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Our Team

George Ellis

Director of Basketball Academy

Phone: 612-673-1287

Matt Bare

Matt Bare

Senior Manager of Basketball Academy Sales

Phone: 612-673-8441

Breanna Salley

Bre Salley

Manager of Basketball Academy

Phone: 612-673-1206

Ashley Ellis-Milan

Basketball Academy Coordinator

Phone: 612-673-8442

Thomas Gorrilla

Thomas Gorrilla

Basketball Academy Director

From: NE Minneapolis, MN 
Coaching Experience: 3 Years as an 8th Grade Boys Head Coach at St. Marks in St. Paul. Now Head Coach of 9th Grade Boys at DeLaSalle High School as well as a Varsity assistant and head strength and conditioning coach. 2+ years as a player development trainer. 
Playing Experience: Played competitively since 3rd grade and played high school basketball at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Winning the CAA Championship as my last year coaching the 8th grade boys and my first ever State Championship as a part of the DeLaSalle staff.  
Favorite Quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” —Maya Angelou

Hannah Lechner

Hannah Lechner

Basketball Academy Director

From: Stewartville, MN 
Coaching Experience: Have coached camps since I was 16 years old. I have coached camps for Janet Karvenon, the Minnesota Gophers, and the Lynx/Timberwolves Academy. I coach youth basketball in the Rochester Champions League and will continue to coach as my daughters grow into elementary and middle school. 
Playing Experience: I played HS basketball in Stewartville, MN and AAU for several, elite SEMN teams. After high school, I played for the University of Minnesota Gophers from 2003-2006. I am now retired after multiple "old lady" knee injuries.
Favorite Basketball Memory: Playing in the Final Four in 2004 (New Orleans) has to be the top memory, but also filling William's Arena with over 14,000 fans for my collegiate career was something I will never forget. Running out to that many people is indescribable. 
Favorite Quote:  "My favorite part of the game is the opportunity to play. It's not to be taken for granted." - Pele

Robert Ware

Rob Ware

Basketball Academy Director

From: Minneapolis, MN.
Coaching Experience: 3 years men's basketball assistant college coach, 9 years boys varsity assistant high school coach, and 5 years boys head varsity high school coach. AAU Basketball Director at Urban Ventures Athletics and National Championship for AAU. 
Playing Experience: High School 3 sport athlete in football, basketball and track. State basketball high school participant with Minneapolis Patrick Henry. All state in Track and field. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Playing in the MN state high school basketball tournament. The time spent with my teammates at the banquet and playing in the games is something I will always remember. 
Favorite Quote: “The best players are in the best shape” & “Fall in love with the process”. 
 

Dyami Starks

Basketball Academy Director

From: Duluth, MN.
Coaching Experience: 8-years as a Skill Trainer working 6 years domestically, two years as the Starks Academy Director, and two years in Latvia, Australia and Kazakhstan. I just started this past year as the AAU Program Director/Coach. I have also spent 3 years as a Strength and Conditioning Trainer -- 6 of those months being with Lake Superior College. 
Playing Experience: Mr. Basketball Finalist at Duluth East High School (2010), Division-1 Basketball player at Bryant University (2015) All-Conference and Team Leading Scorer every year, and Professional Basketball Player for 3 years in Latvia, Kazakhstan and Australia. SEABL Scoring Leader in Australia. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: During my senior year at Bryant, my Father, Will Starks, was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. He flew for the first time in his life to go to my Senior night game at Bryant. Earlier that same year, my college coach let my father give the locker room pregame speech with a defibrillator & heart monitor strapped around his body - it was our season opener against preseason #1 ranked UCONN. My father was the reason I got into basketball, and he was my original trainer. By far my favorite memory. 
Favorite Quote: “Everyday, make it your goal to grow your growth mindset.” 

Ayla Lemke

Ayla Lemke

Basketball Academy Site Manager

From: Two Harbors, MN
Coaching Experience: Coaching 6th grade girls in AAU. 
Playing Experience: I played at Two Harbors High School and am currently playing at Concordia, St. Paul. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: My senior year of high school my team won the holiday basketball tournament, I scored my 1,000 points, and it was my dad's birthday all in the same day December 30th, 2016. 
Favorite Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."

Brandon Morris

Brandon Morris

Basketball Academy Site Manager

From: Kansas City, MO
Coaching Experience: I do one on one training related to the fundamentals of basketball.
Playing Experience: I played at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, KS and Drury University in Springfield, MO.
Favorite Basketball Memory: Winning the Kansas 6A State Championship my Senior Year.
Favorite Quote: “Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon'.” - Paulo Coelho

Jonte Flowers

Jonte Flowers

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Madison, WI
Playing Experience: I have been playing professional basketball throughout Europe for the past 11 years, with stops in Sweden, France, Finland, Italy, Romania, Lithuania and Poland. I have won two professional championships, been named EuroBasket Player of the Year twice and won multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards. I played collegiately at Winona State University, winning two NCAA Division II National Championships. Our team won a Division II record 57 consecutive games during one stretch. I earned All-American honors twice and am the only player in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) to win Defensive Player of the Year honors four consecutive seasons. I also hold the Division II record for career steals. Following college, I had the opportunity to play in both the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational and then with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Summer League before beginning my professional career.
Favorite Basketball Memory: Too many memories to pick just one. I’ve been very fortunate to play the game I love all over the world and have many successes on the court.
Favorite Quote: “Focus on goals, not obstacles.”

Alexis Garcia

Alexis Garcia

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Minnetonka, MN
Coaching Experience: I have been coaching within AAU for 5 years and the past two years have been with MN Metro Stars. I'm currently in my first year coaching with Hopkins High School (18-19). I act as the head coach for sophomores and the assistant for Varsity. But I also coach 6th grade basketball in the winter. 
Playing Experience: I started playing at Hopkins in 6th grade and graduated in 2013. From there I went to St. Catherine University in St. Paul where I played there for five years.
Favorite Basketball Memory: Winning my fourth high school state championship, but it was my first as a coach. Also making it to back to back MIAC playoffs with St Kates for the first time in ten years.
Favorite Quote: "We give everything we got then go back for more. No doubts, no holding back, no giving in. The court to the catwalk, the stadium to the streets. Whatever the game, we play the same way. Heart over head, inclusion over ego. United by passion, we go ALL in."

Ellie Gess

Ellie Gess

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Bloomington, MN
Coaching Experience: Coached girls AAU for Metro Stars 7th graders two years ago  & TC Takeover 6th graders last year. 
Playing Experience: Played high school ball for Bloomington Jefferson my 8th grade year- Senior year. Played AAU for Minnesota Fury, Played at Concordia St. Paul my first two years in college & now transferring to play at Northern State University. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Playing AAU with my best friends & traveling across the country.  
Favorite Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” -Kevin Durant 

Karli Gilbertson

Karli Gilbertson

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Bismarck, ND
Coaching Experience: I have coached boys and girls ages K-8. I have worked as a volunteer coach for youth leagues, coached at the middle school level in Arizona for three years, and have been working with the Timberwolves & Lynx Academy for the past three years. 
Playing Experience: I started playing basketball at 5 years old and have been playing ever since. I played at Bismarck High School, Northern State University (Aberdeen, South Dakota), and now play in a Minneapolis city league. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: My favorite basketball memory is playing in summer AAU tournaments. I gained some life-long friends, was able to travel around the Unites States, and learned a lot about being a good teammate in basketball and in life. 
Favorite Quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Mike Landers

Mike Landers

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Milwaukee, WI
Coaching Experience: I am currently the Head Boys' Basketball Coach in St.Paul Como Park.
Playing Experience: Division 3- Crown College "11''
Favorite Basketball Memory: 2nd Team All Conference Award and Player of The Week Award "Upper Midwest Athletic Conference".
Favorite Quote: “There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out.” -Pat Riley

Nick Novak

Nick Novak

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Ladysmith, WI
Coaching Experience: I have been coaching for 13 years with 7 of those as head coach.  
Playing Experience: I played all 4 years in high school and 1 year in college. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Winning State my junior year and going to the Final Four at the Metrodome. 
Favorite Quote: “It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” - John Wooden 

Kristi Olson

Kristi Olson

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Richfield, MN
Coaching Experience: I have been coaching for 25 years. Most of my time has been spent coaching traveling basketball in Richfield. I have also coached spring ball for Richfield for both traveling aged kids along with high school aged kids. I started the K-2 program in Richfield when my oldest daughter wanted to start playing in kindergarten. I have also coached fastpitch softball for many years in Richfield. I was also the Totally Awesome Coach of the Year from the MN Twins. 
Playing Experience: I played for Richfield HS, I played intramurals at the U of M and have played in a women's league since graduating HS (first at the YWCA and now through the Johnson Rec Center).
Favorite Basketball Memory: So many to pick from! Recently, I would say it's being able to coach my 2 daughters.
Favorite Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretzky

Dave Shaw

Dave Shaw

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Chicago, IL
Coaching Experience: 

  • Noble Charter High School- Assistant Coach Boys Varsity 
  • Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy: Assistant Head Coach Boys Varsity 
  • Rauner College Prep: Head Coach Girls Varsity 
  • Windy-City Spartans 16U: Assistant Coach Boys Travel Team
  • Chicago Bulls Basketball Academy: Youth Basketball Instructor 
  • Beyond the Rim Basketball Training Academy: Co-Founder/Trainer


Playing Experience: I played for De La Salle High School in Chicago and then played at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: My favorite memory of basketball comes from my childhood. I played a lot of basketball in my backyard with friends on a milk crate. 
Favorite Quote: “Effort is between you and you." - Ray Lewis

Rosa Gauthier

Rosa Gauthier-Culnane

Basketball Academy Instructor

Zakary Jourdeans

Zakary Jourdeans

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Roberts, WI
Coaching Experience: I have worked at youth camps for the last 6 years and am an Assistant Coach for D1MN 14u.
Playing Experience: I started playing basketball in elementary school and continued on to play on the varsity team for 4 years of high school. I currently play for the Viterbo University Men's Basketball team. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Hitting a game-winning shot my sophomore season at the buzzer.
Favorite Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” -Kevin Durant 

Tyler Slick

Tyler Slick

Basketball Academy Instructor

From: Prior Lake, MN
Coaching Experience: 8 Years of Coaching. 3 Years at the High School Level. 5 Years at the College Level. NCAA Division 2, NCAA Division 3, NJCAA Division 1. 8 Years of AAU Coaching. Director of Basketball Operations Ganon Baker Basketball. NBA Pre-Draft Skills Trainer.
Playing Experience: High School Basketball - Did not play in college. Started coaching when I was 18 years old. 
Favorite Basketball Memory: Coaching everywhere I've been!  
Favorite Quote: "Those who dance the dance of life, appear insane to those who can't hear the music"