Capital City Thunder
Today’s Program Profile brings us to the Fairfax/Arlington area of Northern Virginia. We caught up with Program Director and Founder of Capital City Thunder, Darrian Mangum, to learn more about his up and coming program!
In 2018, Darrian Mangum anticipated having only two teams for his brand-new basketball club, Capital City Thunder, but after a better-than-expected tryout session he decided to form three teams. Now in its third year, Capital City Thunder has grown to six teams total, one of which is a girls’ team. Coach Darrian partially attributes this growth to the relationships that are built through the club. He firmly believes that as a coach, it is important to support his student-athletes in all aspects of life, not just on the basketball court.
Capital City Thunder works year-round to develop their athletes. In addition to the competitive teams that they offer through the fall and spring, the coaches hold “Training Academy” sessions that focus on strength training, conditioning, and individual basketball skills. These sessions aim to improve the skills of each individual so that they can perform for the greater success of their respective high school teams and for Capital City Thunder.
Capital City Thunder’s favorite ZG tournament is King and Queen of the South held in Richmond, Virginia. Coach Darrian says, “It’s a great tournament to start your team off in. The type of competition we saw in Richmond [last year] got us better and made us work hard. Also, driving down to Richmond was a good team bonding experience. We had a great time and are looking forward to coming back this year.”
When asked what they excel in, Coach Darrian explained that Capital City Thunder truly excels at being a family. The program has grown each year, and although they have plans to keep growing, the “family” atmosphere is one aspect that he refuses to compromise as they go forward. Coach Darrian loves to see his athletes fill the sidelines to support another Capital City Thunder team when they are in between games. He doesn’t ask them to do this, but it serves a testament to the team-first culture that Coach Darrian and his staff have embedded in the club.
This tight-knit culture was even present at the program’s inception. Coach Darrian reflected on the club’s very first practice, saying that he saw a new community forming right then and there. “We brought in kids from Arlington and Fairfax who had never known each other, and even after the very first practice everyone was communicating and enjoying their time together.” This tradition has certainly continued through the years, and now Cap City Thunder’s athletes, families and coaches look forward to travelling to new places together. The club’s student-athletes and their Program Director both agree that the family-oriented culture is their favorite aspect about Capital City Thunder.
In terms of improvement, Capital City Thunder is looking no further than the teams that they have right now. Their goal is to see all of their players on the the 17u team continue on and succeed in college – whether they are playing basketball or not. Darrian has coached the 17u team since 2016, so seeing this year’s team graduate will be extra special. This will be the first group to have started and ended their club basketball career with Darrian and his coaching staff, and they look forward to developing many more classes like this in the years to come.
You can check out Capital City Thunder at some of this year’s ZG tournaments in the DMV, or visit their website.
Also be sure to follow Capital City Thunder on social media!
Instagram – @capitalcitythunder
Twitter – @ThunderCapital