Meet The Hoffman Hoopers


The Hoffman Hoopers take a picture at Hoffman Park.

Luke Christie, Sports Writer

It is a warm afternoon in November and The Hoffman Hoopers have the advantage against the Southside Ballers. The score is 32-29 and The Southside Ballers are counting on Ryan Ingraffia to make the three pointer with 1 second remaining. Jake Doman passes the ball in bounds towards Ingraffia and he takes the shot. Everyone’s eyes are on the ball and the whole court is silent. The shot misses, and The Hoffman Hoopers come out with a well-deserved victory against The Southside Ballers.
Throughout the years, many Glenbard South students have participated in Y-ball. This is where a group of students will organize a pick-up basketball team, and the team has the opportunity to play different teams from the same, or different schools. Typically, these Y-ball games will take place in the gym at the YMCA in Glen Ellyn; however, the season has not started yet, so the head coaches of each team decided to organize a pre-season game at an outdoor basketball court in Lisle.
The Hoffman Hoopers team name originates from an experience during the summer of 2022. Back in the day, the players would gather at Hoffman Park in Lombard, and they would play pickup basketball in the heat of the scorching sun. Brian Uvodich and Luke Christie said, “We decided to use The Hoffman Hoopers as our team name because it shows where we come from. The name shows where we come from since everyone knows that we used to practice and play many games at Hoffman Park.” The Hoffman Hoopers are a team that consists of several seniors at Glenbard South. The players are Avery Webster, Braden Meeks, Luke Christie, Ness Damania, Brian Uvodich, Erikas Zeikus, and Sulaiman Qureshi. Glenbard South senior Brock Zellinger is the head coach of The Hoffman hoopers. Brock Zellinger has an extensive knowledge of the game of basketball, and he designs vicious offensive plays. Zellinger retired from the sport after he graduated from middle school. He suffered a severe foot injury that would eventually cost him the season as well as his career. Brock is now pursuing his love for the game as a coach for The Hoffman Hoopers. His dedication in coaching has resulted in an extremely successful first game for the newly founded Y-ball team.
On the other hand, The Southside Ballers are also a newly established Y-ball team. Similar to The Hoffman Hoopers, the players used to gather at Health Track Sports and Wellness in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. At Health Track, these players would play basketball for fun, but now they are an official YMCA basketball team. The Southside Ballers also consist of many seniors at Glenbard South. The student players include David Page, Jacob Lichtenheld, Alex Field, Jake Doman, Ryan Ingraffia, Bradley Heim, Deividas Judickas, Sean Miller, and Jack Wilharm. This team is under the supervision of the head coach Henry Lazarro. Lazarro is a vigilant coach, but he gets the job done. The assistant coach for The Southside Ballers is Frankie Valli. Valli is an experienced basketball player who currently plays for the Glenbard South Raiders Varsity Team. Lastly, Antonio Tapia operates the media. Tapia is the man behind the scenes who operates the shot clock, Instagram, and scoreboard.
The two teams played their first preseason game at the outdoor courts near Lisle High School. Both teams were motivated to win, and it was an outstanding game. The back and forth nature of the game made it very anticipatory for the fans watching on the sidelines. The Hoffman Hoopers took the victory and their record is now 1-0. In opposition, the Southside Ballers are now 0-1. Ryan Ingraffia, a player on the receiving side of the loss for The Southside Ballers, told the reporter, “It was a hard loss, but it was a learning experience. I take inspiration from my favorite rapper Big Sean. I recount the time at Lollapalooza when he had said, “Last night took an L, but tonight I’ll bounce back.”” Both teams fought a difficult battle, and everyone made sure to wish each other farewell at the end of the game with a warm handshake. Both teams will now move on to face The Chicago Players. The Chicago Players are a sturdy, experienced team that both The Hoffman Hoopers and The Southside Ballers are thrilled to play. The Chicago Players are a team run by a group of Juniors at Glenbard South, but that is a story for another day.
As of right now, The Hoffman Hoopers are projected to have an impeccable season. Under the coaching of the legendary Brock Zellinger, high ratings have been given to The Hoffman Hoopers. Brock claimed, “Nobody can beat The Hoffman Hoopers, and we will remain undefeated. If anyone thinks otherwise, come at us with all you got!” Eager to conquer more teams, The Hoffman Hoopers, is the official minor league team of Glenbard South High School.