Who We Are...
The Shooting Stars AAU program under the Reaching New Heights organization believes in building character and producing champions, all while pursuing excellence. Basketball is much more than a great game - it is an exceptional tool for developing young student athletes and great individuals. Basketball teaches the importance of teamwork, self-discipline, hard work, commitment, and confidence. All five of these learned characteristics can shape an individual into a positive contributing member of society. While participating in our basketball program, there will be strong emphasis put on these qualities for our athletes on the court, in the classroom, and in other areas of life.
We like to think of four components that can turn players into champions of life. Education- the first responsibility; and the athlete must commit to earning it. Integrity- having that genuine devotion to his/her convictions is necessary; we must shine with great character always. Winning- basketball is fun and winning is always better than losing, but winning is not about fortune, fame, and final scores. Winning is often made up of things unseen in character growth. Excellence- Strive to be the best you can be! Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses in all aspects of life. With these components, and bringing effort, enthusiasm, and encouragement each and every day, together we can help our young athletes become champions of life!
About our Founder, Stephon Leary
Stephon Leary has a long tenure of basketball success. Coach Leary's athletic career started as a high school player at Madison High School in Houston, TX and finished at Houston Christian Preparatory (now Faith West Academy in Katy, TX) where he led them to an NACA National Championship. He went on to play Division I basketball at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1987-1992. His college playing career was cut short due to knee injuries.
Coach Leary began his coaching career in 1993 at his high school alma mater, Faith West Academy. He served as the school's Athletic Director and Head Coach for football, basketball, and baseball. He built a competitive athletic program from the ground up with limited funds and facilities at a time when the high school only went through the ninth grade. He led the high school girls varsity basketball team to five State Championships and guided the boys varsity teams to two State Championships along with several Regional Championship appearances for both teams. In addition, he coached the high school football team to become the TAPPS 3A State Champions in 2000. Combining all the basketball teams Coach Leary has led, he has accumulated a record of 532 wins and 166 losses.
From 2002-2009, Coach Leary has been utilizing his coaching talent in the collegiate ranks. He returned to his college alma mater, Liberty University, where he was hired to be the Recruiting Coordinator, manage the strength & conditioning program, supervise skill development, and handle scouting. He spent three years at Liberty helping the team to a Big South Conference 2nd place finish in 2003, 1st place finish in 2004, and 2nd place finish in 2005. In 2004, Liberty won the Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA National Tournament.
He was then offered the opportunity to become a Head Coach and build a championship program at first year NCAA Division II University, Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He spent two years with his teams experiencing success in beating nationally ranked opponents in one of the toughest conferences in the nation for NCAA Division II.