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Shaw, Harvey teach hoops at Cascade Athletic Club

St. Helens graduate and Gresham alumnus train youths to international pros

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: DAVID BALL - St. Helens High graduate D.J. Shaw, left, created Cascade Athletic Club's basketball academy with Gresham High alum Steffen Harvey.Josh Jackson of Serie A's Juvecaserta (Italy) saves his toughest workout for last: A drill that dares him to drain shots on wobbly legs to simulate crunch time.

He slides across the length of the court in a defensive crouch, charges forward, catches a pass at the arc and fires.

There's no time to waste watching his ball spin toward the hoop — instead, he backpedals to halfcourt and begins his slide to the other side of the court. At the end of two minutes, his legs are burning but he is far from done.

A whistle screeches for a switch from defensive slides to flat-out sprints across the court.

Hustle, shoot, hustle, shoot.

“After every slide your legs are hurting, but you don't have time to miss shots — I'm really focused on never missing two in a row,” Jackson said.

Finally another whistle, this time allowing him to replace the 3-pointer with a layup.

The horn sounds at the end of the drill. Jackson shuffles to beneath the net and slumps over, hands on his knees, head against the wall, exhausted.

He catches his breath and walks to the free throw line. He keeps his eyes down, giving the ball three bounces, and shoots with a flick of his wrist.

He hits 10 straight — all net.

After another short break, he gets his instructors to feed him one more time.

Jackson visits five spots along the arc, advancing only after he has made 10 shots. He finishes in the baseline corner as eight in a row rip the net before the ninth attempt rolls off the rim. He lets out a grimace of frustration and sinks the next two, marking the end of his workout.

The Sunset High School (Portland) graduate is in his ninth season of overseas pro basketball and averaged 17.2 points last year.

He spent much of his summer preparing for the season with trainers DJ Shaw — a St. Helens High alumnus — and Steffen Harvey, a Gresham High alum, at Cascade Athletic Club in Harvey's hometown.

“These guys have been great," Jackson said. "Even though I've been playing for nine years, I'm still learning. I can come in here and knock down 500 shots, but at the end of the day I need to find ways to progress and take myself to that next level. Basketball is something I've done my whole life, and I'm not ready to give it up.”

Shaw and Harvey brought a basketball academy to Cascade Athletic in the spring and hosted a series of pick-up games over the summer that featured recent college graduates, pros from oversees and an NBA D-Leaguer.

“I guarantee we had the best run in the city, and word of mouth spread quickly — we had to cut off the list at 20,” Harvey said.

The pair instructs all levels from youth to pro.

“We're not about juggling four balls at once or picking up cones — that stuff is going to catch your eye on YouTube, but we leave the clown drills at home,” Shaw said. “Our crusade is to teach fundamental basketball, the things that are going to translate to the court.”

Harvey is also an assistant coach in the Warner Pacific College program, while Shaw does contract work with Nike as an emcee for special events.

One of Shaw's famous drills comes from his Nike experience, in which he managed to sneak a look at one of Kobe Bryant's private workouts.

“We heard that he was in the building, so I left the weight room and found a side door into the gym,” Shaw said.

A well-placed towel allowed him to quietly slide behind the door out of sight and watch the future Hall of Famer work out.

“It was intense, but at the end of the workout his eyes caught me in the corner and I got tossed out,” Shaw laughs.

Shaw, who played basketball for the Lions, Yakima Valley Community College, and Concordia University, knew at a young age that teaching basketball was in his future. As a high school student, he took out ads in the local newspaper offering lessons.

“I was 16 years old offering $10 training sessions — it was my first entrepreneurial venture and by the end of the summer I was teaching 20 kids,” Shaw said. “The game of basketball has taken me to some amazing places. Being able to get paid to teach it has been a blessing.”

He's also the co-founder of Hoop Diaries, which trains and consults for Nike Basketball, Nike N7 (a program benefiting Native communities in the U.S. and Canada) and the Jordan brand, and was director of player development for Shoot 360, a state of the art basketball facility for specific training.

Shaw trained players on the world's first LED court at Zoom City Arena during NBA All-Star Weekend 2015 in Toronto, Canada, then worked with kids in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Nike Zoom League, which encourages fitness and civic engagement.

For Harvey, it's been about offering his city the same benefits that he has seen in other parts of the state.

“There are places on the west side for this, but I'm from here and I wanted to offer that kind of training here,” Harvey said. “There is a lot of talent out here, and we offer a place where they can come and develop.”