and what they need to do and then understand production is what keeps you on the court.

So, yeah, they, I think a lot of the stuff that we do does translate to the next level now, and the guys who don’t win, there’s a psychological warfare with those guys. Like they struggle mightily to handle that because they’re so [00:54:00] used to being successful from a winning standpoint. and when they get to college and they lose a couple of games in a row, it is not always the easiest thing to deal with, which is probably a good thing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:54:09] So. When you’re talking to players and parents, while they’re still part of your program and having discussions with them about what their college opportunities are going to be. And obviously you have players that play at all different levels that come out of your program. And so clearly one of the things that I think is really key to being a good coach on any level, whether that’s an AAU coach, a college coach on a school coach is.

To be able to speak directly and honestly, to the players about what it is that where you think they can play, what level. So how do you approach those conversations with parents and players where maybe the parent and player might have a slightly inflated view of the level that that kid can play at, but you have a [00:55:00] much more realistic view because you’ve gone through the process multiple times with lots and lots of players.

So just tell us a little bit about that conversation and what that looks like.

Terrance Williams: [00:55:10] I mean, that’s that conversation has to be led by honesty. I mean, if you think about it at that time, you’re pretty much done with AAU. So what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen. The parent’s not going to say, yeah, I don’t want to play for it anymore.

This point you’re doing a one-on-one meeting. Right. And you’re having a conversation to say, Hey, listen, I know you might think you’re a high major, but here’s this school’s there. That are recruiting you. Right. And what is the position that you want to be in? Do you want to continue just to wait on something that’s not going to come, throughout my experience, I can tell you the truth.

I think his son is a mid-major. I think he should pick the best academic school on his list. And we talk about, what do you want to do after basketball is over? What type of degree do you want to have? which [00:56:00] school has the most minutes for you? What style of play do you fit? which college?

The coaching style can a kid handle. Like, if you a kid who can’t take yelling, there’s a couple of schools you don’t want to go to. Right. I I watched the game. So I think one place that I come from is I’m coming from a knowledge-based form with, I watch a lot of college basketball, so I know what you want in there.

Right. And I just try to position them to understand, like what’s the best for now, but what’s also best for later. And how is your kid going to be happy? Because there’s not a lot of kids who are not playing and they’re happy. So happiness is important while you’re in college, especially if you’re athlete.

So, I mean, it’s definitely from a one-on-one standpoint, you’re going to have a list. then the real question comes in. So like when is the best time to commit, you want to have a relationship. You want the school, hopefully to have relationship with AAU program because you want that school to feel in a sense, obligated to make sure this kid is in the [00:57:00] best arms, because they want to continue to recruit from this program. Right. so you don’t want to just be out there doing it on your own as a parent or two parents. You want help, you want to have the programs backing and everyone to be on the same record.

So, I mean, a lot of it is based on what the options are. what the playing time is available. Are you gonna win? Cause you want to do that. And, what type of degree are you looking for?

Mike Klinzing: [00:57:27] How do you work with your players’ High school coaches, both through the process of as they’re coming through their high school career and making sure that you’re on the same page with the high school coach.

They’re not necessarily hearing a different message from each side and then. In terms of the recruiting process, because obviously college coaches are not only talking to you as on the AAU side of it, but they’re also talking to the players high school coach. So what is your philosophy or how do you build relationships with your players?

High [00:58:00] school coach to make sure that you’re on the same page and that everybody’s kind of working in, pulling in the same direction.

Terrance Williams: [00:58:03] Yeah. I mean, we spend a lot of time like visiting guys. Like if you’re on prep, schools will come up and visit just a regular day and not necessarily watch basketball, but we’ll sit down and talk to the high school coach about what schools he’s looking at, what schools he might want to look at and we’ll ask their opinion, like, Hey, what do you think? And if they say the same thing we’re saying, we’ll be like, okay, cool. This is easy, you know? And then if they like, Hey nah, think he should look at this school, this school and this school, I’m like, all right, well, can you explain why?

And then you explain your son. He explained his side and you try to get on the same record at least for a couple of schools, because you don’t want the parents feeling like the high school coach is pulling them one way and the AAU coach was pulling them another way. It can just get messy. So I think we have really good relationships with all of the high schools that our guys are at and honestly the high school coaches, hey don’t really get too far involved, with the kids [00:59:00] recruitments for the most part, or at least the guys that are in our program.

So the culture is more so saying, Hey, you guys can take care of that. I’ll just coach them in high school and make sure you’re doing well academically. And then you guys can lead that us in that situation, with the recruitment process and some parents do everything themselves, some parents are like, Hey, we need your help.

It’s not a bunch of schools that our guys are at that their high school coaches are saying, Hey, I’m going to be the person that says you should go to school X, like it’s more of a joint venture

Mike Klinzing: [00:59:42] Do you think that was something that you had to build over time in terms of building your trust and credibility compared to maybe let’s say when you started, I’m sure that process is a lot easier.  Now that high school coaches have seen that you have the player’s best interest at heart because you know, there’s always that. There’s always that controversy between high [01:00:00] school coaches and AAU. You hear it, it’s out there that each side kind of complains about some of the things about the other, but I think.

What I’m hearing you say, and what I’ve seen with programs that are successful, both talking about high school programs, NAU programs is there’s that communication back and forth. And when they’re, when you have that proactive communication, now you have trusted, it seems to me that as you’ve gone along, that you’ve been able to build that trust with both coaches at the high school level and coaches at the college.

Terrance Williams: [01:00:28] Yeah. I mean, I think for one thing I know is people don’t like pressure, right? The high school coaches don’t really want the pressure of that kid not getting to school, right. Or that kid being at your high school for four years and not going to the division one school. So AAU does a lot of heavy lifting because of the amount of exposure that we have.

So guys are getting offers at a high frequent rate, doing a few seasons because there’s such a high number of coaches at the games. So [01:01:00] I think what happens is the high school coaches are like. Oh, no, I’m not going to put up a big argument about this. As long as the kid is going to school for free, because we all look like we did our jobs and I think our relationship and our reputation is kind of like, Hey, these guys help place the kid in prep schools.

And it helped place the kid in college. Like they do so much of the work for you that. There’s a clean line of understanding what your role is and what my role is. And our role is as an AAU side, like we need you to make sure the kid has a safe Haven to become academically sound his grades on par.

His SAT score is headed in the right direction. we’ll help with that stuff, but ultimately these are the things that you need to cover up. And he did the things that we need to cover, but then we communicate, during the year where it’s like, Hey this school was coming in and see kid X, or this school is really interested in him.

This school wants to offer him. but there’s no egos. I think as long as the egos are [01:02:00] left at the door, you’re fine because ultimately we’re both working together because the kid needs to go to school . We both failed. Right? So like this year we put, we’re going to go 12 for 12. in division one, like all 12 of those kids might go to different high schools, but all of their coaches are like, Hey, you guys did a phenomenal job during COVID.

You know what I mean? Like, there was no basketball. And let’s say you’re a high school player  today and you don’t know what your season’s going to look like, what. Your number one player is committed already. You’re happy, right? For sure. So you don’t care if he, if he chose Oregon or Alabama, you just know this kid has done in his sleep, but at night, right?

So we’re all working together to help that end goal. And as long as you you’re dealing with people, They understand that like the transition is not that difficult and we try our best to stay away from high schools that don’t want to assist in that [01:03:00] process and making sure this kid has the most opportunities possible for college.

If it’s just about winning for them, we try to get away from that school.

Mike Klinzing: [01:03:08] Well, I think what I hear you saying, I think this is something that’s the hallmark of any good program is it has to be about the kid first. And when it’s about the kid, first, you as the adult, if you’re putting the kids’ best interests at of your own best interests, then that’s when you’re going to end up getting the best results.

And that is what builds more trust and more credibility and allows you to attract more players and be able to have a bigger impact. And I think it just kind of feeds. On itself. I want to give you a chance to name, drop a little bit, and just, I’m going to ask you, I’m going to ask you this question and that is some of the guys that you’ve been able to help get their career jump-started and they eventually make it to the NBA.

Can you point to a, you can share some names, but also then just maybe point to. Some things that you feel separate those guys [01:04:00] from. Cause obviously people who are planning your program, the kids who were playing your program are all high level kids. And they’re all kids that are great basketball players.

But if you’re going to make it to the league, you have to be a cut above. You have to have something different. So in your experience, what’s some things that set apart those kids that are truly the elite of the elite.

Terrance Williams: [01:04:21] Yeah. So, I’ll go by the names. and then I kinda like try to go backwards. You got Chris McCullough, he was drafted by the nets.

You got several area. They had a stint with the Clippers. Do you have, Thomas Bryant? I think he’s with the Wzards. Sound Washington. You have Check Diallo he’s with Phoenix. You have Omari Spellman. He’s with Minnesota, you have Mo Bomba. Who’s with Orlando. You have Tye Jerome, who’s with Phoenix.

You have Cole Anthony on his way. [01:05:00] I think that’s like seven to eight, right? So I think what separated a lot of the guys with the size was the fact that they could stretch the court. So he could shoot the three. You look at Thomas, same thing, six-10, and he could shoot the three.

You look at Omar Spelman, 6-9. He could shoot the three and then Mo Bamba was seven feet. He could shoot the three. and then what happened with the Diallo was his motor, right? Where he was just fearless with the amount of energy that he played with. So, and he was productive. So no one is turned down for that.

Right?  How about how you do it? It was getting done. Right. And then I think it was separated Tye Jerome from, from the pack was his elite size for a point guard at 6-5. And his [01:06:00] shot, his ability to shoot for range, but most importantly, his IQ, like his feel for the game, his understanding of the game, all of those things.

So, and then obviously being at Virginia and winning and the NCAA tournament run, he, that, that helped him, like we’ve had two guys win national championships. I think the last two national championships, have been PSA kids, Omari Spellman, Villanove, Jerome at Virginia. and then obviously Cole’s going to get drafted.

I think just his competitive nature was turned and I separated him from his entire class in 2019. So I mean, that’s pretty much how their makeups or, but just guys who had the moves and the stars align for them, man, and they made it to the highest level and they’re fortunate.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:48] Absolutely. I want to ask you one final question. It’s a two-parter.

And it’s all one part at a time. All right. So this is the question that I’ve been kind of trying to wrap up [01:07:00] our shows with lately. Cause I think it kind of gets to the heart of why we all do what we do. So part one is what is the biggest challenge?

As you look forward with the PSA Cardinals, what is the biggest challenge that you see, forget about COVID let’s just imagine that things get back to normal. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that that happens. What do you see as being the biggest challenge to be able to continue to sustain the success you’ve had and continue to grow what you’ve built?

Terrance Williams: [01:07:27] Yeah, the biggest challenge one is I’ll say this one is making sure that us as a unit, as far as the adults that are interested in making sure these young men try to reach their goals, have enough energy, right. And, and fire in our stomach to continue to do the best job we can not, not Slack off, not take days off or not become complacent with [01:08:00] the level that we’re at today.

Like find a way to continue to become even better. That’s that’s the first thing. the second challenge, I think, is a community based challenge where I’m trying to get us to be considered the program. That’s the program of the entire New York city community, right? Where the resources and things that everyone needs, we can help, provide those resources and some form of fashion where it’s not.

Like our structure, our deal, like our house is open to everyone that we can help in some form or fashion. and in align with that, getting the ultimate thing is getting the respect from New York City. In my opinion, the way that we got respect from around the country, she still. In saying that if you ask people around the country, their [01:09:00] opinion of PSA, they’re say stuff like man, at one of the top five team, top five programs in the country, top 10 at minimum.

What if you asked Billy from down the street? He’ll say not

Mike Klinzing: [01:09:15] It’s so funny you say that because I’ve, I have. I have seen that play out. I heard I had somebody actually I was on a phone call with a guy and his quote. Wasn’t it, it dovetails perfectly what you just said. You said it’s hard to be the expert in your hometown.

And when he said that, I was like, man, that is profound. And that is exactly what you just described. So. Interesting. Very interesting answer.

Terrance Williams: [01:09:41] It’s based on competition though.

You are in competition with you, so you, you will almost have to let your guard down to except love or give the flowers to someone that they deserve before they pass away, but take [01:10:00] away competition. So you can do that, but because they’re so caught up in competition. It’s hard to say, this person is really good at this.

Like I’ve had conversations with people where you can give them legitimate factors that said we’re better than you at something. Right. Like in mathematics, if someone said, Hey, I put 82 kids in college in eight years and you put 40 kids in college in eight years, everyone in America will say, well, this program is better at putting kids in college than you are.

Right. What someone would say no, 40 is hiding and 80

they’re in competition. So they can’t admit that. So is this a weird, it’s a weird dynamic, but you want to end the situation on a note that says you need the same respect at home as you got around the country. That’s one of my [01:11:00] challenges.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:02] Excellent answer makes complete sense to me.

I can totally relate to what you just said. All right. Second part of the question is your biggest joy. So when you get out of bed in the morning, what makes you excited to come into work every single day? Get to do

Terrance Williams: [01:11:15] what you do. My biggest joy honestly, is that, is that I’m working, I’m working with friends and I have the ability to manipulate time.

So like, I’m, if anybody knows me, they’ll tell you like this guy doesn’t do alarm clocks, but he’s always on time. And he’s always doing everything minute by minute or hour by hour. But I’m a self motivated person. So having this, this non-for-profit and having this organization allows me not to have to deal with a lot of red tape or people trying to tell me what to do.

Like I have options, right? I have options with my time as much as I can. So as adults, [01:12:00] we want as much time to ourselves as we can get. But we will ultimately have to work eight hours a day for the most part. So I’m able to steal time at the end of the day. And time is the most valuable commodity in the world at this point.

It to me. so I’m able that, that’s the biggest thing. When I get out the bed, I know that if I just handle everything the way I need to handle it, I’m going to be able to steal time from, from the universe.

Mike Klinzing: [01:12:27] Makes sense to me. I think you’re a hundred percent spot

on with the fact that we all could use more time.  I know that I could use 26 hours in a day for sure. I’d have, I’d have, I’d have plenty to do in those other two hours. Just trust me. When I say that before we wrap up, I want to give you a chance to share where people can find out more about your program. Find out more about you and what you guys are doing with the PSA Cardinals.

And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in to wrap things up.

Terrance Williams: [01:12:52] Yeah, man, PSACardinals on Twitter, PSACardinals on Instagram, follow [01:13:00] the website, PSA Cardinals. and if you really want to know, like, we like to tell our own stories, you could find somebody that knows somebody that knows somebody and they can get you my phone number and then you’ll get all the answers you want.

Mike Klinzing: [01:13:11] There you go, we can’t thank you enough for spending an hour and 20 minutes or so with us tonight and sharing your story, which again, I think there was a lot of things in there that coaches and basketball people can take from it and learn. And clearly when you talk about education, that’s always a subject that Jason and I are passionate about.

Clearly you’re passionate about it as well.  And we cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump on with us. It’s been an absolute pleasure, getting a chance to know you and have this conversation and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.

Thanks.

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