Chris Hyppa thought about Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, DaVonte Lacy and Abdul Gaddy. He also thought about the myth of that guy from Foss High School who could average 40 points per game back in the day.
That’s why the former Stadium basketball player and coach started #Top253, a free, invite-only basketball camp that will feature more than 40 Puget Sound region high school basketball players from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the University Y in Tacoma.
The first day will be about skill development, classroom work and will feature some guest speakers, and the second day is about competition – with camp records and Tacoma immortality on the line.
Technically, the camp isn’t just for Tacoma basketball players. But it was Hyppa’s way of starting what he hopes will be an annual tradition for years to come.
“It just kind of sets the standard and ties in Tacoma’s basketball history,” said Hyppa, who has helped train Bradley, Gaddy and Lacy since finishing his own playing days at Stadium and Saint Martin’s University. Bradley now plays alongside Thomas for the Boston Celtics.
“This isn’t my camp. This is our camp. Because in 5-10 years, (these players) will run the camp and it’s just something that I want to have every year so we can give kids the chance around here to develop skills and some tradition.”
The camp will feature some of the area’s best players, including Wilson’s David Jenkins Jr. and Peninsula’s JaQuori McLaughlin – who were both named to The News Tribune’s second-team all-state last year. All-Area second-team players Malachi Flynn of Bellarmine Prep, Aushanti Potts-Woods of Curtis and Luke Lovelady of Life Christian, are expected to be there, too.
“In my eyes, I want kids 5-10 years down the road to be trying to break David Jenkins’ records from the class of 2016,” Hyppa said. “There might be a kid who is in the sixth grade who could aspire to beat his records, knowing David went on to play Division I basketball.”
Hyppa said the camp is free because he wanted to provide an opportunity for some players who normally couldn’t afford to pay $150-$200 to attend a basketball camp.
“We have some great kids in town and sometimes I think that being a half-hour south of Seattle, you get overlooked,” Hyppa said. “But we’ve always been like that. Even on the map, Seattle is looking down on you. That’s why I talk about playing at these camps with a chip on your shoulder. Back in the day, that’s how we played.
“Guys like Avery Bradley and IT, those guys are bulldogs. They play with a chip. If you want to get out of here and play college basketball or be a pro, you have to play with that chip.”
What: Two-day camp featuring more than 40 area basketball players and run by Stadium High School graduate and trainer Chris Hyppa.
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: University Y, 1710 Market St. Tacoma.
Roster: According to camp organizer Chris Hyppa:
Demetrius Crosby Jr.
Anthony Braggs Jr.
Emmett Linton Jr.
David Jenkins Jr.
Emmett Matthews Jr.
Eli Morton Jr