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Doggpound Basketball continues to make its mark on city’s sports landscape

Count the angsty teenagers in this picture./ Doggpound Basketball
Count the angsty teenagers in this picture./ Doggpound Basketball

Executive director says the sport’s focus should be on development

Ever since 2010, Doggpound Basketball and Executive Director Adam Huffman have been working to produce great basketball players, and great people within their communities.

So how did Doggpound grow into the multi-city basketball program that it is today? Believe it or not, it began with the former University of Regina Cougar star and two of the kids he was coaching.

“Doggpound started with two kids I had been coaching on the Balfour Jr. boys’ team. I was working with them at the U of R during open gyms, then received a letter from administration stating that I would need to rent the gym if I would be training,” Huffman said. “I was shocked and discouraged when I saw how much it cost to rent a gym at the U of R, especially as a former player and current assistant coach at the time. My girlfriend at the time, current wife, surprised me by building me a website to reach a few more kids to split the gym rental with. I used the site to promote an eight-week program, and to my surprise, over a hundred kids showed up on registration day.”

As for the name Doggpound, Huffman explains the origins, and it’s connection to his Cougars playing days.

“When I played for the Cougars, I used to listen to my favourite rap group in the car on the way to our games – Tha Dogg Pound. I liked the name Doggpound because it sounded tough, and like something all the stray dogs could be a part of, meaning whether you were elite or brand new to the game, you were accepted at Doggpound.”

Thanks to the initial success, Doggpound has grown beyond its quiet beginnings, running numerous camps throughout the year. The program offers kids the chance to play basketball outside of their school and club teams, an option that not everyone gets.

“The initial program was meant to be eight weeks to completion, but realizing there was a huge demand from several participants and parents to offer more as some of these kids didn’t have a club to be a part of,” Huffman told the Carillon. “Basketball in Canada was just starting to thrive and I realized we needed an opportunity to keep up with the larger markets that have had programs like mine since the ‘80s.”

As Doggpound continues to grow in Saskatchewan, many former players continue to make their name across the North American basketball scene, including players in the ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference), CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association), as well. While Huffman is proud of all his athletes, he notes a couple that make him especially proud of all the work that they’ve put in.

“[O]ne example of a kid I’m proud of coming from my program is Liam Schwartz who is now coaching the Balfour junior boys and is loved by his players because of his caring approach to the game,” Huffman says. “Another player I am very proud of is Joe De Ciman who is now playing his final year at Colorado State. I don’t claim any Doggpound participant’s success as my own, but am proud knowing that I contributed!”

So what’s next for Huffman and Doggpound? Well, more of the same. Doggpound aims to maintain the focus on developing the skills of Saskatchewan basketball players, and helping them become prominent members of their communities.

“Doggpound will continue focusing on individual development in a group setting, especially with the current obsession of club teams. Parents are feeling pressured to get their kid’s on teams to ‘keep up with the Jones’,’ but I fully believe in the long term athlete development model that states kids should be practicing four hours for every hour of competition,” Huffman states. “My priorities will always be with developing strong young leaders who give back to their community. Skill development over games.”

About Matt Wincherauk