The Pr1de organization out of Michigan is only two years old, but the program has quickly developed into a very competitive unit. Pr1de has achieved that success by focusing on its core values.
“We have four goals that we talk about all the time,” said John Weyer, who founded the Pr1de along with Mark Bernas. “No. 1, we want to instill a love of the sport in every player, so that they continue to play in the future. No. 2, we want to teach them the skills necessary to compete at the next level.
“No. 3, we want to include life lessons at every opportunity. We want our players to understand that in life, just as in sports, there are consequences to every choice we make. Some are positive, and some are detrimental.
“No. 4, we encourage a healthy lifestyle, both in regular exercise and eating habits.”
Those values will be put to the test when the Pr1de plays in the 2015 Summer Derby Classic, which will be played in Louisville, KY on July 23-24. The tournament, which will include many of the top travel programs in the country, will be played at the Mid America Sports Center.
The Pr1de will be led by four talented young athletes — Erin Honkala (2016, 6-1, P, Committed to Northern Michigan), Emily Bemas (2016, 5-10, G), Lillia Schoof (2017, 6-0, F) and Alexis Ayala (2016, 5-8, PG).
“Erin is a back to the basket post, but she also has the athletic ability to play the four or three in college,” Weyer said. “She works extremely hard, and she has developed into a leader. Erin truly loves the game.
“Emily is a versatile guard with a smooth stroke and great shooting range. Defensively, she is a tireless on-ball defender who draws the other team’s top perimeter player. Emily loves to battle, and that thirst for competition sets her apart from most players.
“Lillia is one of the most gifted athletes we’ve worked with. She gives you everything at game time, and she is fearless on both ends of the floor. She knows how to use her size, and she has speed to burn (she was a state qualifier in the hurdles and sprints). Her overall athleticism creates serious matchup problems for our opponents.
“Alexis is a competitor who will play ball anytime, anywhere, against anyone. She plays aggressive defense, and offensively she can attack the basket or shoot the three, and she has very good court vision. Alexis also has an internal drive that has helped her improve every time out.”
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