Driveway expansion on point
By Rich Palzewic
HOBART – When Ashwaubenon graduate and former UW-Green Bay men’s basketball star Ryan Borowicz opened The Driveway basketball training center in June 2016, he was already thinking about expanding.
A little more than three years later, the 8,600-square-foot addition is a reality.
The Driveway, located at 1220 Flightway Drive in Hobart, is a unique training facility for the youth of all ages to fine-tune their shooting touch and basketball skills.
“I had it in mind to expand almost immediately when The Driveway opened, but I wanted to give the original facility about three years to see if it was feasible,” said Borowicz, who played for the Phoenix from 1995 to 1999. “We put the original building on the east side of the property in case we wanted to expand. If it wasn’t going to work after three years, I wanted to be able to sell the building. I got more serious about expanding in September 2018.”
Borowicz said he put a lot of thought into what he wanted in the addition.
Construction on the expansion began earlier this spring and opened for business Nov. 3.
“In the summer when kids are off school, the main portion of the building is busy all day with camps, leagues and classes,” he said. “The new addition allows more time for kids to come in and shoot individually on their own. The new part of the building is less dependent on me being there with the kids.”
Borowicz said his goal wasn’t to add more courts – there wasn’t a need for that.
He wanted to utilize every square foot of the expansion project into something useful.
“There’s a giant new basketball facility in Appleton which has eight courts and cost $30 million,” Borowicz said. “If you want to run tournaments in a facility like that, it has to be used every weekend with multiple sports all year long – that wasn’t my vision. This is a training center. Kids are getting better every day by getting repetition on their shot. In the first three weeks the new part was open, more than 250,000 shots were logged.”
The main feature of the addition at The Driveway is 10 shooting cages.
“Each cage has a Dr. Dish machine with a touch-screen monitor,” said Borowicz. “You can program your own workout or use one of ours. There are lots of options in the 30 minutes you’re in the cage – it’s focused and intentional. The whole idea is repetition and to get as many shots as you can. It’s one person per cage – you shoot the ball and it spits back to you from the machine. You don’t need mom or dad rebounding. The more efficient you are, the more shots you get. By giving kids a machine that rebounds and passes for you, you can shoot more.”
Borowicz used himself as an example of how efficient the cages can be.
“One night at 10 p.m., I was in the cage for 48 minutes and took 1,000 shots,” he said. “I didn’t check my phone, get a drink or walk around – I shot for 48 minutes straight. Some of these kids won’t take 1,000 shots their whole season. When you shoot that many shots, you build the muscle memory needed. The machines used are on the cutting edge of technology.”
Each cage is 35-foot by 15-foot and separated by netting.
“The kids are telling us they love what we’ve done,” Borowicz said. “Essentially, each athlete gets his or her own individual gym with each cage. There’s nowhere else you can find this focused amount of work.”
Borowicz said he is not in competition with the local high schools and coaches – he and the facility are here as an additional tool.
“Bay Port girls’ coach Kati Coleman is always looking for another voice to help in her coaching,” said Borowicz. “I might help two times a month in their practice with shooting drills. I’m not an x’s and o’s coach. When I watch a basketball game, I’m not looking at defense or scheme, I’m looking at the fundamentals of shooting and ball handing in the players I’m watching.”
Theoretically, an entire basketball team could come into Borowicz’s facility and fire off hundreds of shots in 60 minutes of shooting.
“You don’t get better because you played five games on a weekend – you get better with more repetition,” he said. “When I was young, I’d ride my bike to the YMCA, it was probably not safe and I didn’t know if there was going to be 100 people in the gym shooting. You don’t have to worry about that here.”
Visitors will also notice six sections of wooden seats used for viewing by the cages.
“The seats are from the recently torn down Brown County Arena where UWGB used to play,” said Borowicz. “I wanted these as a memento. I sat in these seats as a youngster watching games and wanted to be like the players. I pulled out each set of seats individually in the rain to my truck and trailer. It meant so much to me to have them in the new facility.”
People can download The Driveway app to book appointments, or for more information on classes and available times/membership costs.
People can also visit drivewayhoops.com for more information.