College students use break to teach hoop skills to kids

It’s winter break, time for college students to sleep late, hang out with friends, and sit around their parents’ houses.

This week, one group of college kids broke that mold.

They woke up early Monday, got out of the house, and offered their time, advice and basketball skills to younger kids.

Everett’s Phil Hoban, a 20-year-old sophomore at Santa Clara University, started his holiday basketball clinic four years ago. At the time, he was a junior and stand-out basketball player at Archbishop Murphy High School. He called his clinic Philz Skillz.

“Philz Skillz — we tease him about that,” said Daniel Olson, who was home in Everett from the California Maritime Academy on Monday and helping Hoban with the basketball camp. “We’re here for break. It’s a way to give back,” Hoban said.

Before high school, they were classmates at Everett’s Immaculate Conception &Our Lady of Perpetual Help School. It was four years ago, in the Immaculate gym, that Hoban first presented Philz Skillz. He and his helpers were back at their grade school alma mater Monday for the first of two sessions.

In the morning, 54 players from local Catholic Youth Organization teams — fourth through eighth-graders — learned secrets of rebounding, defense positioning and other winning basketball moves.

“The kids love it,” said Pat Doud, director of Immaculate Conception’s CYO program. Doud said coaches, not just kids, get tips from the program. “Philz Skillz gets our basketball season off to a great start,” he said.

This year, for the first time, Philz Skillz came to the Everett Boys &Girls Club. About 25 kids, many of them on basketball teams with the club, showed up for the free clinic that taught more than hoops skills.

Several times during the clinic, Whatcom Community College student Rayme Rogge shouted out a life lesson. “What should we be eating to play basketball?” Rogged asked the kids. A hand shot up, and a boy posed his answer: “Energy bars?” Rogge filled in the menu: fruits, vegetables and lots of water.

An Everett High School graduate, Rogge covered other off-court topics, including the importance of school. “All of us big kids here focus on school. Get your homework done,” Rogge told the kids. She told them that to be on a team in middle school or high school, “you have to keep your grades up.”

At Archbishop Murphy, Hoban was captain of his Wildcats basketball team, which went to the playoffs both of his varsity years. He played AAU basketball in Seattle through high school. At Santa Clara, a Jesuit university in California’s Silicon Valley, he is studying economics and international business.

Basketball is still part of his life. Hoban plays on a team that takes on club teams from other colleges in that area.

“I want to come back and live in Everett,” he said Monday. “I miss it.”

Nick Hamblet, athletic director at the Everett Boys &Girls Club, said the Everett club has 33 basketball teams, kindergarten through high school.

Brando Dinthongsai, a 10-year-old who attends Everett’s Penny Creek Elementary School, is on one of those teams. “He loves it. We just got him a basketball,” said his sister Ann Dinthongsai, 23. She was at the Boys &Girls Club on Monday watching her brother take shots and try out defense strategies.

Loila Bloomfield was there, too, while her 8-year-old son joined in the Philz Skillz camp. A third-grader at Whittier Elementary School, Ty Bloomfield wore his Everett Seagulls Youth Football jersey as he learned new tricks for basketball season.

“Kids love it when older kids are helping them,” Bloomfield said. “I’m proud of these college kids taking so much time on their break. They’re so patient. It’s pretty nice.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

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