Former Vermont men’s basketball standout Ernie Duncan created Ernie Duncan Hoops, where he trains young Vermonters on the hardwood.
“Once I moved up here to Vermont, I realized that the options were limited for kids. I wanted to make an impact” said Duncan. He added, “I told myself as soon as I’m done playing whether its at UVM or overseas, I want to get back and give options to kids. I wanted to grow basketball.”
Ernie partnered with Jason Gordon, the owner and president of Rise to the top, a basketball training facility in Williston where kids of all ages can learn skills on and off the court.
“I saw what he was doing and it was in line with what I was trying to build from the beginning. You know how people say that people enter your life at the right time. That’s really what occurred” said Gordon.
Training with Ernie and Jason is available for all ages and skill levels. There’s options of private or group sessions to learn from one of the best to ever play for the Catamounts.
At Rise to the top, Jason and Ernie want the next generation of basketball players to have all the opportunities to succeed.
“Looking back when we were kids, if we could do anything what would it be? To have a facility where you can come to grow, learn, and get mentored. Having Ernie was just the icing on the cake for what we were trying to build” said Gordon.
Training sessions are kept at a small size if it’s a group session. In a group, they focus on getting a lot of reps in, ball handling, and a lot of shooting. In a private session, Ernie noted that he focuses on all skills. “Ball handling, shooting, rebounding, pretty much every aspect of the game” said Duncan.
Catamount fans know Ernie as a star player and one of three Duncan brothers to play for John Becker’s program. Although Ernie made his mark at UVM, he wants to be known for the difference he’s making in these young athletes lives.
“I definitely want to be looked at as someone who not just “oh he played at UVM and did all this and that” but someone that is helping kids not just as basketball players. I think it’s important that they’re learning other things. Just being good people, that’s what I want to do now, help kids turn into good people” said Duncan.
Rise to the top’s goal is to expand and have multiple facilities around Vermont. There’s also been virtual training sessions so athletes all across the Green Mountain State can learn and it’s not just limited to Northern Vermont. “I don’t want to leave any kid behind that wants to do this” said Gordon.
Jason and Ernie both have the exact same goal, to keep growing their partnership and have facilities and training sessions all over the country.