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12717797_10208573471200240_4459063111093596425_nBernard Hopkins joined St. James Academy as a coach for the middle school boys’ basketball team. Coach Hopkins is a former professional basketball player, having played in Spain for 15 years where he was the high scorer and league champion. Before he was a professional athlete, Coach Hopkins played at Virginia Commonwealth University where he was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s tournament MVP and Player of the Year.

We asked Coach Hopkins to tell us more about his experience and interests.

What does the St. James Academy basketball program mean to you? “St. James Academy basketball program means a lot to me. Without knowing who Bernard Hopkins was, they gave me an opportunity to coach and mentor a group of amazing young men who truly wanted to play the game of basketball.”

What do you want the students to learn from you? “I want them to learn and understand that God should be first in everything they do and to always work hard. I hope I instill a greater sense of self-pride and elevate their belief in themselves.”

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? “In my spare time I really enjoy reading, playing basketball, working out and traveling when I can.”

Who inspired you growing up? “My grandmother inspired me growing up. She worked really hard to raise and support her 7 children and me by herself.”

If you could meet one famous person who would it be and why? “I would love to meet Denzel Washington. He is one of my favorite actors of all time. It would be great to sit and talk to him and pick his brain.”

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. “I was an incredible football player, an excellent tight end, in high school. I actually had NFL scouts pursuing me to come to tryouts for the Washington Redskins during my senior year of college and I had not played football since my senior year of high school.”