LONDON — After a two and a half month break, former North Laurel Basketball player, and C3 Hoops owner Jesse Sizemore and Darrin Hacker (Cold Hill teacher/coach and girls coach at South Laurel Middle School) both went back to work on June 1, teaching the game of basketball.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Sizemore and Hacker patiently waited for the state to open back up so they can do what they do best — teach the game of basketball to athletes across the Tri-County and beyond.

Both Sizemore and Hacker train numerous basketball student-athletes daily while improving each player’s skill set along the way.

Sizemore said it’s a blessing to be able to do what he does each day, and he admitted he realizes it even more after seeing the pandemic close C3 Hoops for the past few months.

“I don’t want to sound cliche or anything, but in all sincerity, C3 Hoops happened, and is all possible to this day because of God. It is without a doubt a God thing. The way everything happened and the opportunities that opened when they did, don’t just happen, I believe. I owe it all to him, and I know as long as he comes first and foremost He will guide me where I need to be, and will open and shut the doors that are meant to be so.

“For the last six years, we have grown,” he added. “I’ve been extremely blessed to add a partner in coach Darrin Hacker, who does a phenomenal job working with the kids. We also have been blessed with a great relationship with New Life Church, who have been great to us and are amazing people. We are blessed to be in an area that has some great coaches and is very supportive of us, as we are them. I appreciate and respect them so much and never want to do anything but be a help for them and their programs.”

Sizemore said C3 Hoops is a place to bring any child to improve their basketball skills. He also mentioned he is fortunate to have someone like Hacker to help out as well.

“We emphasize work ethic and pushing through mentally,” he said. “C3 stands for court, classroom, and community. When I sat down with my wife about six years ago to come up with a name, I wanted something that could lead to bigger things and impact more than just basketball. That the classroom and community are also extremely important aspects to work on. We currently offer group lessons to kids from kindergarten up to college. We make sure to do our best by putting each kid in the group that is close to their grade level, as well as their experience and skill level.

“Darrin Hacker and I work together, and I am extremely blessed to have someone like him with me,” he added. “We currently do the majority of all our training out of the New Life Worship Center, which once was the old Sue Bennett College gymnasium, off West 5th Street on Alumni Circle. On January 17, 2015, the first C3 Hoops lesson took place, and I will never forget it. We are still going to this day thank the Lord.”

Everything continued heading in the right direction until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March, forcing C3 Hoops to close until further notice.

“When COVID-19 hit, it affected everyone in one way or another and some harder than others,” Sizemore said. “I was concerned for sure, when you’re hearing a year or longer of shutdown when this first hit. But once again, it is seriously God’s plan and I just put it in his hands. I also knew people were going through harder times than myself. I just had to do what I felt was best for the kids that came to us, and if shutting down was for the best then so be it. I will say it personally gave me time to spend with my family in which I have enjoyed thoroughly.

“Once starting back, we wanted to make sure we could do the best we could to meet regulations, and just give our kids and their families the peace of mind knowing when they came to work out that we would make it the safest environment possible,” he added. “Some of the things we changed was the entrance into the gym for direct access into the gymnasium. We have hand sanitizer in place for kids to put on when they arrive and leave, as well as any time during the workout. We initially started with absolutely no physical contact, such as one-on-one or five-on-five, or anything like that. We have limited the number of people we allow in the gym at one time. Each player has their ball and they keep it with them for the entirety of the workout. We do not require a mask, however, they are more than welcome to wear one.”

Despite things not being completely back to normal, Sizemore admitted he’s glad to be back working with the youth.

“I’m extremely excited,” he said. “I say this to people all the time when they bring it up, yes C3 Hoops is a business, but it is so much more than that to us. We take extreme pride in playing a small part in helping these kids achieve their goals. When you have a parent message you about their kid scoring their first basket or handling the ball coast-to-coast, or even getting their first scholarship offer, and they say, ‘thank you.’ That is what it is all about for us. June 1st was a great day for us to get back to doing what we love.”

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