Conner Muth is taller than almost all his peers. Standing tall in his size-16 Adidas sneakers, the high school junior tickled the rim with ease as he practiced layups Thursday morning.
“We ended up with kids that were really, really tall,” said his mom, Hannah, with a chuckle.
Conner is 6-foot-10 – maybe even an inch taller depending on who you ask – and wasn't particularly good as basketball a year ago.
“It’s got to be embarrassing to be 6-10, 6-11 and people tell you you’re not good and have them be right,” said former University of Florida star guard Teddy Dupay, who has been coaching Conner. Dupay runs basketball academies in the Tampa area.
Conner was turned on to Dupay’s training ideas by a family friend. After working out with him for three months, he quit the Robinson High School basketball team and decided to enroll in full-time virtual homeschool and focus his time on getting good enough at hoops to earn a scholarship.
It wasn’t an easy choice.
“Kind of because I had to leave behind my friends,” he said.
But, that choice has had a trickle-down effect on his siblings.
“It kind of led me down that same path,” said Tobias, 14. “
“I was a little jealous. I wanted to say home and do homeschool,” said Alivia. “And play more basketball.”
“I was kind of happy for him because then you get to learn more about basketball and get a scholarship for college,” said Ethan. “I think we’re all thinking about going to play D-1 college ball.”
Their younger brother, Ethan, 12, and sister, Alivia, 10, both still attend traditional schools. Both plan to homeschool and train at basketball in hopes to get to college.
Hannah made it clear to them that the kids would have to get scholarships or help pay for school.
Basketball could be the ticket to get there. Conner’s choice could be the springboard to higher education for his family.
“It was so impressive to see Conner step up like that,” said Dupay. “He’s going to make it.”
Conner works out with a weight trainer in the mornings three days per week to add muscle to his thin frame. He does homeschool activities and then meets Dupay for drills, running, and shooting practice.
“We’re really thankful for (Teddy’s) influence on their lives,” said Hannah.
The hope is that the determination and decision pays off.
“You kind of make goals and sometimes you don’t really see the end of the goals,” said Conner. “You’re just kind of making them just to make them. So now I can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel. The payoff.”
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