STRAIGHT SHOOTER

Stephen “Shaker” Cuevas is the founder of Ball 4 All and Shake True Hoops. As a youth he dreamt of having opportunites to compete at the highest levels and of having success at those levels, both individually and as part of a team.

Shaker admits that when he was young he did not have access to coaching but that did not stop him from playing on an outdoor court at his neighbourhood playground. That same court ended up spawning six or seven future national players. They were all Shaker’s age and he competed against and with them while aspiring to be as good as they were. This aspiration drove him to practice on the court when it was deserted and to practice in his mind how he would beat them. This practice enabled him to become proficient and as he got older and attended schools that had basketball programs, Shaker discovered that his skills allowed him to not only make the teams but also to contribute.

Stephen continued to play basketball as well as studying Spanish and eventually he returned to his old playground where he discovered that all his buddies had graduated to greater opportunities. He also realized that he was one of the best players at his old playground.

From that time on, his career had its ups and downs. From playing senior high school basketball in Ottawa to varsity basketball for the Middlebury Panthers in Vermont, then with the University of Guelph Gryphons and finally playing professionally in England and Wales.

Shaker’s experiences were unique to him but many of them can be shared to create positive outcomes. It is in that spirit that Shake True Hoops was created. Shake True Hoops was born of an epiphany. He says he was in the middle of blaming one of his coaches for a personal deficiency when he realized it was really his responsbility to become proficient. Shaker then understood that in order to be happy he had to make himself better instead of blaming others for his own shortcomings and in that way take responsibilty for his own career.

Since that point, Stephen has done his best to pass on this lesson and others he has learned in his career as well as the skills he has developed over the years. Shake True Hoops has been part of the result of this, as is Ball 4 All, an organization Shaker has implemented in Guelph with the goal of helping at risk kids to play basketball and learn important life lessons from Shaker and his staff.