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‘Changing in the guard’ at Hopkins Academy as Adam Ginsburg takes over boys basketball program

  • First-year Hopkins Academy boys basketball coach Adam Ginsburg talks to his team, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • First-year Hopkins Academy boys basketball coach Adam Ginsburg talks to his team, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

HADLEY — New Hopkins Academy boys basketball coach Adam Ginsburg blew his whistle and called out “reset!” to his manager. One minute went back on the gym’s scoreboard. Some of the players on the court expressed frustration.

The Golden Hawks were working on a four-on-three fast break drill that didn’t allow them to dribble or turn the ball over for a minute, otherwise it would reset.

“Attention to detail,” Ginsburg said, clapping and beginning the drill anew.

Many of Ginsburg’s drills involve running the length of the court in some capacity. Even those that aren’t are performed quickly and vigorously.

“Instead of straight running, he incorporates it in the drills,” Hopkins senior Caleb Graves said. “So we’re getting better, and we’re getting in better shape, too.”

Eventually, the players completed the drill and were greeted with applause from Ginsburg and the players watching from the sidelines. Even when they were making mistakes, Ginsburg wanted them to move past the adversity and on to the next play.

“First and foremost, we’re trying to be great teammates, playing with passion, playing fast, being unselfish,” Ginsburg said. “Those are all characteristics we’re looking to infuse.”

Ginsburg takes over at Hopkins Academy after 20 years as an assistant at the Division I college level. The Baldwin, New York, native was at Iona last season but spent the previous 12 years at UMass assisting both Derek Kellogg and Travis Ford. He’s also assisted coach at Northeastern and Towson and was a staff assistant at Florida in the late 1990s.

Ginsburg’s family remained in Massachusetts last year when he commuted to Iona in New York, and he realized it was time to be closer to home and spend more time with them.

“I’ve been in the community a really long time. I’ve been exposed to the Hopkins program through the CYO program that’s a feeder program for the youth because my son’s been in it,” Ginsburg said. “I was always impressed with the youth program, how dedicated they were, how much they invested in it. You saw the legacy of what’s happened here over the last several years.”

He’s taking over for Angelo Thomas, who left in October to coach his alma mater Greenfield. Once Thomas told Hopkins athletic director Erik Sudnik he was leaving, “six or seven” people applied, Sudnik said. Four of them reached the interview phase before Ginsburg was hired.

“Adam really hit all the nails on the head and had an immense amount of experience to go with it,” Sudnik said. “We had a long talk about his experience and translating it to the high school level.”

He has big shoes to fill at Hopkins. Thomas spent five years with the Golden Hawks, winning 98 games and three sectional titles.

“The legacy he left with the guys that invested with the program like they did speaks for itself. That stretch is as successful as any in western Mass,” Ginsburg said. “You embrace that because people in the community have an expectation that Hopkins is going to be good. There’s been a changing in the guard because a lot of guys have graduated. Now new guys have an opportunity.”

The Golden Hawks graduated their five leading scorers from last year’s sectional finalist. Pioneer Regional ended Hopkins’ three-year run atop Division 4, but the Golden Hawks don’t expect to slip.

“Since I was in eighth grade it was Western Mass. after Western Mass., so it becomes an expectation throughout the town,” Graves said. “We try to live up to that pressure and hype.”

Graves is the only senior on the team, but the Golden Hawks are familiar with each other from playing together through youth, middle school and junior varsity squads.

“It’s a bright future. We’re young,” Hopkins junior Braeden Tudryn said. “We’ll develop that trust and grow closer.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.