High-tech addition for Hope hoops

It took a long time to secure funding for the Shootaway Gun 8000, but basketball coach Jeff Kuhn believes it'll be worth the wait.

Barry Stewart,

Black Press

It’s hard to meet your fundraising target when the goalposts keep moving farther away.

In 2014, Hope community basketball coach Jeff Kuhn set his sights on the Shootaway Gun 8000, a high-tech device that helps boost players’ shooting accuracy.

Kuhn, with help from the Hope secondary school Mustangs, started pursuing local donations to make the purchase.

“The final cost, including delivery, was $5,795,“ Kuhn said.

That was in American dollars, though.

The Loonie had dropped about 20 cents in value during the fund-raising process, meaning an extra basketball season went by without the new machine.

In the last few months some big donations filled the funding gap and the $8300 (CDN) machine was finally shipped from Sandusky, OH.

It was officially unveiled Mar. 17 in the high school gym.

“It uses your existing backboard and basket, as long as you have a place to plug it in,” said Kuhn. “It takes about 30 seconds to set up or take down and holds up to six balls at a time.”

Shots that hit the basket or backboard are caught in the catch-net and recycled through the machine.

A second player can retrieve stray balls and feed them into the hopper.

The netting blocks a straight path to the basket, forcing shooters to put an appropriate arc on their shot.

“You can program it to pass a ball in intervals of one second to 10 seconds or even more — and it’ll pass to you at up to 15 places on the floor,” said Kuhn. “You can even tell it to keep passing to one spot until you sink a certain number of shots, before it passes to a new spot.

“I saw it at Agassiz in the fall of 2014 and I’d seen how their shooting had improved — and I thought ‘Why couldn’t we do that?” added Kuhn. “Ours will be the exact same model that Agassiz has. It’s the top model that even universities use. All it’s missing is a chip that lets you track your shooting on-line. Ours can keep track of your shooting percentage and give you a printout.”

“People can drop by and try it out,” said Kuhn. “Envision’s manager has challenged us to a shoot-off with students. Every shot that goes in will raise money for the credit union’s Full Cupboard food bank program.”

Kuhn’s league launches Apr. 6, with practices and games on Wednesday nights.

“It’s for boys and girls in grades 4 to 7 and $60 gets you a ball, a jersey, seven practices and eight games. It’s our fourth year and it’s still the same price.

“Scholarships are available for those who can’t afford it,” added Kuhn. “We sponsored three kids last year  and they’re already registered for this year and paying.”