Ron Howard is an ex player that spent many years overseas and since retiring has focused his energy on helping unknown players get exposure by organizing games and in many cases helping them find professional jobs. He founded Howard Hoops in 2013 where he brought numerous players overseas to help them find jobs and since 2018 has started the Howard Hoops academy where he helps train unknown players and help find basketball jobs. He also has started the Howard Hoops Academy and recently had some German kids there for a month working on their games. One of those was Alex Haritopoulos. germanhoops.com spoke with the young German about basketball recently when he was in the States..
Alex thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is life going at the moment?
Hey thanks for having me! We’re in Saint Louis Park in Minneapolis right now and just working out every day and having scrimmages at high schools and colleges which are organized by our Coach Ronald Howard.
You have been in Minnesota for some weeks and training with Howard Hoops CEO Ronald Howard. Talk a little about yourself and your backround and how you got involved with basketball?
Yeah, I’m living in a small city in Germany called Wuppertal it’s actually near to Duesseldorf and Cologne . I used to play basketball with friends out off my neighborhood when I was younger. At that time my best friend passed away on cancer . After that in like the 6th grade my sports teacher who actually played in college for Michigan ( s/o to Mr.Klompen ) said that I should sign in for a basketball team here in Wuppertal. And you have to imagine that I was really not the thinnest person at that time ,so I said ok why not this could be a good thing to get my mind straight again.
How did the contact come to Ronald Howard? –
The contact between Ron and me actually came from Max because Max was working out with him in California when he was 14 years old and they kept the contact from that point on . I just came in contact with him like probably 6 months ago.
What made the Howard Hoops summer tour so fascinating to you that made you want to get involved with Ronald Howard and his basketball?
Man just the experience I gained Basketball wise and personality development wise in such a short period of time is just unbelievable .
You have been training with Ronald Howard in Minnesota. What is your goal in this program and as a basketball player?
My goal is to become the best player I can be and to learn as much as I can out of that 1 month with Ronald Howard as a player and as a person.
I have heard that when you train with Ronald Howard, it’s not the normal kind of training that many guys would experience. Ronald Howard is a very special trainer. Talk a little about what kind of training you do and how he isn’t like other trainers, but very much different?
-Yeah Ron separates himself from many good trainers especially because of his passion for the game and his experiences he gained over the years playing overseas for many different countries and teams. He pushes you very hard in practice and let’s you know what it takes if you’re really serious in becoming a professional basketball player .
How vital has Ronald Howard been with his training for your basketball game? What do you feel has been the most important thing that he has given you that has helped your game most?
Man I’ve learned a lot of things but I think the most important thing he taught me over that time is playing with heart and pride. And every time you step on a court play with a chip on your shoulder.
What has impressed you most about the person Ronald Howard? How important is his character and insane motivation for the game that allows for guys to buy into his philosophy?
For my part it’s his seriousness about his business and the passion to the game of basketball which impressed me the most. He motivates me everyday even if it’s stuff I do completely wrong or just having the wrong mindset to, he’ll let you know and gives you straight opinions and solutions which I think is key for player development.
Talk a little about your game. To what NBA player would you compare your game to and what are your biggest strengths on the court?
I wouldn’t compare me to an NBA player yet because I think I’m just not on that level to compare me to some of the best guards in the league. But my favorite player watching is Damian Lillard and how he reads the pick&roll. I think my biggest strength is my shot which Ron helped me with getting a lot more consistent and confident in and reading the pick&roll and making the best decision out of that.
What area’s of your game have you been working most on with Ronald Howard to help improve your game?
Mostly all areas of the game but I think for my part I got a lot better in my shot and ballhandling.
What is your general opinion of what is the route of young German players. 10 years ago there were more going through the NCAA and now it seems like the way is developing in Germany. Are you a guy that would rather get established in Germany or go to school in the states play ball and get an education?
That is what Ron and me were talking about a lot. It’s a lot of stuff going on back at home with my family so I’ve have to speak with them first about that decision but if I’ve to choose I would definitely pick a school in the states where I get an education from because you obviously get the best basketball taught in the USA.
What is your long term goals with basketball? Are you prepared to invest all in becoming a professional player or do you have other goals?
My main goal is like I said ,to become the best player I can possibly be and other than that getting an good education and making my own business with car trade besides basketball.
If you had to pick your own personal NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Alright I’ll just name players I really watched playing . I would choose Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant for my NBA Rushmore. I know the most people will hate me for that and will probably say that there’re so many other great players before this decade which are better than these players I chose but I never saw them play so I can’t really relate to them.
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
For my opinion Lebron James is the GOAT but I let the NBA Analysts do their job in that because I’ve never been able to watch Michael Jordan really play.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I’m more of a series guy but my last movie I saw was Creed 2 while flying to the States.
Thanks Alex for the chat.