Saturday, September 13, 2014

Once Brothers, A Basketball Film Recommendation

Once Brothers is a sports documentary written and directed by Michael Tolajian.  It was released in 2010 and co-produced by NBA Entertainment and ESPN for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.  Once Brothers is a basketball documentary, but it is also a story of friendship, war, and the grudges we keep in life which can be dictated by external factors.  

Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic were teammates on the Yugoslavian National Team which dominated Europe in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The Yugoslavian National Team was Europe’s version of Showtime, as it featured athletic big man who could shoot and pass, and played the game with a cerebral intelligence and familiarity that few teams could compete with.  

Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic became the first foreign players to become stars in the NBA.  Divac was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Petrovic was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers.  Divac found immediate success and popularity as he fit right in at center inside of the Lakers’ Showtime offense.  Petrovic on the other hand, struggled finding minutes behind Clyde Drexler and spent the majority of his time on the bench wondering what went wrong as Drazen was considered Europe’s greatest player at the time.  Divac and Petrovic would call each other on a daily basis to check-in on their professional and personal progress in the United States.  

Though Divac and Petrovic both played for the Yugoslavian National Team, Divac was from the Republic of Serbia and Petrovic was from the Republic of Croatia.  After a Yugoslavian National Team game, a fan ran onto the court promoting the Croatian flag.  In attempt to show that the team stood together as a united Yugoslavia, Divac ripped the Croatian flag out of the fans hands.  This act was viewed as disrespectful to Croatia and silently Drazen was angered by the jester.  As the two players returned to the United States for the upcoming NBA season, things were different.  Drazen became distant from Vlade, and did not return his calls and interact with him before games.  A civil war broke out between Serbia and Croatia which only added to the pressures of Drazen not to associate with Vlade.  Drazen returned home during the summer to play for the now Croatian National Team after having an all-star season with the New Jersey Nets.  Drazen and his girlfriend decided to drive to the following game after a practice.  Drazen ended up perishing in a car accident and him and Vlade never got to the opportunity to reconnect with one another and make amends.

Once Brothers documents Divac’s journey as he visits Croatia for the first time since Drazen’s death to visit his grave and his family.  Once Brothers is a great basketball film, but it is also a great social commentary.  As teammates, certain bonds and friendships are formed from rigorous travel while trying to conquer unfathomable goals.  This film reminds the viewers not to forget about those moments.  

I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of the game of the basketball.   It’s also a great film to learn more out more about the tragic civil war between Serbia and Crotia and how fragile things can become in an instance.  If you are searching for a powerful basketball film, or are in need of material for your next school project, make sure to check out, Once Brothers.  

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

An Open Letter From Jasen Sousa To Supporters Regarding Upcoming 10th Publication

Friday September 5, 2014

Dear Supporters,

First off, I would like to thank each and every individual who has supported my efforts throughout the years.  For those not as familiar with my story, I founded J-Rock Publishing when I was 19-years-old as a small independent press which would give opportunities to young adults who were interested in getting involved in the publishing industry.  My knowledge of publishing and writing was very limited at the time, as I did not have much of a background in the arts or technology.  I was a jock who didn’t really care much about anything else in the world expect for basketball.  

However, as I continued to grow and be observant, I noticed there were strange things going on in my city, as well as other cities and communities around the world.  Young people didn’t have a voice, didn’t have job opportunities, and didn’t have the knowledge or networks to obtain the necessary skills to become successful adults within their desired professions.   

I also realized that many of my peers, including myself, did not like to read and came from generations of families where books and literature were not appreciated and respected in the home.  I began to write to deal with my own anger and frustration, and would bring poems and journal entries to friends who were spending time in different medical and correctional facilities in the area.

I came up with the idea to publish my first poetry collection, Life, Weather.  J-Rock Publishing functioned just like a large publishing house as I hired editors, usually young people from local colleges, built up a team of designers, purchased necessary ISBN and barcodes, and went on a marketing campaign to sell myself, my product, and my vision.  

The book was an instant hit with young readers as I traveled across the country with neighborhood friends, seeing the world, and telling my story, which also sounded a lot like the stories of other young people throughout the world.  

When I published Life, Weather, I was not in school at the time and was working odd jobs to fund my dream.  A faculty member from Emerson College saw the potential in it and encouraged me to get back into school and learn as much as I could about writing and publishing.  I was also fortunate to come into contact with other caring adults from the community who pushed and challenged me to become successful.   

This brought me on whirlwind journey where I would complete undergraduate and graduate school in a span of 6 years, all while working full-time jobs, writing books, and trying to get J-Rock Publishing off the ground.  

On November 28, 2014, I will release my tenth publication (9 poetry, 1 novel) DampnessDampness is a collection of poems I wrote over the past year, a year which brought much loss inside of my inner-circle.  Dampness will be dedicated in memory of two long-time childhood friends, Alex Foster, and Thomas Westcott.  

I want to thank each and every person who has displayed an interest in my journey and supported me along the way in some aspect, large or small.  My tenth publication is a milestone for me which details and documents over a decade of imagination, creativity, and an undeniable passion to keep going.

I have knocked down many doors along the way in this cut-throat publishing business, and I have many more to knock down.  All I know, and all I can promise, is that I will not quit.  I will not stop pursuing my goals and dreams as they are linked to the success and hope of every individual who has ever believed in what I do.    

It’s all about making change. I have given up a “normal life” and in the process have become a unique sociological experiment of what becomes of a human being who refuses to give in to the norms and values which society expects of me.  

I am truly greatly for every experience I have had over the past decade of being involved in the writing and publishing world.  It has allowed me to dream and think in ways which were once foreign to me.  I have lost a lot along the way, and it has not been easy at times to not give in and give up.   I have had to become robotic in certain aspects just to survive.  Who knows how it will all play it in the end?   All I can say is that I am satisfied to know that I have documented my life in a way which I hope will continue to reach deep inside the minds of my supporters. 

Until then, I am excited for my tenth publication, Dampness, on November 28, 2014, and even more excited for all which will come after.  


Jasen Sousa

Monday, September 1, 2014


We have been discussing some of the best techniques and strategies that you can do to get ready for the upcoming basketball season.  One thing we haven’t spoken about is injuries and the difficult process of returning to action from a mild or major injury. 

During a recent scrimmage for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Indiana Pacers guard Paul George fractured his leg and will most likely be sidelined for the entire upcoming season.  Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has worked hard, but has had a number of setbacks trying to return to his MVP level after injury.  Also, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat is looking to rebound from an injury plagued season where he was on a maintenance program. 

Depending on the severity of the injury, it is important to figure out a strategy and a timeline for your rehabilitation and return to action.   

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most common basketball injuries, a sprained ankle.  There is a lot of technology out there with sneakers, but one thing no one has been able to solve is how to prevent a sprained ankle.  Undoubtedly, it will happen at some point during your basketball career as basketball is a game where athletes spend a lot of time up in the air and then landing in close proximity to one another. 

If you have played sports for a long time and have sprained an ankle in the past, you will be able to get a good feel of how bad the sprain is.  Always visit a doctor after spraining your ankle in order to get advice from a medical professional.    You also want to make sure you get an x-ray in order determine the severity of the sprain.  In basketball, most players will either get a high ankle sprain or a low ankle sprain.  Once you have sprained your ankle and the pain has subsided, reality is going to set in and you are most likely going to have to take it easy for a bit.

Here are some common suggestions for what to do after your sprain your ankle. 

Whenever you sprain your ankle, try and remember the acronym, R.I.C.E. 

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. 

During some ankle sprains, an athlete might be able to get up and walk off the court.  However, if the injury is more severe, further movement and continuing to play could damage ligaments. 

Ice should be applied in 20-30 minute intervals for the first 2-4 hours of the injury.  Compressing the sprain with a bandage or wrap will help to reduce further swelling.  Keeping the ankle elevated will also help to reduce swelling and pain. 

It is almost impossible to prevent an ankle sprain, but there are a few things which can be done to prevent the severity of a sprain.  Wearing high top sneakers, wrapping ankles with sports tape, and wearing a brace are all techniques used to help to prevent the severity of an ankle sprain. 

If you are coming back from an injury, try and stay positive, and be ready to train hard when your time comes in order to get back to the level you were at before the injury.  Many basketball players who have sprained an ankle and have limited mobility, use the time to work on their jump shoot and free throw shooting.   Trying to find something positive out of a negative situation is a skill which you will suit you well in sports, and in life. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Upcoming Fall Events With Premier Hoops

Upcoming Fall Events With Premier Hoops

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over.  It is hard to picture it now while the beaches are still packed, but basketball season is quickly approaching.  Premier Hoops has put together a series of award winning sessions which have produced significant results developing and training athletes who have attended. 

"Basketball Shape" is different from simply being in shape.  Basketball, like no other sport, requires the individual athlete to be efficient in a number of areas.  Basketball is a game which requires your cardio conditioning and physical endurance to be an extremely high level.  Basketball is a game which requires an athlete to run at different speeds at any given time.  Being involved in an offensive fast break, or running back on a defensive possession, requires all-out bursts of energy and speed.  In these scenarios, you might not even touch the ball. You might be running the wings on offense, or trying to take up space in the paint on the defensive end to prevent an easy basket.  Possessing proper endurance and conditioning will keep you on the court, and when it is your time to handle the ball, you don't want your body shutting down on you.  Defensive players will be able to sniff you out if you look tired and they will be looking to apply pressure to try and steal the ball.  If your responsibilities are as a ball-handler, trying to cross half-court while an aggressive guard is applying pressure can be exhausting, never mind trying to set up your team's offense and get teammates in the right positions. 

If you have an open shot and your legs feel like rubber, and your arms are dragging, you are not going to have the corrector balance to be accurate with the attempt.  If you are a rebounder, banging with some of the larger players under the basket can also be exhausting.  Premier Hoops will not only assist with your conditioning, but it will help you build strength in key basketball areas so you are not being thrown all over the court.

The last thing your coach wants to see is you throwing a lazy pass, or being out of position on offense and defense.  That's what happens when you are out of shape.  Your mind has good intentions, but your body beings to shut down on you and that's not want you want to happen if you are trying to make a team, or trying to be an integral part of a team. 

To get basketball players in basketball shape and having athletes performing at their highest levels is what Premier Hoops excels at.  Premier Hoops is now offering a wide range of sessions at different locations. 

Premier Hoops with be offering beginner programs and will host a co-ed program in Hamilton, MA.  Premier Hoops will also be offering boys and girls beginner programs in Marblehead, as well as a Kiddie Hoops Program.    

In the North Shore area, Premier Hoops will be offering their acclaimed Elite Program for boys and girls in Peabody and Marblehead.  Premier Hoops will also be offering their Elite Program in the Middlesex areas of Billerica and Cambridge. 

Don't wait until it's too late, when you are running suicides and feel as though your lungs are going to explode.  Check out Premier Hoops and the services they offer which help basketball payers get into basketball shape.


For More Information:


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Upcoming Fall Events At Premier Hoops Newsletter


Upcoming Fall Events

Take your game to the next level!
This fall, Premier Hoops has training basketball programs for boys and girls of all ages and skill levels.

If you are looking for expert coaching and to improve your skills for the upcoming winter season then try one of our award winning programs.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Traveling by Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops

As we journey through life, it is important to recognize and reflect on individuals who inspire us along the way.  In this particular blog, I would like to focus on the career of long-time NBA referee Dick Bavetta.

Basketball referees rarely get the attention and credit they deserve for officiating one of the fastest moving sports that exists.  Yes, they are human and miss calls at times, but for the most part, they do an admirable job, and it’s another profession and career to consider within the game of basketball.

Dick Bavetta began his NBA officiating career on December 2, 1975.  Bavetta officiated 2,635 consecutive games and never missed an assigned game in his career, exhibition, season, or playoffs.  

Think for a moment, how many times you didn’t show up for work, or school, or practice, because you weren’t feeling well?  Maybe you just needed a day to relax and recover from daily challenges?  Dick Bavetta battled against all of those emotions and feelings and made an effort to be present and run up an down the court on a nightly basis for almost four decades.  When we desire be successful at something in life, I think we forget how important it is to just show up.  Showing up and exhibiting effort on a consistent basis is a key habit one develops throughout life.  Taking pride in what you do and  giving everything you have are traits and qualities that which are ingrained deep within successful individuals.  

Ponder the mental challenge of showing up for work 2,635 straight times, but also consider the physical battle.  Dick Bavetta was 74 years-old when he retired.  The amount of running and physical endurance Bavetta did on his own in preparation for the games was revolutionary for referees.  Bavetta estimated that a referee typically runs 6-8 miles per game.  Listed below, is a comment from Dick Bavetta on his training:

“I'm from a different generation. In 1988 we went to three officials, so we expanded our staff from 35 to 60. We needed younger people; they came in in better shape. I was probably the first in 1983 to start an off-season training program. I started to see the need to, rather than wait until July every year, to try to turn the light switch on and off which isn't so easy to do as you get older, that I would now start to do this on a regular basis on my off days when I came home from a trip. That evolved into the '90s. Probably 1990, 1991. I started to now run during the season. I would run on my off days during the season.”

The important fact here is that Dick Bavetta didn’t wait to begin training until right before the season began.   It became a year-long process for him because he wanted to be able to do the best job that he could and perform at the highest level possible.  It is that type of preparation and dedication which produces results.

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Elite Fall Pre-Season Training New locations In Billerica and Cambridge

Premier Hoops has exciting news to announce about Elite Fall Pre-Season Training in new locations.  Premier Hoops will be offering their acclaimed Elite Fall Pre-Season Training at new locations in Cambridge and Billerica.  The sessions in Cambridge will be held at the Shady Hill Elementary School, and the Billerica location will be hosted at the Billerica Boys and Girls Club.  For additional information about signing up and locations please visit the links below.  

For residents of Cambridge and surrounding communities such as 
Somerville, Boston, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Watertown, Belmont, Revere, Melrose, Medford, Malden, and Arlington, please feel free to visit Shady Hill Elementary School to get a first-hand look at Elite Fall Pre-Season Training offered by Premier Hoops.  

For residents of Billerica and surrounding communities such as Tewksbury, Bedford, Wilmington, Burlington, Concord, Dracut, Lexington, Woburn, Reading, Andover, and Acton, please feel free to visit the Billerica Boys and Girls Club to get more information.  

During Elite Fall Pre-Season Training, coaches with Premier Hoops will be focusing on the fundamentals of ball-handling, passing, and shooting, as well as foot work, particularly triple-threat positioning.  Athletes with also engage in competitive scrimmages to put the fundamentals they have been learning to the test.  

As an athlete, and particularly as a basketball player, having a strong foundation in fundamental skills, and being a well-conditioned player, are the building blocks to being an effective piece of a basketball team.  If your strategy is to wait for the season to begin to get into shape, you are inviting poor results and poor performance.   Basketball players who prepare themselves for the season during the off-season, have a greater probability of sprinting out of the gates and being ahead of the competition.  

We have all been there before, tugging at our shorts after running suicides and numerous three-man weaves.  The pains and cramps you start to get in your lower stomach, and the burning sensation within your lungs that feels like they are going to explode.  Think about how that takes away from everything else you are doing on the court.  It’s a terrible feeling, why put yourself through it?  Elite Fall-Pre-Season Training will assist you in getting in the shape you need to be in when the season is ready to begin.  

Things can get hectic quickly with schooling getting back into the swing of things, and with other obligations you have fulfill.  You can get out of shape pretty quickly and lose focus of your goals.
It can be difficult at times to rely on yourself to stay disciplined, focused, and motivated. Sometimes it is as simple as having structure and being involved in a nurturing environment.  Scheduling your time wisely during school is critical for success.  You can go to a gym or a playground on your own and play ball for 3 hours, and not get the results that can come from an hour of structured and focused direction from experienced and passionate coaches.  Athletes can easily develop bad techniques or habits if someone experienced does not notice what you are doing wrong, and offer advice on how to correct it before it becomes ingrained in your game.  

If you want to succeed as a basketball player, why not put yourself in position to do all that you can and be around other athletes who are striving for the same results as you?  You will not always be the best basketball player on the floor.   Some players might have more talent and more physical ability than you at the moment, but you can always be one of the best conditioned and most fundamentally sound players on the court,  That is all within your control, and that is what Elite Fall Pre-Season Training from Premier Hoops can assist you with. 

Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people.  Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.