Former W&M standout Schneider aims to teach, give back through his skills business

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Injuries make professional athletes nervous. They made David Schneider think.

What would the former William and Mary guard do when he could no longer dribble for money? What would he like to do? Where would he like to do it?

While recovering from a hamstring injury last winter after playing overseas, Schneider concluded that he wanted to learn as much about basketball and physical training as possible and teach what he knows to others.

The result is the Schneider All-Star Skills Academy, a start-up that presently is more one-man mobile tutor than academy.

The "academy" will be based in Williamsburg this summer, for both comfort and connections.

"Williamsburg has a dear place in my heart," Schneider said, "just because I went here for four years. One of the reasons I'll probably eventually move back to Williamsburg is because I feel like it's really my home.

"One reason I decided to move to Williamsburg and move my company here was to give back as much as I can to the community, because my four years playing here gave me so much."

Schneider has done presentations at local schools and has a skill session Thursday evening (6-8 p.m., $50 fee) at J.B. Blayton Elementary School in Williamsburg for boys and girls 10 and older. He has worked out individuals, small groups, teams and even large groups.

Schneider, 24, hopes to model his effort and services after Ganon Baker, the Hampton native who turned a modest, local basketball skills training service into an international venture for players of all ages and levels, from young kids to NBA professionals.

"Ganon's probably the dominant force in that area," Schneider said. "I kind of consider him the Michael Jordan of personal training and basketball skills training. I'd like to be the Kobe Bryant — a guy that comes along about 10 years later and takes what he's done and the strides that he's made and add some of my own twists and take it one step further."

Schneider's dad, Jeff, a former college coach and ex-Virginia Tech player, and older brother Kevin run a basketball outfit based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that leans toward staging tournaments and player and team evaluations. David's aim is training and skill development.

Maybe the two ventures can mesh someday, David said, but for the time being they're separate.

He wants to do what he can on his own, taking advantage of the connections he made as a player and from the often nomadic life of a coach's son.

Following a superb career at William and Mary, Schneider played professionally in Great Britain last winter with the Guildford Heat in a stint cut short by injury and money. He had a hamstring injury that he couldn't shake and said that treatment was inconsistent and that he was required to pay out-of-pocket.

While rehabilitating the injury in Myrtle Beach last winter, he did some training and skill work with individuals and groups to stay busy.

"I guess it's from my mom being a teacher," Schneider said, "but I love teaching the game. I love playing basketball, I love learning about basketball.

"I started looking at it from a lot of different angles. Can I really enjoy this for the rest of my life? Can I make a living at it? And then it got to a point where it really expanded."

And in case you were wondering, Schneider is comfortable teaching his jump shot to aspiring shooters — mostly because it now bears little resemblance to the funky, jackknife, splayed-elbow, earth's-rotation form that he displayed at William and Mary.

Last summer, he worked with New York Knicks' assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, the father of ex-Tribe guard Nick D'Antoni and brother of Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Schneider spent hours and hours on his form — hand placement and rotation, straighter elevation, elbow tucked, more efficient release.

"People who see me now probably wouldn't recognize my shot," he said. "It's pretty close to textbook."

Schneider plans to play next winter, he hopes overseas in Germany. Until then, he will try to grow his business and to mine the connections he's made all over the country.

Williamsburg seems an unusual launch point for a basketball skills and training venture, since the town is hardly a hoops mecca.

But Schneider said it's close enough to population centers and basketball hotbeds. Plus, for him it's similar to the leap of faith he made when he came east to play for a college with scant success or tradition and try to build the program.

"The people, for me, definitely make it worth it," Schneider said. "Pretty much, everybody knows you in this town. You're able to really make those connections that aid your company, and people are willing to go out of their way to help you."

Dave Fairbank can be reached at 247-4637 or by e-mail at dfairbank@dailypress.com. Read his blog at dailypress.com/fromthetarpit.

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