Salem Hoops Project - Every Kid Deserves a Chance


Matt Espinoza, Director of Salem Hoops Project

Too often, lack of funds is the reason a child may not be able to participate in a basketball camp. I’ve seen many young kids eager to learn how to shoot the basketball or dribble it the right way. Sometimes unfortunate kids envy the players that experience being on a basketball team and playing to have fun.

A basketball camp could cost anywhere from $60.00 to $125.00 per day depending on where it is and who’s organizing it. Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s awesome that coaches are holding these basketball camps or clinics. It is hard work – teaching kids fundamentals and drills.  Private lessons can cost a parent on the average $60.00 per hour – maybe more depending on who the trainer is.

There are families that just can’t afford those high-priced camps, clinics, or private lessons. There are so many single moms, single dads, and married parents that know nothing about basketball, but their child wants to learn basketball skills. Those kids often suffer the lack of fundamental skills when they get into high school. The result is either getting cut from the team or sitting on the bench with lack of playing time. Kids sign up to play. A survey says that the number one reason kids play sports is to have fun. Sitting the bench is not fun. Sometimes kids quit for that reason.


Dribbling Skills with Coach Noza

Salem Hoops Project is “Free” and spearheaded by Director and Coach Matt Espinoza – he’s the founder of the program that he started in Salem, Oregon, at McKay High School. This community program has grown fast. He’s currently a basketball coach at McKay High School, a basketball trainer at Shoot360, and has completed his Masters Degree in Education. Matt has been certified in Strength and Conditioning, Weightlifting, and has learned basketball skills from some the best college coaches. Coach Noza learned many skills while he played college basketball and even two years of professional basketball. He now demonstrates the skills to students in a way they understand – he’s very patient too.

Noza set two 3-point shooting records at Southern Oregon University in 2007 where he was awarded a national scholar athlete award as well. He’s an intense student of the game keeping up with the newest drills to help a basketball player – one of my favorites to watch is the basketball-tennis drill for coordination. It’s so important to have your child learn from a person that has a passion for the game of basketball. This means that your child will learn the correct footwork, shooting form, ball-handling skills, etc. in a fun way – and the best part, it’s “Free”.

When Coach Noza first started the program, he used his own funds to buy prizes to raffle off to the kids. Now he receives basketballs and other items to give as prizes from donors.

High school basketball players help at the clinic, which is very much appreciated. All of the high school volunteers that I’ve talked to have had fun helping out the younger kids and being part of Salem Hoops Project. It’s so rewarding to know you’ve helped someone else in the community.

This is how Coach Noza describes Salem Hoops Project on his website – No child should be limited from opportunities because of financial limitations. The aim of Salem Hoops Project is to provide organized basketball training through use of donors and volunteers. While basketball may simply be a sport, it also provides youth with a positive environment to develop life-skills. Athletics, if used correctly, can be a gateway to achievement in all aspects of life. The Salem Hoops Project is spearheaded by Matt Espinoza. Matt is a 2007 graduate of Southern Oregon University and has been coaching basketball in the Salem-Keizer School District since then.

“The Salem Hoops Project will provide area youth with a place to develop life-skills, personal growth, and a sense of community using the game of basketball as a source of inspiration,” Matt Espinoza said.

Salem Hoops Project clinics are normally during holidays, because that’s when parents can bring their kids to the clinic. If your son or daughter is looking for a place to improve their basketball skills at no cost, please consider bringing them to Salem Hoops Project. K-5 and 6th– 8th grades have set schedules throughout the year. Every child deserves an opportunity to improve their skills in a positive environment.

If you have questions or would like to register your child, please email… also visit for more details.

Thanks for your support!