Bless Up Athletics to hold basketball clinic in September for local basketball players


Former Western Reserve standout player Lance DeZee founded Bless Up Athletic to teach personalized training skills

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO (WKBN) – With the growing trend to work with personal trainers, former Western Reserve standout player Lance DeZee is someone that local basketball players are turning to for instruction.  During his sophomore season at Bethany College, DeZee had a vision of starting a basketball personal training business.  Today, his business is booming.

Bless Up Athletics will hold a clinic shortly after September 7th, following the NCAA recruitment dead date, at Canfield’s St. Michael’s Church where coaches and scouts from many colleges and universities will be on hand to get an up-close view of some of the top talented players from around the area.  DeZee is still taking reservations for players if they call him at 330-978-3703.

“I’m hoping this will help potential college basketball players in this area be able to get to where they want to go,” DeZee explained the purpose of the clinic.  “There are a lot of great players around this area that can play in college regardless of the division.  I want to give them a chance to show what they can do.”

The recent NCAA mandate on recruitment made the clinic possible, “Up until now, starting back in March, college coaches have not been able to recruit off-campus.  I’m putting these college coaches in place in the same gym with these guys that they can really show them in person what they can do.”

Some of the players that DeZee is currently working with are high school standout players Kyle Shockley of Waterloo, Ryan Gordon of Western Reserve, Jonathan Bertovich from Heartland Christian, Payton Zupko from Mineral Ridge, and Hayden Wait from Warren JFK.  He also works with college athlete Jordon Zupko from Westminster, who is the all-time leading scorer at Mineral Ridge, and Nick Everett from Edinboro, who graduated from West Branch High School.

DeZee, who graduated from Western Reserve in 2016 was a three-year letter winner for the Blue Devils and continued his career at Bethany College.  He always dreamed of starting his own business and being a successful entrepreneur.  Basketball was the vessel that was going to make that all happen.

“It was my sophomore year of college,” DeZee reflected on the very beginning.  “I was playing college basketball at Bethany.  I was sitting in my dorm room, and Drew Hanlon has always been an inspiration to me.  I like what he does as far as working with players.  So for me, I always wanted to be my own entrepreneur as far as a future profession.”

DeZee explained that he does not just work on physical drills with a player, but also the mental part of the game.  In fact, when he starts with any new player, he focusing on the mental aspect of the game first.

“How I am as a person and how I run my brand and deal with the players is always bigger than basketball,” DeZee said.  “So I base the family concept in with my business because I believe that when basketball players don’t have a good game 95% of the time it has nothing to do with basketball.  It has something to do with off the court things.  So I try to a mentor and build a trustworthy avenue that they can go talk to me about more than just basketball.  Life, school, it’s always bigger than basketball for me.”

As far as the individual talents and limitations of a player, DeZee was quick to point out that he designs workouts customized for each player, “I base my workouts solely on that individual.  No two players get trained the same.  It’s a lot of situational stuff, especially for the older players like high school and college guys.  Read and react things while the younger players it’s a lot more of the fundamentals.”

He added, “It’s skill development.  But the keyword in that is development.  Working out for two or three weeks, they are not going to turn into LaBron James.  It’s a patient process that takes time, but you will eventually see the results once the games begin.”

DeZee has spent this year not only training his client-players but also fine-tuning his teaching skills by working with pro and college coaches during the unique pandemic situation.  He worked with Tampa 2020 which is the Auburn alumni team based out of Florida.

“Before COVID, we were used to being able to do what we always did whether that was going to the gym or working out, playing a sport.  Every avenue of sports changed.  For me specifically, I wasn’t able to be in the gym for two or three months so my workouts changed to more one-on-one outdoor workouts and a lot of virtual stuff.  I held group workouts over Zoom and face timing my clients.  I talked to my guys every day, I was always on the phone with them,” He explained.

“If there was a blessing that came out of it (COVID-19) was the great people that I was able to meet in the game of basketball.  College coaches, other trainers across the country, and I’m close now with the General Manager of the Washington Wizard G league team.  I was able to network a lot through that time frame and I know a lot more people now than I didn’t before the quarantine,” DeZee concluded.

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