WILMINGTON, MA — 3STEP Sports, the nation’s largest and most impactful youth sports club and event operator, has acquired nationally-renowned Hoop Group, which has been synonymous with youth basketball player development for six decades. Hoop Group’s rich history dates back to 1963 when Bob and Pat Kennedy started a summer camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Bob was a successful high school and college coach and Pat was heavily involved in women’s basketball. Soon the camps attracted some of the top boys and girls players in the country and it exploded from there. The camps began to grow along with many clinics that were focused on skill development at every level year-round.
Basketball has been a way of life in the Kennedy family. Bob and Pat’s sons Rob and Brian were successful players and college coaches (Brian is currently the head coach at NJIT); Bob’s brother Pat was the head coach at Iona, Florida State and DePaul. In 1991, Rob got out of college coaching and bought Eastern Invitational Basketball camp, which joined forces with the family’s other camps and later became Hoop Group.
In 1998, Bob retired and Rob took over the family business and began adding leagues and showcases. Soon Rob opened a four-court, 25,000 square foot facility in Neptune, NJ, and the business took off.
“Hoop Group came about out of the important question: How do you answer the phone?,” said Rob Kennedy, who is now Hoop Group’s president. “We have been in grassroots basketball for a long time and our tagline has always been the same—dedicated to fulfilling dreams, whether that dream is to make the JV team or go to the NBA. At the end of the day, we’re trying to deliver on that.”
Over the years a who’s who of basketball players have passed through Hoop Group’s doors: 73 Hall of Famers, 148 NBA and WNBA players and 240 McDonald’s All-Americans. It’s more than just elite players, however. The number of kids playing in Hoop Group’s events each year is astounding. In 2022 alone there have been:
- 57,000 participants
- 225 total events
- 2,500 future scholarship athletes
- 162,000 spectators
- 65 camps
“The unique thing about Hoop Group is that we’re a diversified company,” said Rob Kennedy. “We’re not in any one silo. We focus on skill and player development and then we give kids a platform to showcase those skills in front of college coaches.
“We’re very excited to be joining 3STEP. What they have done to this point is very impressive and I believe in their vision for youth sports. The beauty of this is I’m not stepping away from the family business. We get to focus more on the court and grow. We’re about to have our 60th anniversary and I’m looking forward to our 75th anniversary.”
The 3STEP reach spans 43 states and serves more than 3.2 million athletes across nine sports through industry-leading events, nationally spanning club programs, premier media content and more. 3STEP was founded by David Geaslen, who sought to create better experiences and more opportunities for athletes and their families. The mission of 3STEP is to be the standard of the youth sports experience and create consistency in the industry. 3STEP also operates the non-profit charity Mission Win, which aims to transform the lives of children through sports participation, leadership training and professional development.
“The sheer number of kids and lives Hoop Group has impacted is remarkable ,” said Geaslen. “The rich history and legacy of the Kennedy family has impacted grassroots basketball immeasurably. We are incredibly excited to welcome Hoop Group into the 3STEP family and carry on the legacy of what Bob and Pat Kennedy started in 1963.”
To learn more about 3STEP Sports, go to www.threestep.com.
For more on Hoop Group, go to http://www.hoopgroup.com.