Program Profile: Black Bear North
Today’s Program Spotlight brings us far north to visit a program that is deep in the heart of Maine that was born out of the director’s “passion for what basketball and what the basketball leaders have done” for him.
Black Bear North is based out of Bangor/Greater Hermon, ME with kids that travel as far as 4 hours to participate with the program. Program director Fritz Marseille has put in a lot of work since the start of the program back in 2008 to draw in some of the best players in the Vacation State.
“We started with one 7th grade boys team. Year two we were at 3 boys teams. Year three we added three girls teams along with four boys teams. We run a fall and spring program. 25 BBN teams participate in the spring 10 girls teams and 15 boys teams. 17 BBN teams participate in the fall, 6 girls teams and 11 boys [teams]. That’s been our average over the last 3 years. With our training program, BBN Basketball School and BBN Camps, we are a year round program.”
In developing the program as a whole, success has been seen both on and off the court. However, the on court success is hard to hide!
“We currently have 2 girls and 3 boys playing at the Division I level, 20 playing college basketball and 10 playing at the professional level.”
Fritz’s biggest off season goals are ensuring maximum preparation for each season. This includes finding the right coaches to support their players as well as their goals as a program as a whole.
“The hardest part is finding quality coaches. In fairness to the brand and the members, we try to hold a high standard in everything that we do. We are providing a comprehensive basketball program and promoting the total development of our student-athletes. We really push ourselves to develop the athletes totally with that attitude alone. A strong belief that the cream rises to the top through hard work and effort, but have to make sure that we are able to promote our top kids to college coaches.”
This is also seen and reiterated right off the bat with the program’s mission statement:
“Black Bear North is an organization that is committed to providing a comprehensive basketball program. We strive to promote the total development of our student-athletes. We encourage healthy competition, sportsmanship and teamwork in an environment that is enjoyable, fair and diverse.”
With that being said, Black Bear North bases their fundamental growth on being open and honest with their players in order to help them develop accordingly and get the best out of each and every one of them.
“We don’t sell false promises. Majority of our coaches played at the college level. We have experience working with student-athletes in many levels. We work on encouraging kids to be the best that they can be, keeping our current, or adding like minded coaches, and pairing them with the teams made of eager kids who buy in to the program’s vision.”
Despite providing so many outlets for the players to utilize to grow on and off the court from basic skills and drills to community service, Fritz tells us he doesn’t tell his players to look at him as their role model. Who does he choose to move the focus to?
“Their parent, especially if they have good ones.”
Looking to the spring 2020 circuit, we can’t wait to see Black Bear North all over New England! But what are they looking forward to the most?
“Continued great events with quality facilities and competition. Also looking forward to showcase our teams and kids in the ZGXL League, NERR Hoopfest and ZG Nationals.”
In talking to Fritz, we learned a lot about the basics of running the program along with the fundamental base everyone should learn from: staying true to your growth. Knowing your limit and being able to have coaches who help you surpass it to become better each and every day is something seen regularly with BBN. The growth of the program in the last 11 years is something remarkable in the area of Bangor, Maine. But with players seeing the results provided by BBN, it’s easy to see how it was done.
We are truly looking forward to having Black Bear North back on the circuit this spring along the #RoadToZGFinals!