The 2016 SDA Elite Invitational Camp was a huge success once again as it served to raise the bar for player development, coaching standards and talent exposure within Irish basketball. Some of the top 55 ‘U18 basketball players’ from all over the country came to compete against the best to push their limits of development, experience and learning. Once again, highly respected American and Irish Coaches came to share their invaluable experience and teachings to eager athletes wanting to get better. The 2016 SDA Elite Invitational camp was hosted for the first time in the University of Limerick which is commonly known as the best basketball venue in the nation and complements elite nature of the SDA environment. From the first moment of camp every invited athlete gave 100% to increasing their skill development, decision-making ability and their exposure to top coaches both at home and abroad.

Drew Dawson, head coach of Choate Academy (New Haven, Connecticut) joined the SDA coaching staff this year and added invaluable knowledge & experience to the invited athletes. As a current head coach in a top academic and athletic prep-league in the USA, Coach Dawson added huge value in explaining and teaching the SDA athletes what it takes to be a top prep school student-athlete. As a former Division-1 point-guard (Lafayette College) and a former Division-1 Coach (Hartford U & Lafayette College), Coach Dawson was influential at SDA 2016 and his lectures, teachings and guidance was invaluable to athletes and parents alike.

Texan Coach Pete Schwethelm, formerly of prestigious basketball programmes such as Georgia-Tech and Lafayette College came back again and added his huge experience to elite player development. 6’9’’ Canadian Jared Mintz (former D-1 athlete and professional basketball player in Israel) came to work with SDA athletes, especially with the power forwards and centres. His experience was invaluable throughout. Top Irish coaches Paul Kelleher and Matt Hall also returned alongside John Carroll (former SDA athlete who currently plays at Hartford University), Erin Bracken and Sean Flood to round out the coaching staff in 2016. SDA would also like to thank GAA Dublin Star Kevin McManamon who provided a fantastic lecture on ‘The Mental Edge’ to support SDA athletes in preparing to succeed mentally in their sport.
The real stars of the 2016 SDA Elite Invitational Camp were, as always, the athletes who did a fantastic job. From the hardwood to the sport psychology lectures and scholarship information workshops, every athlete gave 100% despite the onset of fatigue from such an elite and physically demanding environment. SDA would like to sincerely thank and congratulate all 55 participating athletes who gave huge effort throughout the highly intensive camp.

Congratulations to 2016 SDA Camp MVP Adam Drummond (Co. Cork) who stood out both on and off the floor through his relentless work ethic and natural skill. Adam was also the 2016 SDA male 1v1 competition winner. Congrats to Tadhg McNiven who was the 2016 SDA Camp 3-point competition winner, while Abigail Jeffrey won the 2016 SDA Camp female 1v1 competition. Congrats to Niamh Foley who was named the 2016 SDA Camper of the Week! This year Sean Daly was the lucky camper drawn out of the hat to win 2 NBA tickets to the 2017 UK NBA game.

This year each player received, SDA apparel, Personal SDA Player Profile Subscriptions, individual SDA Athlete highlights on the SDA YouTube channel, and exposure to hundreds of high-school, prep-school and college coaches through the SDA network.

SDA is in existence to do 3 things: 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. So far SDA has facilitated 10 top athletes in furthering their athletic & academic careers in the US at top programmes. Former SDA athlete John Carroll (currently playing at Hartford University – NCAA D1) was back to coach this year and is tangible proof of the success of the SDA model. In addition Sean Flood (former SDA MVP) and Eoghan Kelly (current SDA star) will begin their student-athlete adventure this year. Sean is headed to Sante Fe Junior College (Florida) and Eoghan is headed to The Gunnery Prep School in Connecticut.

“Youth basketball development in Ireland has a long way to go, but there is no denying the positive attitude and work ethic of Irish talent. Invitational camp models can expedite improvement and assist in supporting better coaching nationwide, and this is the true purpose of SDA”. Dr. Paul Cummins (SDA Founder)

Well done to all involved and SDA is already excited for 2017.