My name is Kyle Julius and basketball is in my blood.
I was raised in a gym, my father was a successful university coach and the fine details of the game was everyday life for my brothers and I. We grew up watching and breaking down film, studying how great players train and listening to my father preach hard work day in and day out.
From a very young age, I can remember going to his practices and listening to the different strategies he would implement week in and week out as he prepared his teams for battle in the C.I.A.U [now known as the CIS].
Before long we would talk strategy, game adjustments and how to become a great player. My father is my best friend in the world and in my 34 years we haven’t had too many conversations that didnt revolve around the game – I wouldn’t have it any other way. My mom and dad are two of the most honest, hard working people you will ever meet, they instilled a tremendous work ethic and a passion I have always worn on my sleeve. My dad opened the gym and my mom pushed me, basketball was our foundation and the game was my life.
I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, one of the best cities in Canada if not the world for developing high end hockey talent. Hockey is life up there and the way they develop talent and skill on the ice is tremendous and the inspiration for why I played the way I did.
I played hockey at a high level but fell in love with basketball when I began to train with John LaPlante in the eighth Grade. John was a hard working tough point guard for Lakehead University, one of the top scorers in school history. I fell in love with his work ethic, doing two a days with him before I was in high school. He was hard on me and taught me how to complete a shooting workout and how to train by myself at a young age. We would get up 500 shot workouts and play 1 on 1. John would kick my ass and abuse me in these games, he helped build some much needed toughness.
I know how hard the young kids I now work with can go because of what John and I used to go through in the early 90’s.
By the time I was in the 10th grade I was working out and practicing regularly with the Lakehead University men’s team. I was cocky, I would get into fights and I would never back down from anyone, anywhere. Playing regularly with University players as a ninth grader, I knew if I was going to get the ball and do anything with it I had to be tough and willing to get hurt.
I would shoot 250 shots in the morning before school, play ball at lunch time, go to my high school practice after school and then get to the University before it closed to get some more work in at night. Because of my surroundings and not having club or AAU basketball in the Thunder Bay, I approached my game with a passion and a very resourceful work ethic. I would tie a tire around my waist and sprint in the snow, ball handling on the road in the winter and do what ever it took to get in a gym to play and work on my game.
- I played my senior year of high school at Cathedral in Hamilton where we won the 1998 OFSAA Championship, I played for the legendary coach Mark Walton.
- From there, I received a full Scholarship to play at NCAA D1 Furman University in the Southern Conference, where I started many games as a freshman and made the Conf. all rookie team.
- After my sophomore year at Furman, I decided to transfer back to Canada and play for Guelph University, where I earned All-Canadian status and had a chance to sharpen my scoring intincs and fight to make the Canadian National Team.
- As my career in University came to an end I was able to sign a contract to play pro ball in the 1st league in Italy. My first year was amazing, I played for the Croatian National Team coach and played along side some serious NBA talent.
- The summer after my first year playing pro was tremendous, I finally made the National team and I played for Leo Rautins, Dave Smart and one of my favourites Kevin Hanson. That same summer I was one of the Captains for our World University Games team in Izmir, Turkey.
- I went on to play pro for two more years in Europe before I stopped playing professionally and started my skill and development business in the GTA. *A* Game Hoops
I would like to very clear, by no means do I think I was a special player. In fact, when I look back upon my career I made a lot of mistakes and wish that I could have played much better at many different stages, acted a lot better as a person in some instances and worked a little more efficiently instead of so aggressively in other cases.
I wasn’t overly consistent and I surely butted heads with most of my coaches along the way. As a player, I was probably a little better than average but definitely nothing special.
However, what I am most proud of and what I do think is a little special is the simple fact that I documented the entire journey all the way from the tenth grade to my training business here in the GTA today. I kept a journal. A lot of players and even a few coaches made fun of me for it.
It all started in the tenth grade and I have never stooped. It was something my dad instilled and I now have stacks and stacks of notebooks full of details on what no to do, what to do and how to do it. I would chart shooting workouts, list my best moves, critique my performance, scout players, note what other guys were doing to be successful, and study every little detail of what I wrote day in and day out.
As I got older I realized that growing up a coach’s son was not only the greatest gift ever, but it was also a bit of a curse. It wasn’t long after I started playing I was critiquing my coaches more than my personal performance. I quickly began to note if I thought the drills were working, watch how players reacted after certain things were said to them, I would study motivational styles, I knew our weaknesses and strengths better than our coaches and very rarely did I ever agree with our schemes. I would diagram the plays I liked the most from our opponents and analyse whether I thought we deserved a day off or not. I was in my first year of University realizing that I wanted to coach more than I did play.
It was painful to not agree with your coach and my biggest weakness, one of the reasons I was a little better than average. Had I worried about myself and not everything else, I feel as though I had the talent and work ethic to play at a way higher level. I could have been way better and that is tough to swallow.
Over analysing every move my coaches made was my biggest weaknesses as a player and has amazingly become my greatest asset as a coach.
Since 2007 I have worked with over 3000 different young developing players in Ontario. I have run camps all over the country and players I have worked with have gone on to play D1, CIS and professionally. My skill and development business has become an important part to the success of many of Canada’s best up and coming players.
- I have felt the pain and anguish players experience when they get cut from a team during their journey and I know how to approach the next step with them.
- I know what it feels like to over train and to under train.
- I know what it feels like to wear Canada across your chest.
- I have gone through an entire year not getting along with my coach and learned how to maintain positive enthusiasm and still work to be successful.
- I know the feeling of signing a full scholarship and the even better feeling of signing a pro contract.
- I have made some big shots and big plays and also missed even bigger ones.
- I have been the best player on the team and the worst.
- I have played for and studied from some of the best coaches in our country and the world.
- I played in the CIS and NCAA and I know that the grass can be very green on both sides if you know how to water it.
As a result of the trial and tribulation I experienced along my journey combined with my attention to detail, I now have a great feel what basketball in Canada is missing and why all of our players are leaving instead of staying in Canada and making the game at home even stronger than it already is becoming.
NPH shares a very similar approach to basketball in this country, building the game from the inside, out, while providing a positive impact on the youth and the basketball community alike.
With that being said, I will be analyzing major topics in the world of Canadian basketball, that I can speak on, from first-hand experience…while remaining true to the integrity of the game.
My name is Kyle Julius, and basketball is in my blood.
Thank you for reading.
Yours in Basketball,