David Kaplansky started the Hollister Basketball Club (HBC) two years ago as a way to pass down what he’s learned about the game to the younger generation. Proper fundamentals are stressed, effort is demanded and understanding the nuances of the game are developed.
“At their age (10 and 11 years old) I’m not trying to teach winning and losing—I’m trying to teach playing the game the right way,” said Kaplansky, a P.E. teacher at Spring Grove School and former San Benito High boys and Gavilan College men’s basketball coach.
“Forming HBC has been fantastic and a great way for me to connect with my son and his peers and take what I learned at the higher levels and try to apply it to our youth. We’ve continued to preach the same disciplines as far as defensive pressure, solid rotations and energy. It’s been real fun to see these kids express their athleticism, passion and energy on the basketball court. We’re gaining a lot of momentum and the kids are gaining confidence.”
HBC is a team of 10- and 11-year-olds made up entirely of kids from the Hollister area. The roster includes Jordan Garza-Sanchez, Jacob Martinez, Ian Klauer, Max Cunningham, Donovan Diaz, Reece Kaplansky, Cadence Smith, Rudy Lopez Jr., Brody Cooke and Colten Dirks. Kaplansky’s coaching staff includes Rudy Lopez and Bryan Smith, the longtime Hollister football coach.
HBC just finished the summer portion of its schedule, recording a first-place finish and two runner-up placings for a 7-2 overall record. At its most recent tournament hosted by Slam Academy of Hayward, HBC defeated the Delta Heat of Sacramento 34-21 to win the 11-and-under championship on Aug. 1.
Kaplansky emphasized that every kid played a key role during the season. In the title game, HBC received excellent perimeter shooting from Diaz, dominant rebounding from Smith and Cunningham, and stifling defensive pressure from Reece Kaplansky and Garza-Sanchez.
David Kaplansky said the team also received “great support” off the bench from Martinez, Klauer, Cooke and Dirks.
“We were able to maintain great flow and balance throughout the tournament,” he said. “We’re proud of the fact that we’re one of the few (travel) clubs represented by the community. We take a lot of pride in that and that’s why we wear Baler red.”
The team travels to locations throughout the state, though Kaplansky makes sure it isn’t spending an inordinate amount of time on the road. His focus is on basketball and as such he looks for tournaments closer to home, including Hayward, Santa Clara and when it goes farther out, the Sacramento area.
“The kids have gotten a lot of exposure to competitive basketball,” he said. “They’re a real cohesive group and they play an attacking style, which is fun to watch. Their effort level is top notch, they’re tough and they all have a real strong passion to play basketball.”
Kaplansky noticed the latter when he saw the boys play for the first time at the Basketball Jones Camp when they were first-graders. Kaplansky said he’s looking forward to the team competing in Hollister’s NJB Winter League later this year and “play in front of our community.” He noted the support he’s received from all of the players’ parents has made his job a joy.
“I have a good relationship with the parents and they’re excited about what we’re doing,” he said. “Receiving their support has helped this team in so many ways.”
Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]