Ant Moynihan interned with Drew Hanlen at Pure Sweat in LA this summer

  • Easthampton grad Ant Moynihan, right, guards Frank Mason III, who signed a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks this week, at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles this summer. Moynihan interned at Pure Sweat LA this summer with Drew Hanlen. COURTESY MATTHEW MCFARLINE

  • Easthampton grad Ant Moynihan, right, laughs with RJ Barrett at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles this summer. Barrett was drafted No. 3 overall by the New York Knicks in the 2019 NBA Draft. Moynihan spent his summer in Los Angeles interning at Pure Sweat LA with NBA skills trainer Drew Hanlen. COURTESY CASSY ATHENA

  • Easthampton’s Ant Moynihan left, sits with Braxton Key in the gym at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles. Key won the men’s NCAA basketball national championship with Virginia last season as a junior. Moynhian spent his summer in Los Angeles interning with NBA skills trainer Drew Hanlen at Pure Sweat LA. COURTESY DIAMOND HOOD

  • Easthampton’s Ant Moynihan, far left, listens while Drew Hanlen meets with Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye during a training session at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles this summer. COURTESY MYLES POLGER

  • Easthampton’s Ant Moynihan finishes a layup over China’s Siyao Sun at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles this summer. ​​​​​​COURTESY GABE GIBBS

  • Easthampton’s Ant Moynihan drives against Chieck Diallo, who signed with the Phoenix Suns this week, at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Los Angeles this summer. Moynihan was in California interning with Drew Hanlen, one of the top NBA skills trainers in the world. COURTESY GABE GIBBS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2019 5:03:53 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Ant Moynihan spent his summer internship crouched in a defensive stance.

The Easthampton graduate lived in Los Angeles from mid-May to July working with NBA skills trainer Drew Hanlen and his Pure Sweat LA team. Pure Sweat is Hanlen’s basketball training company that he started in 2012 and has expended to include in person training, books, videos and an app. Training began at 6 a.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in LA and stretched to midnight some evenings with a food break in between.

Moynihan was one of six interns who assisted with on-court workouts with NBA players, overseas professionals and NBA prospects before the 2019 draft. He also worked on film breakdown projects of the workouts and NBA game film.

“I was probably playing defense for, like, four hours a day,” he said. “I’ve learned more about basketball in the last two months than I have my whole life, probably.”

The syllabus challenged him. Hanlen assigned Moynihan guarding Duke freshman RJ Barrett most days. Barrett was a consensus first-team All American for the Blue Devils after being the top recruit in the Class of 2018, Moynihan’s graduating class. Video of Moynihan guarding Barrett was used in pre-draft video packages.

“He did really well,” Hanlen said. “He’s quick, so he gave RJ a good look.”

Hanlen’s clientele for the summer included players like NBA All-Star Bradley Beal of the Wizards, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine and Celtic Semi Ojeleye. Moynihan worked with more than 20 NBA players, multiple 2019 draft picks and overseas pros.

Braxton Key, a rising senior who won a national championship with Virginia last season, noticed Moynihan the first day in the gym. He wasn’t shy like other interns but engaged with the clients. His trash talk hit another level.

“It’s very serious when you get in there, it’s all business. It helps having a guy like Ant in the gym with us, someone you can joke with, talk a little trash to,” Key said. “He’s a little skinny, but he works hard. He’s very tenacious. It speaks volumes about who he is as a person. Most of those guys are really shy, especially in the beginning because they don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

Moynihan learned quickly to avoid being starstruck despite the caliber of players around him.

“If you’re kind of a fan, you’re not going to be able to build as good of a relationship with anybody,” said Moynihan, who recently completed his freshman year at Grinnell College in Iowa.

He wouldn’t have been in L.A. if not for a relationship built around basketball. Ant’s father, Easthampton graduate Jason Moynihan, has known Hanlen for eight years. When he retired from a decade-long career managing investments on Wall Street in 2009, Jason dove back into his passion: basketball. He started an AAU team in New Jersey, where the family lived at the time.

Hanlen was early in his career as a trainer then but still had NBA clients. Jason followed his work and reached out to him over email for advice about player development.

“It was a perfect storm. I had just wanted to learn when I had finished working and wanted to reengage in basketball, and Drew was doing some awesome stuff that I had overlapping philosophy on how to develop kids and work with kids,” Jason said. “He was more than willing to have me bother him. I had a lot of time and he was open to talking. We became really good friends kind of fast.”

They stayed in touch when the Moynihans moved to western Massachusetts. Jason sent Hanlen videos of Ant’s game, and Hanlen helped develop a training program.

“I’m a guy that loves helping people, regardless of age or skill level,” Hanlen said. “They put in the work, but I helped guide the process. I have really enjoyed watching his success and growth over the years.”

Paying it forward

Ant Moynihan brought those methods and processes to Easthampton when he transferred from Wahconah as a junior and shared them with his teammates. The Eagles improved from 12 wins in Ant’s junior year to 19 victories and a state finals appearance his senior season in part because of Hanlen’s influence through the Moynihans.

“They don’t even know it, but Drew has a lot to do with how Easthampton ended up developing together and getting where they got to,” Jason said.

A month after graduating from Easthampton, Ant texted Hanlen to thank him despite never having met him in person. He told Hanlen, “We couldn’t have done this without you, and we appreciate everything you did,” Jason said. Ant told Hanlen he’d be glad to reciprocate and help Hanlen if he ever needed anything.

Hanlen said he should come out to L.A. and intern with him after his freshman season. Ant stayed on Hanlen’s couch after he arrived in mid-May before moving to an Airbnb he and his family paid for. Whenever Moynihan wasn’t working in the gym, he was lifting or training. It didn’t leave much time for the beach or nightlife.

“He basically lived in the gym while he was here,” Hanlen said.

That worked well with Ant. He wasn’t there for a vacation.

“I didn’t ever take breaks, I was just doing stuff all day,” he said. “It flew by for me because I was getting a lot out of it. It didn’t feel like work for me.”

He plans to play professionally overseas after his college career and eventually move into player development work and potentially coach at the Division I level. Ant continued his training regimen when he came home for the summer. He wakes up early and lifts at Timeless Training in Pittsfield — he has been training with Brian Pickard for four years — before eating and a quick nap. Jason runs workouts three nights a week in Easthampton’s gym featuring players from all over the region, including past and future Eagles.

“(Ant’s) got it down. His work ethic is what it is, and he’ll make it as far as he’s gonna go,” Jason said.

After the summer, Ant won’t return to Grinnell for his sophomore season. The environment at the school wasn’t what he thought it would be, and he didn’t agree with aspects of how the basketball program operated. Hanlen tweeted that Ant was looking for a place to play next year.

Moynihan announced he’ll continue his college career at Hilbert, a Division III school just outside Buffalo. The school recruited him in high school and reached out when he announced he was available.

“It seems like the perfect spot to prove how good I am next year and have a really successful season both individually and team-wise,” Ant said.

Amid all of the skills and connections, confidence may be the most important quality Ant developed in L.A. He showed he could stay on the court against elite talent and contribute to their development.

“Just being there solidified it for me that being in the basketball world is what I want to do with my life. It was the most amazing experience of my life,” Ant said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

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

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