Skills Challenge Finalists Share Their Experiences

More than 100,000 young basketball players in the United States and Canada competed in the 2010 iHoops Skills Challenge. In the end, 18 qualified to take part in the National Finals in Orlando, Fla., in May.

Those 18 shared their experience by answering questions about their favorite part of the trip, who went with them, what they felt and how they did.

Below are some of those answers:

What was your first thought when you received your National Finals phone call?

• "I was super excited and couldn't stop smiling." --Kyle Cochran, Boys 9/10

• "I was so excited I cried. I couldn't believe I actually did it! I was going to Orlando, Florida to compete in the iHoops Skills Challenge National Finals!" --Paige Whipple, Girls 9/10

• "My Dad had the Assistant Principal at Rasco Middle School call me into the office to tell me the good news. 'Wow! Is this for real? I can't believe that I really won. I can't believe that my time was good enough to have beaten so many other kids from all of those NBA cities. My friends are not going to believe this! I can't wait to get home and call all of my family and share the cool news.'" --Noah Davis, Boys 11/12

• "OH MY GOSH!!! I can't believe it!!!!!" --Lauren Brito, Girls 11/12

• "No way -- this can't be happening! Very excited!" --Ranger Soots, Boys 9/10

• "Wow. I am going to Orlando!" --Quinten Davis, Boys 13/14

What was your favorite item you received?

• "My championship trophy." --Nick Martinka, Boys 13/14

• "The trophy, and the trip--being able to come to Orlando for FREE was great!" --Tia Karras, Girls 9/10

• "Everything was great but the sneakers and trophy were my favorite." --Ryan Carmello, Boys 11/12

• "The competition outfit--jersey, shorts, shooter top, and shoes. It was also blue which is my favorite color. I looked good for the big competition day!" --Noah Davis, Boys 11/12

• "The LeBron James shoes no doubt!" --Autumn Bowen, Girls 11/12

• "My 3rd place trophy and my adidas stuff." --Rayjon Moore, Boys 13/14

Who accompanied you to Orlando?

• "Mom, Dad, brother and Grandma." --Taylor Robertson, Girls 9/10

• "My Dad, Mom, twin sister, and my little sister." --Maddie Walter, Girls 11/12

• "My Dad." --Jake Needleman, Boys 9/10

• "My Mom, Dad, brother, my Grandparents, 4 Aunts, 3 Uncles and 3 cousins....I have a big family and you only met a small portion of it." --Lauren Brito, Girls 11/12

• "My entire family. Dad was my official travel companion, but my mom, brother and sister also were able to come. They had an AWESOME time!" --Ranger Soots, Boys 9/10

What were the two favorite things you did in Orlando?

• "My favorite two things I did in Orlando was swimming with my new friends and going to Universal Studios on Saturday. The hotel's pool felt like we were at the beach." --Mariya Moore, Girls 13/14

• "The actual competition on Friday was really fun and the Awards Ceremony Saturday night." --Margaret O'Connor, Girls 13/14

• "Meeting Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson. Also just being able to meet new people and having fun!" --Lauren Brito, Girls 11/12

• "Staying in the Hard Rock Hotel and going to Islands of Adventure (going on rides and roller coasters). Meeting other competitors, too!" --Rayjon Moore, Boys 13/14

• "Going swimming and hanging out with new friends, and Islands of Adventure with my dad." --Sydney Saxton, Girls 13/14

• "City Walk and Island of Adventure." --Autumn Bowen, Girls 11/12

What memories will you take away from the competition on Friday?

• "Magic's mascot (STUFF) trying to distract me during warm-ups." --Taylor Robertson, Girls 9/10

• "The warm-ups run by the two coaches." --Tia Karras, Girls 9/10

• "Being the first event at the new Magic facility, meeting Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson, how we were treated like we were celebrities." --Paige Whipple, Girls 9/10

• "How official it was with the announcements, the music, running through the tunnel of people, etc." --Ryan Carmello, Boys 11/12

• "Competing against the other contestants." --Tyus Ferguson, Boys 11/12

• "I remember being really nervous...I normally make all my free throws and I missed. My legs were shaking. I will remember running into the gym when they announced my name and giving high fives to the other participants and the NBA players." --Mariya Moore, Girls 13/14

• "I will remember the friends I met and the outcome of the event." --Maddie Walter, Girls 11/12

• "How nervous I was during the competition, meeting Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, running into the gym, the cool warmups we wore, and being the first people to use the gym." --Margaret O'Connor, Girls 13/14

What did you learn from Nick Anderson and/or Bo Outlaw?

• "To keep practicing and never think you don't have a chance to be the best there is." --Nick Martinka, Boys 13/14

• "The game should be fun and no matter if things aren't going the way I want it, I need to keep a positive attitude. I shouldn't get down on myself and I should always work hard." --Mariya Moore, Girls 13/14

• "Don't ever give up on yourself. Sometimes your game my not always be on point. Be happy of all of your accomplishments and experiences. Enjoy this trip of a lifetime." --Sydney Saxton, Girls 13/14

• "I learned that you can never give up on yourself and that you have to work hard to accomplish dreams and goals." --Maddie Walter, Girls 11/12

• "Never give up on your dreams." --Jake Needleman, Boys 9/10

• "I learned that it is important to always have fun. Never give up. Keep working hard because you never know where it might take you." --Noah Davis, Boys 11/12

• "To never give up and to have a good attitude. And even if you win or lose, always have fun." --Rayjon Moore, Boys 13/14

What did you learn from the other competitors?

• "People from all over the country are like me and love basketball and having fun." --Jake Needleman, Boys 9/10

• "I learned that even though we were competitors we can still be friends." --Kyle Cochran, Boys 9/10

• "That you can be friends on the court as well as off the court. That everybody was nervous I wasn't the only one." --Sydney Saxton, Girls 13/14

• "I learned that athletes/kids are the same no matter what state we come from." --Mariya Moore, Girls 13/14

• "There is competition everywhere you go and in everything you do. Also to always respect your opponents." --Quinten Davis, Boys 13/14

• "Practice all the time -- eat, sleep and breathe basketball!" --Ranger Soots, Boys 9/10

What is your favorite part of

• "Seeing what's going on all over in the basketball world." --Jake Needleman, Boys 9/10

• "Seeing my name on the cool iHoops website." --Ranger Soots, Boys 9/10

• "Basketball videos and message board topics." --Noah Davis, Boys 11/12

• "Watching the videos." --Tyus Ferguson, Boys 11/12

• "All the different programs they have for kids." --Lauren Brito, Girls 11/12

• "I like the instructional videos like shooting form and how to increase your speed." --Margaret O'Connor, Girls 13/14

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