Bauman: Knicks secret weapon is shooting coach Dave Hopla

Ronnie Brewer hops up from where he’s posted at the scorer’s table about an hour before tip-off against the Phoenix Suns.

“I’ll be back,” said Brewer. “Gotta get some shots up.”

The shooting guard runs across the court and finds New York’s shooting guru, Dave Hopla, for a pre-game workout.

“To me it’s a confidence thing, said Brewer following the Knicks 106-99 win over the Phoenix Suns. “Having him be able to help me, to critique what I’m doing wrong and where I can make an adjustment in practice and to me that’s what practice is for. It’s about practicing and making adjustments to correct things that you didn’t do well before.”

That’s what Dave Hopla was brought in to do.

While holding shooting demonstrations in the summer of 2007, he made 11,093 of 11,183 shots he took – a 99.19 shooting percentage – and it’s not a coincidence. Hopla consistently shoots at absurd rates because he’s practiced and written down every shooting session since he was 16 years old.

At the aforementioned clinics, Hopla details the importance of hard work and effort that go into shooting on a daily basis.

“They don’t put enough time in,” Hopla told “Kids play how many AAU games in the summer? When do they go in a gym and make 500 shots in the summertime? They never do it. All they do is play games.

“You’re not going to become a better shooter or a better player just by playing games. It’s not going to happen. You wonder why guys can’t make free throws. They don’t practice them. They play AAU games. They play four games a day on the weekends and they travel from city to city.”

Now in his mid-50’s, Hopla understands the nuances of shooting as well as anybody in the world, which is just one of the reasons the New York Knicks hired him to be their shooting specialist before the season. 



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