SDA is first and foremost about developing the right habits, key skills and a work ethic. The reason for this is simple: knowing good habits, developing key skills, and establishing the work ethic to display these skills in a performance setting is the foundation to continuous improvement and thus realising your individual potential. Every athlete is different, and therefore so is the limits to your potential. No matter what that limit is (whether it’s making your local school squad OR getting a Division-1 scholarship to an American College), taking on the challenge to realise the limits of your student-athlete potential is one of the most rewarding things a young athlete can achieve. Many countries like Ireland do not have the resources, coaching talent, grass-roots development structure, domain expertise and exposure channels to facilitate young athlete development at home and abroad – it is this gap that SDA helps to address.
Since its inception, SDA has facilitated 10 top athletes in furthering their athletic & academic careers in the USA at top programmes. Former SDA Camp MVP John Carroll (currently playing at Hartford University – NCAA D1) was back to coach this year at the 2016 SDA Invitational and he is tangible proof of the success of the SDA model. Northern Irish standout brothers Conor and Aidan Quinn are doing exceptionally well at Mayville State University currently, and Scottish brothers Ali and Grant MacKay have completed notable US college careers (Ali at Davidson College and Grant at Saint Anselm University) and are both currently on the GB basketball squad. DCU youth star and SDA standout Charlie Coombs got an opportunity to play and study at Southeastern Oklahoma State University but returned home this year to pursue his student-athlete career in Dublin. The Kerry ‘big-man’ and two-time SDA Invitational Camp star Cian Sullivan signed with La Salle University who play in the highly competitive Atlantic-10 Conference (NCAA D1). He has just begun his college career along with Irish youth star and 2015 SDA Co-MVP Jordan Blount who just started at University of Illinois Chicago (also NCAA-D1). In addition Sean Flood (former 2015 SDA Co-MVP along with Blount) and Eoghan Kelly (current SDA standout player) will begin their student-athlete adventures this year. Sean is headed to Sante Fe Junior College (Florida) and Eoghan is headed to The Gunnery Prep School in Connecticut.
SDA was created to do 3 things in the following order: 1) to develop key skills in Irish youth athletes; 2) to expose Irish youth athletes to elite-level coaching; 3) to get top Irish youth athletes noticed so they can potentially pursue athletic/academic development abroad. SDA is extremely proud of every athlete who has participated and developed their skills at the Annual SDA Invitational since 2013. SDA is delighted to have had some of the top US coaches over to impart their wisdom and teachings on a captive Irish basketball audience (both athletes and their parents who want clarity on how difficult the scholarship process it and how it works). And finally, SDA is honoured to have facilitated 10 athletes to date on pursuing the limits of their potential by helping them explore their academic and athletic careers in the USA. We wish all of our former SDA athletes continued success in your lives both on and off the hardwood.