By Hailey Morris (PGC Grad)
I never imagined that one simple game could change the trajectory of my life…
I started playing basketball in the fourth grade, which is a lot later than when most kids pick up sports nowadays.
So, as you might imagine, there was a lot of work to be done to make up for lost time.
Luckily, I have an amazing father who knew just the right way to help me do just that.
I can still remember the 6am wake up calls where my Dad would take my sister and I to the outdoor cement court my Granddad had built for us, just to get work in.
And it was those mornings where I truly learned what it meant to work hard, and ultimately where I fell in love with the game and began dreaming about playing in college one day.
Fast forward a couple years to middle school where things started clicking and I was one of the stronger and more talented players in the league.
I had joined an AAU team out of Richmond, Virginia (about 1.5 hours from my hometown), started playing travel ball, and it was around that time when it hit me for the first time…
“You know what, I can do this… I actually have a legit shot at this whole college basketball thing.”
I was undersized and not as athletic as many of the girls I played with, so I knew the only option I had was to be the hardest worker in the gym.
In my eighth grade year I was given the opportunity to play on the JV team for my high school along with a few of my teammates, which included occasionally practicing with the varsity girls.
This was a pivotal time in my basketball career.
It allowed me the chance to not only compete at a much higher level amongst bigger, faster, and stronger players…
…but I was also able to bond with my older teammates as well as our varsity coach.
I had a decent amount of talent with a solid work ethic, but it became obvious during a summer league game before my freshman year of high school that my hot temper was going to be the biggest obstacle I needed to overcome if I wanted to play at the next level.
Luckily, around that same time, I was introduced to PGC…
My parents gave me the opportunity to attend a PGC Basketball Camp as an athlete the summer before my freshman year and I can only sum up my experience by saying that it was…
During that week at PGC I learned:
- how to lead by connecting with people.
- how to control my own emotions.
- why having a bad temper didn’t make me look “cool” or “edgy” but was only hurting me instead.
- and so much more…
PGC not only helped me discover what type of player I wanted to be, but it also taught me what kind of person I wanted to become.
That summer, I was grateful to have met PGC Director, Sam Allen. He saw potential in me and sparked a dream of one day working for PGC as a basket instructor (BI).
I kept the card he gave me on my wall for years, and as time went by it stayed there as a constant reminder of what one day could look like.
During my later high school career, I became part of PGC’s Leadership Development Program. I got the opportunity to work under Director Rudy Bentley Jr., who was an incredible mentor for me.
That weekend at PGC was the first time in my life that I realized there was a whole different lens from which to view the game through. And I fell in love with it.
I learned how to think the game in a different way and grew in so many other aspects than I had as a player.
My high school career finished off on a high note after committing to play college basketball at Chatham University under Dave Saur.
Shortly after arriving on campus my freshman year, I was surprised by how many obstacles I would have to overcome on and off the court. But because I was able to see the game from a different angle, I accepted those challenges with excitement and took pride in being the best teammate I could be.
I officially worked my first session as a BI at PGC the summer following my freshman year. The experiences I had working that summer were truly some of the most fulfilling moments I’ve ever had in my life. From bonding with the other staff, to seeing the growth in the athletes I was working with, to the countless lessons I learned myself, I was positive that this was a part of my life I wanted to continue.
This year, (my sophomore year at Chatham) I was offered the position of student assistant coach. It was a very difficult decision for me to make as I wasn’t totally sure that I was ready to hang up my shoes just yet.
As I sat and reflected on this new opportunity, I thought back to a few months prior when I was working at PGC and immediately I gained clarity on the decision I needed to make.
I accepted the position and have had zero regrets.
I feel fortunate to work with a great staff, and have a great team. I have grown in ways this past season that I never could have imagined had I not taken the leap.
Throughout my playing career I encountered countless other obstacles that many athletes inevitably face, from injuries, to dealing with difficult people, to recognizing my own mistakes and needing to resolve them.
But amidst all of the highs and lows, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.
Those obstacles are what have molded me into the person that I am today.
I am currently finishing up my sophomore year at Chatham where I am studying Human Biology and I hope to continue to pursue my Masters in Physician Assistant studies, as well as continue my coaching career.
I would not be where I am today without the many life lessons I learned from my countless experiences at PGC.
My name’s Hailey Morris, and that’s my PGC story.
Athlete Story | Annie Dawson
Over the years I watched my teammates get better at a much faster pace than me and that was really hard. It was a huge blow to my confidence. I knew something had to change.
Athlete Story | Tanyr Sornson
My biggest struggle really was not knowing how to protect my confidence, which made it impossible for me to have any ounce of confidence in my shot or my abilities.
Ask Mom: Is PGC Worth the Price of Admission?
Should I even send my child to basketball camp? Or is playing AAU all summer better for their future prospects? What about hiring a personal trainer? Is it something else?
PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.