PREP Athletics Podcast
The PREP Athletics podcast features founder Cory Heitz’s valuable expertise and vast connections to share insights and stories about the past, present, and future of prep school basketball. It also features in depth interviews with prep school basketball coaches from all competitive levels. Cory is a prep school alum, former D1 player, and Air Force veteran.
This episode highlights VMI forward Louis Tang. Louis came to the US from Taiwan and didn’t speak any English. He sacrificed a year of team basketball to learn the language and the US culture. His last two years of high school he played in the WCAC which is the best high school basketball conference in the US. From here he earned a D1 scholarship to VMI. Find out how he did it and the sacrifices he made in this episode.
55. Billionaire Sports Stars, NIL Forecasting, Secrets of D1 Basketball + much more feat. Andrew Petcash
Andrew played D1 at Boston University and at the end of 2021 shared his first post on what became The Petcash Post. In this informative conversation we talk about playing D1 versus being in the military, things no one tells you about D1, NIL deals, the NCAA transfer rule, picking an agent, becoming a billionaire and much more.
In this mini episode we talk about the option of international basketball players attending a US prep school. Prep schools love international players and the diversity they bring. Coaches do as well. Find out why prep schools like these players and learn about how financial aid works.
On this week’s podcast we welcome David Maurice Smith. David grew up in Vancouver British Columbia and played college basketball at Simon Frazier University. After traveling the world he settled in Australia with his family where he is a professional photographer. David has been featured in cover stories for The New York Times Magazine. In this episode we talk about First Blood being filmed in his neighborhood while he was a kid, playing against Steve Nash, celebrity encounters, living in Australia and more. David is one of my brothers and we have a good time swapping stories. This is an example of a lifelong friendship that can come from a shared love of the game of basketball.
52. Playing for Coach Calipari, Coaching D1, D3 + at Elite Level Prep Schools feat. Coach Mike Byrnes
Mike Byrnes is the head coach at The Tilton School which is located in New Hampshire. This is Mike’s first year at Tilton. Mike grew up in Massachusettes before completing a post grad year at Fork Union. He then played at St Francis (PA) before transferring to UMass. Here he played under first year head coach John Calipari. After this Mike had stints coaching in the prep school world to include Hargrave Military and Winchendon. After being a D1 assistant at Robert Morris and the head coach at D3 Rhode Island College, Mike got back into the prep school world. In this episode we talk about what it takes to be a D1 guard, how to build a prep school powerhouse, and much more.
51. The Beginners Guide to NAIA Basketball w/ NAIA National Championship Winning Coach – Kelly Wells
In this episode we discuss how he got to the D1 level as a player, his thought process and decision to transfer, coaching a future NCAA Champion/NBA player, recruiting transfers as a college coach, the NAIA level, what it takes for a guard to play D1 and much more.
In this short episode we go over the 5 ways to get money off of your prep school tuition. Know that none of these ways are guaranteed, but I have seem them work over the years.
Seth Eilbert is the head coach at The Hill School which is located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Seth has been at Hill since 2001 and in during that time has placed players at all levels of college basketball. In this podcast we discuss what guards need to make it to the college level, the MAPL league, the transfer portal, the founder of 5 Hour Energy, hosting LaMelo Ball and much more.
Players reach out every day of the year wanting to go to a prep school. A lot of families have asked me if they are too early or too late. There is not wrong answer but there are advantages to starting in the Fall and there are other advantages for exploring options in the Spring and Summer. This short episode gives you a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.
Jim McCarthy is the head coach at Cheshire Academy. After playing at Hamilton, Jim coached at Williams where he won a D3 national championship. From there he coached D1 at Yale, Northeastern ,and Towson. In this conversation we discuss the differences between playing D1 vs D3, what it takes to be a D1 player, the pros/cons of being a walk-on, the differences between NEPSAC AAA, AA, and A programs, and more.
46. Former NBA Player and Author Paul Shirley Talks High Major College BBall, Making It to the Pros + Scottie Pippen
In this week’s episode we welcome author and former NBA player Paul Shirley to the podcast. Paul has written four books to include one that covers his journey from college, to playing international to eventually making it to the NBA. Paul discusses coming from a small town, what was inside him that gave him that drive to make it to the NBA, and the best and worst parts of playing at a high major college, internationally and the NBA. We also talk about some stories from his books to include yelling at Scottie Pippen on the Bulls team plane. His second book, “Stories I Tell on Dates,” is one of the funniest books I have ever read.
Dave is one of the top coaches that Cory has ever been around and he wanted to ask Coach Taylor some of the main questions that players and their families ask on a continual basis. Some things you will learn in this podcast. How do you find a good AAU team? Is it better to play on a less talented team or sit on the bench on a team w/ more talent? What are the skills that a player needs to play D1?
44. Lessons + Stories from One of the Top Basketball Trainers in the United States feat. Evolution Basketball’s Alex Harris
In this episode, we welcome the founder of Evolution Basketball, Alex Harris. Alex played his high school ball for national ranked Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC. He played D1 at American University and made the all freshman team for the conference. After a coaching change he transferred to D2 Le Moyne College. He shares his thoughts in this conversation about the differences between the D1 and D2 levels, why he started training players, and what makes his system so successful, as well as what a player needs to possess to play at the college level.
In this episode we welcome Tom Bower and Ryan Maxwell of The Virtus Brand. We take the time to discuss the basics of the Name Image and Likeness (NIL) and how it can benefit student athletes. We take the time to talk about what NIL is, what the benefits are, as well as what student athletes need to watch out for
This is one of the most important topics to clarify in the prep school basketball world. Brick and mortar prep schools are NOT the same as basketball academies. In this episode I discuss the differences between the two options, share my personal experience and horror stories of working with some of these academies, and share what to questions to ask if looking at this option.
41. Coaching NBA Lottery Picks + Starting the And1 Shoe Brand feat. Westtown School Coach Seth Berger
In this episode we welcome Westtown School Head Coach Seth Berger. Seth has been the coach there for 12 years and built it into a national powerhouse. He has coached NBA players such as Cam Reddish and Mo Bamba. He currently has the number one player in the class of 2022 and Duke signee Dereck Lively. In this episode we discuss why he got into coaching, how he turned Westtown into a national powerhouse, the mindset and skills that his eventual NBA players possess, and placement during covid. Seth also founded the shoe and apparel company And1. We talk about his meeting with Larry Johnson, the And1 Mixtape Tour, and more.
40. Creating a National Powerhouse, Starting Findlay Prep + Coaching Rick Pitino’s son feat. Danny Haney
On this episode we welcome Coach Danny Haney to the podcast. Danny is PREP Athletics Founder Cory Heitz’s high school coach. Danny coached at Lexington Catholic High School and during his time won a state title and got up to #3 in the USA Today National High School Rankings. He beat Oak Hill and Whitney Young that year and talks about how he built the program into a national powerhouse. Danny also talks about coaching Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino’s sons, turning down a 2-time NBA All Star from joining his team, the beauty of Kentucky high school basketball, and helping to create the first basketball academy in the US: Findlay Prep. Did you know Findlay Prep never sent a player from its roster to a non D1 school in its existence? This was a very informative podcast with lots of great stories.
On this PREP Athletics Podcast we welcome former Nike executive and prep school parent to the podcast. Archie McEachern completed a post grad year himself at Maine Central Institute before playing and becoming a 2 year captain at Ithaca College. He then worked his way up the corporate ladder at Nike to at one point being in charge of Global Basketball. Archie was in charge of footwear for Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and more. He also shares his insight on helping his own son choose the right prep school.
On this week’s episode I had the pleasure to interview former NBA strength and conditioning coach, Blair O’Donovan. Blair has worked in the NHL, NFL, NBA, as well as for the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonalds All American Game. Blair and I coached together at Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC under Gatorade National Coach of the Year, Steve Turner. In this podcast, Blair talks about being Kevin Durant’s strength coach in high school, the other future NBA players on the Montrose Christian team, characteristics of an NBA player, the importance of nutrition/sleep, and the exercises he recommends to young athletes.
On this episode we welcome Karl Barkley of D3Direct. Karl played at Swarthmore College and now helps educate athletes on everything D3. In this episode we discuss the talent at the D3 level, going pro, the benefits, and talk all about financial aid. This was a very informative episode which is a must listen to those who don’t know much about the D3 option.
36. Walking On D1, Winning a Prep School Championship, Coaching NBA Players + More feat. IMG’s Alex Popp
On this episode we welcome Coach Alex Popp of IMG Academy to the podcast. Alex has played D1 and D2, coached at the D1, D3, G-League, Nike EYBL and prep school level and is now working at IMG Academy to make their basketball program one of the best in the world. In this episode we talk about Alex completing a post grad year at Northfield Mount Hermon, being a walk on at a Big Ten school, finding the right fit for college, coaching Top 100/future NBA players, what guards need to do to succeed, the NIL situation, and much more. Alex came to IMG Academy from NEPSAC AAA prep school Vermont Academy and shares the his thoughts after being away from the New England game for a year. This is a great episode with a lot of knowledge shared.
In this mini episode, PREP Athletics Founder, Cory Heitz explains how the PREP Athletics process of finding a right fitting prep school works.
34. National Championship Winning Prep School Coach Talks Program Building + 7 Footers feat Tom Espinoza
Tom Espinoza is the head prep boys basketball coach at Putnam Science Academy. Tom won National Prep School Championships in 2018 and 2020. He has coached dozens of D1 players to include NBA player Hamadou Diallo. In this conversation we talk about starting a prep school program from scratch, what its like to coach a Top 100 player, his second team, the importance of the open gym recruiting period, coaching multiple 7 footers and more.
33. Top Level New England Basketball Prep School Located in the Woods of Maine feat Coach Dan Haynes
On this episode we interview Lee Academy’s Head Prep Basketball Coach Dan Haynes. Dan was a multisport athlete in high school and college before getting into coaching. He has been at Lee since 2016 and shares his insights on such topics as the remoteness of Lee Academy, playing in the NEPSAC AAA, his largely international roster, and more. Dan explains his pitch to players on why it’s a good thing to go to a prep school in Northern Maine, plus much more. Enjoy the interview!
32. Coaching Basketball at an All Boy’s Prep School in Pennsylvania feat. Kiski Coach Damien Williams
Coach Damien Williams, Head Prep Basketball Coach at The Kiski School. Kiski is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Coach Williams discusses recruiting against the New England prep schools, college recruiting, the advantage of prep school open gyms, how to email a college basketball coaching staff and much more.
In this episode we interview Coach Roger Cox who is the head boy’s basketball coach at the Rabun Gap School. Roger shares why not being in New England is not a disadvantage for his school, the league they play in that has included Zion Williamson and the Curry brothers, the benefits of a multi-cultural school, Rabun Gap’s circus program and more.
In this episode we are joined by Winchendon School’s Head Boys Basketball Coach Kevin Kehoe. Kevin has coached at multiple levels to include JUCO, D2 and prep school. Kevin has been placing players in colleges for decades and shares with us his insights on guards, recruiting, choosing a college, the benefits of prep schools and much more.
In this mini episode I discuss the three things I would tell my high school self to do if I could go back into a time machine.
Brady Bergeson is the head coach of Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He played at D3 Chapman University before coaching D1 at Sacramento State. He then became head coach at D2 Western Oregon before becoming the head coach at Regis in 2015. In this episode Brady will tell us about the benefits of playing at the D2 level, how scholarships work at all levels, the differences between each, and more.
27. Prep School Coach Who has Worked for the Pacers, D2, D1 + Coached an NBA Player – feat Mike Mannix
Wilbraham and Monson Head Boys Basketball Coach, Mike Mannix has coached at the D2, D3 and NBA levels. He has been at Wilbraham and Monson since 2009. In this episode Mike talks about working for the Indiana Pacers as a video scout, being the director of basketball ops at Drexel, why the NEPSAC AA prep school league is so special, coaching current NBA player Wenyen Gabriel, and much more.
John Mahoney is a former D1 assistant coach at programs such as West Virginia University and Michigan. After coaching in college he took over the national post grad team at IMG Academy. Recently John started 212º Sports Academy. In this episode John talks about knowing what college coaches are looking for and how to develop his players so they will be attractive to coaches at the next level. Now as a founder of his own academy, he is taking all he learned and applying it to his program. We dig into the world of basketball academies and their advantages over a traditional brick and mortar prep school. I have been a vocal critic of basketball academies and having John on the podcast was very informative. Not all of these places are equal and John will share why his is different.
Adam Finkelstein is the founder of the New England Recruiting Report as well as a national high school scout for ESPN. Adam has experience coaching at the D3 (Western Connecticut State), D1 (University of Hartford), and prep school (Choate Rosemary Hall) levels. In 2012 I reached out with questions to Adam about the prep school world and he was kind enough to take the time to lead me in the right direction. In this episode Adam talks about scouting, going where the players are, his role with ESPN, and much more.
Coach Raphael Chillious has coached at numerous programs during his tenure. He played collegiately at Lafayette before coaching at West Nottingham, then onto South Kent. After sending multiple players to the NBA and D1, he took his talents to the University of Washington. He has also coached at UCONN, Villanova, and East Carolina before heading back to the helm at the South Kent School. During his career Coach Chillious has coached 19 players who have played in the NBA. In this podcast he talks about how to be a good teammate, his secret to recruiting future pros, how to be a successful student/player both in and out of the gym, and much more.
Coach Turner has been the head coach at Gonzaga College High School in downtown Washington, DC since 2004. Coach Turner was honored with the 2017 Gatorade National Coach of the Year Award. He has coached players who have played at Duke, UNC, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Harvard, Michigan, Cornell, Brown, Miami, and many more programs at all levels. I was an assistant on Coach Turner’s staff for two years and during those years had the privilege to coach eventual NCAA Tournament Legend, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins. In this episode Coach Turner discusses coaching in the best high school basketball conference in America, sending his son to prep school, the Gonzaga student section, recruiting junior high players, and much more.
22. Coaching Future NBA Players, Evolving During Covid, and Being a Part of the South Sudan National Team
Joe Mantegna is the head coach at Blair Academy where he has been since 1999. Coach Mantegna has coached five NBA players and works with USA Basketball and the South Sudan National Team. In this podcast we discuss his background, the characteristics that his eventual NBA players shared, changes he would make to the NCAA, and hearing from the actor also named Joe Mantegna.
21. Prep School Coach Who Completed a Post Grad Year, Played D1, + Coached D3 + D1 – Feat Ben Farmer
Coach Ben Farmer is the head coach at the Williston Northampton School. Coach Farmer is a former D1 player, as well as an assistant at Wesleyan and the University of Hartford. He completed a post grad year at St Thomas More for Coach Jere Quinn, before playing for Marist. His older brother Jeff also played D1 basketball. In this episode he will discuss his background, how both he and his brother made it to D1, the benefits of working in a prep school’s admission office and more.
In this mini episode Cory tells his personal story of transferring high schools in the early 1990s.
AAU: 101 How to pick the right team, if tournaments matter, and do you need to play AAU to play in college, plus much more.
Coach Sullivan grew up around Worcester Academy and has been with the school since 1998. As head coach since 2011, he has sent players to all levels of college basketball. In this episode Coach Sullivan describes not only his basketball program and his search for international players, but the local community and how his players can make an immediate impact. Each year he looks for players with the same passion he has where he can build a relationship not only on the court but off the court.
In this episode you will hear from Coach Jay Tilton who is the boy’s varsity basketball coach at Phillips Exeter Academy. Hear exclusive details on:
-the benefits of going to a school like Exeter
-his experience coaching at the D1 level
-his advice for players wanting to play at the collegiate level
-thoughts on how Duncan Robinson went from a post grad player to NBA star
16. How a Prep School Consultant Can Help Players Find the Best Fit at the Best Price – feat. Chris Overbye
Chris Overbye is a senior partner of Hunnewell Education where he is a prep school consultant. Chris has his own experience attending Indian Mountain School and Salisbury School before going to Allegheny College. He has worked in everything in the prep school world from being a teacher, coach, director of admissions, director of development and head of financial aid. He has worked at the Meadowbrook School, Salisbury School, and Lawrence Academy. With over 20 years of experience, Chris knows the ins and outs of the prep school world and in this interview shares valuable information for prospective student athletes.
In this episode I share my experience with choosing a prep school, my college recruitment and what I gave up to play in a Division 1 program.
In this episode Coach Myers talks about his experience as a post grad player prepared him and eventually his players for the college game. Plus you never know who is in the gym watching.
13.Drop and Give Me 20! Inside a D1 + NBA Producing Military Basketball Prep School – feat. Coach Thomas Messinger
Meet Coach Thomas “Tom” Messinger, who is the men’s basketball coach at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA. In this episode Tom talks about growing up in an athletic family and his journey to working at Hargrave Military Academy. Tom tells us about their military structured program and the benefits of a post grad year. Hargrave has sent 27 players to the NBA in the last 25 years.
Learn the benefits of playing at a junior college and when it makes sense to go this route over a prep school. You will also learn the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a player.
Meet Brandon Goble, the CEO of JUCO Advocate and junior college basketball scout. JUCO Advocate, helps players gain exposure to junior colleges and their coaches.
Meet Coach Mike Hart, the athletic director and basketball coach at St. Andrew’s School outside Providence, Rhode Island. He’s been at St. Andrew’s since 1994 and has been named New England Prep School Coach of the Year 6 times.
In this episode, he talks about St. Andrews School, the under-the-radar kid they’re focused on, and the diverse environment they provide for basketball players. He explains the importance of trust between college and prep school coaches which enables successful college recruiting.
In this episode, Brad recalls career moments from the very beginning of high school to the height of his NBA career. He explains why not getting drafted into the NBA worked in his favor and other events that shifted his career to become an NBA player.
Meet Andrew Gale, the head coach of New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He worked at Vermont as a lead student manager and assistant coach for 4 years, before joining New Hampton in 2016 as an assistant coach and then head coach.
In this episode, he talks about the New Hampton school, which is focused on developing kids into the top 100 players even though they do not always recruit top players. He explains how COVID-19 is impacting NCAA basketball recruiting this year and how they’re navigating it to ensure their players make the right choices.
Meet Coach John Carroll, the Head Coach for the Boys’ Basketball team at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. He was a NMH student-athlete before joining them as the head basketball coach in 2001, making this his 20th year with NMH.
In this episode, he describes Northfield Mount Hermon as a prep school where kids achieve highly in basketball and academics, with many making it to Ivy League basketball. He talks about the success of the 2 teams model he adopted in 2020 and why he plans on keeping it going forth.
Meet Coach Jere Quinn, the prep school basketball coach for the NEPSAC AAA St Thomas More team in Oakdale ,Connecticut. He’s been coaching for 43 years since he was age 22. He’s coached hundreds of Division I college basketball players, with many of them going pro.
In this episode, he talks about his experience at St Thomas More preparing kids for college basketball recruiting and life in general. He explains the creative ways they’re navigating to help kids place in good teams during the pandemic.
Meet Coach Jason Smith, the head coach at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He’s been a coach for over 20 years and started his coaching career at the young age of 19. In this episode, he talks about his experience at Brewster Academy, which is a Basketball Prep School that’s more concerned with the potential of kids rather than having a ‘typical’ kid. We discuss what really makes a future NBA star different from the others and whether they are born or made. Listen in to learn what has changed in Prep School Basketball over the last 20 years that Jason has been in the scene.
PREP Athletics is proud to have New England Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Whit Lesure on the podcast. Whit is the Bridgton Academy head basketball coach and shares his life experiences and advice on the prep school basketball scene.
Episode 4 of the PREP Athletics Podcast
Episode 3 of the PREP Athletics Podcast
Episode two of the PREP Athletics Podcast
Episode one of the Prep Athletics podcast.